Mixtape Marathon

"In vacant or in pensive mood..." I am: Bekah; 24; Law Student / Favorite Things: Carbs (so there!), Johnny Damon, Smiling at babies, Grilled cheese, Comfortable silence / Favorite Supreme Court Justice: Brennan / Favorite Wilson: Owen by an inch / Today's Special: Song: Elliott Smith, "Bled White"; Quote: "You know, there's like a butt-load of gangs at this school. This one gang kept wanting me to join because I'm pretty good with a bowstaff." Please love me: mmbekah@yahoo.com

February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 September 2005
Friday, February 28, 2003
Holy hell, I just saw a kid from my class walk by in jeans and a fleece. This is huge. This guy is one of those law students who's 22 going on 45. I think he's planning out his combover now, just so he can be in control of the situation if one should arise. When he answers questions in class, he uses a clear, well-articlated "I'm a tool" voice. ("Excuse me, Professor, I believe that is incorrect. The quotation you are alluding to may be found in the dissent's exceptional discussion in footnote 12 on page 346. While preparing for class yesterday morning with my study group, I was struck by the implications that said footnote had for the defendant in this case. Perhaps my colleagues will disagree (mhaha), but I think the evidence is quite damning.") Can you feel the chunks rising in your throat? How can people be this unaware of their own suckiness? Anyway, he always wears a suit or "slacks" and a button down shirt. But it's Mardi Gras and he's letting it all hang out now, my friends! Watch out for this one. He's out of control.

I'm going home today for Spring Break and I've been looking forward to the drive for weeks. It's 8 consecutive hours of not law school. And I will be all by myself with Franny (the car) and my music. Franny is the best driving companion because she knows how to shut the hell up. There is definitely something to be said for good conversation, but on a long drive I only want to listen to music. If someone talks to me, I might try to respond, but I'm really thinking, "How much longer until they stop talking over this verse? Why don't they understand that this is the best part of the song?"
The 6-cd changer is loaded and ready to go: 1) There's Nothing Wrong With Love (Built to Spill), 2) Odelay (Beck), 3) Fables of the Reconstruction (R.E.M.), 4) Maladroit (Weezer), 5) Caution (Hot Water Music), 6) Blazing Arrow (Blackalicious). Quick note about that last one: Everyone should buy it, for it is incredible. I like to listen to it in my car, turned way up with the windows down. One day I actually caught myself pulling an Office Space move when someone walked by. But I do the same thing when I'm listening to Jefferson Starship at full volume too, so I guess that makes it better. I am a silly white girl.

Thursday, February 27, 2003
I just learned that Mr. Rogers died today. At first I was just sad because that's how you're supposed to feel when someone dies. But then I started thinking about what Mr. Rogers' death really means. Honestly, this news did not come at a good time for me. Here I am trying to deal with being forced to grow up, and suddenly I find out that a childhood icon is dead. It's like seeing Zach curse and take bong hits in Dead Man on Campus. Minus the funny part, of course. (One of the most underrated movies ever, if you ask me. I don't understand why more people don't appreciate its genius). When you're a kid, you only see the world the way it's presented to you. If you have great parents, then you think everyone must have great parents, because you don't know that there is anything else out there. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was another factor that went into forming my childhood worldview. Not that I remember ever actually thinking that a magic trolley would really take me into the Neighborhood of Make Believe (although the trolley on St. Charles that takes me downtown to Bourbon Street does a pretty good job of that), or that there was actually a tiny puppet king who sounded just like Mr. Rogers and talked to people. And granted, I never understood that it was a little creepy that the postman's name was Mr. McFeely. But every day, Mr. Rogers was there, assuring me that I was special and that people loved me. He was like my parents' assistant coach. I just hope Snuffy makes it throught the night, because to lose them both would be too much to bear.

Mr. Rogers, you (and your immaculate sweaters) will be missed.

Speaking of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, that Eddie Murphy SNL sketch "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood" was one of the best ones ever. "Hey kids, I'm just like Santa. We both like to come into your house, late at night. But Santa likes to leave things, and I like to take them." I think I remember something about the letter of the day being "X" as in "X-con." Now SNL has devolved into Horatio Sanz's unfunny fatness and Al Gore sitting naked in a hot tub. But at least the Pat movie was good. (Uh, no).

Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Um, FATMOUSE is just about the best thing I've ever seen. There are simply no words. I can only reiterate the "fatmouse theorem": fatmouse + you = fatmouse.

I had dinner with my grandmother last night in the dining room of her new apartment building, and our waitress's name was Tequilla! Talk about a namesake. I would hate to hear the story behind that conception! Maybe her brother's name is Jose Cuervo. Someone told me once that they heard about a doctor playing a joke on a new mother by encouraging her to name her daughter Placenta, which she did. Disturbing. I went to high school with a girl named Tenacious, which is actually a kind of cool name, especially considering the advent of Tenacious D. I bet she had a hell of a time finding one of those little license plate keychains though. If I have a child I will name him after his father, Jon Stewart.

Got to school today literally steps ahead of the rain. I walked under the overhang outside the building, turned around and saw the first drops hit the pavement. In a few more seconds it was pouring, and the people a few yards behind me were drenched. I feel a little bit like that most of the time. Like I'm just squeaking through, getting by on luck or coincidence, and eventually something will catch up with me. Like on days I don't feel prepared for class, and I don't get called on. Or that time I left my car window open overnight in a parking garage (sorry Dad), and it was still there when I got back. Or that time in Cancun...(kidding). Really any time I do anything irresponsible or not too smart, and somehow get by without having to deal with the possible consequences. But in a way I guess everyone feels lucky until something bad happens. And when it does, it clearly means that they have sinned and incurred the wrath of God. So here's my question: Is what we call luck really just coincidence? The difference I see between them is that luck is personalized. People feel lucky, and people feel unlucky. But that is so self-centered. I mean, the rain doesn't care that I got to school dry. It doesn't even know I exist. With coincidence, it's more like the world is as it is, and various things just happen to people, regardless what kind of people they are. But wait, this morning I made a conscious decision not to bring my umbrella. So I guess you could say I was lucky that the rain coincidentally missed me. Oy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic:
Appellate brief. Neither appellate, nor brief. Discuss.
(Ok, so it is appellate, but the "brief" part is a damn dirty lie).

I was just inspired to do a Hornby-style top 5. This one is my top five books (as of now), in no particular order:
1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This book is hilarious, wonderfully written, and is the only book I've read that manages to explain the ethical importance of "what we do when we know no one will ever find out."
2. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Especially the Franny part. (A hipster essential, I'll have you know. According to The Hipster Handbook, The Catcher in the Rye is too mainstream).
3. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Funniest damn book ever, with one of the most original (albeit disgusting) characters ever conceived.
4. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut. Perhaps the best line I've read: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
5. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. For all his faults and strangely sexist/feminist views, he's the best at making a story so tragic feel sooo good.
Honorable Mentions include, but are not limited to: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Our Mutual Friend, Pride and Prejudice, Brave New World, and Cash by Jonny Cash (just kidding).

I spend a lot of time studying in coffeehouses because the library is too depressing. Besides, the library is boring because the only people I get to see are law students, and I see (and hear) enough of them in class. At the coffeehouse, I get a huge slice of Americana--New Orleans style (read: extra hot sauce and butter). It's just such a fascinating place to people-watch. There are a good number of students there--mostly med students--and the lucky people who have time to just go out for coffee on a Tuesday night with their friends. But then there are the full-on weirdos. These are the ones that really impress me. There's one man who comes in all the time with a Loony Toons black tanktop (eew) and a crazed look in his eyes, orders two (always two) poppyseed bagels with extra cream cheese, and sits and stares at people as he eats. (I guess I shouldn't be critical of that part, since I spend a lot of time staring at people too. But then again, mercifully, I'm not a creepy man in a Loony Toons tanktop). Another man always comes in with a Rite Aid bag full of musical compositions and sits for hours just looking at them, frantically writing in his little notebook. Once I even saw a man come in with a girl who must have been something like 16 (not his daughter) and proceed to take dozens of pictures of her--reading, looking out the window, standing across the street. It was messed up. I would seriously like to know what these people do for a living. I guess the irony is that as high and mighty as I'd like to feel, I'm as much a fixture of the place as they are. The employees know my name and how I did on my finals. Maybe they'll set up a cot for me in the back?

I had one really unfortunate experience at the coffeehouse when I made the mistake of asking an older man if he was using one of the two extra chairs at his table. He looked at me and screamed, "You can't just come in here and rearrange the place, like you live here! What if I want to put my feet up??" Startled, I apologized and attempted to walk away, but this guy was not finished--oh no. The hatred in his blackened soul was still smoldering. He continued, "This is an establishment! Some people pay money to come here and get coffee." Against my better judgment, I responded by pointing to my coffee and saying sheepishly, "I paid money to come here," to which he responded, "To do what?? Turn it into your personal office?" During this coversation, one of the employees was looking at me with pity. I finally escaped, as the guy continued to grumble. I've never experienced anything like that before. It was surreal. The employee came over and apologized, and said I could have a refill on him. But I wasn't as disturbed by the actual event as I was by the thought that someone could have a reaction that strong to a request for a chair. His anger was unbelievable. Maybe he was once mauled by a pack of rabid law students.

Monday, February 24, 2003
In law school, it's hard not to feel like a sheep. Everyone takes the same classes, everyone studies all the time, everyone hopes for a good job. Soon, you start to wonder what really sets you apart from the people around you. So I'm writing to give one person's perspective on an experience that can make you start to lose yourself. No matter what anyone tells you, law school is designed to make you feel small and helpless and scared. From the first day, the professors and other faculty are throwing around words you don't understand and giving warnings about being sure not to do things you haven't even heard about. Law school and the legal profession operate on fear: the powers that be make it difficult for the sole purpose of ensuring that people stand in awe of the incredible law school graduates. Once you wade throught the legalese and learn the ropes, you realize how much pretense there really is. The experience is difficult, but it's because, really, we want it that way. If law school had the reputation of being easy, everyone would go. Oh wait, everyone already does.

I graduated from undergrad with a double major in English and Philosophy, and went straight to law school. Law school was my choice because I couldn't decide between English and Philosophy grad school and because I didn't want to do math on the GRE. I now know that this reasoning is not really the most logical, or the most satisfactory. And yet, I can't think of anything else (other than nothing) that I would rather be doing with my life, so I guess my reasoning wins by default. Although I do think about what it would be like to just be a construction worker, like Peter in Office Space ("I did nothing, and it was everything I hoped it would be"). I have friends that are traveling now, working on farms and in restaurants, seeing the world, and I envy them. I especially envy them on really beautiful days when I just want to be able to ride my bike for hours, or sit by the fountain in the park and read a Victorian novel, and instead I'm trapped inside reading about limitations on implied warranties in the Uniform Commercial Code. But I know if took the proverbial "year off" I would just be prolonging the inevitable. My bitter friends and I who are in school or in abysmal jobs like to assure ourselves that we are doing something worthwhile--that we made smart decisions. And I know we're right. Law school isn't an end in itself: it's a means to an end. And like law school, I'm a work in progress, so of course I won't be satisfied immediately. Is anyone in their early 20's actually happy? My friends tell me that we're going through quarter-life crises. And when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. When you graduate college, you're suddenly a "real person" with real responsibilities. (Or pseudo-real if you're like me and still get money for food and rent from your parents). But the basic idea is that you're an adult. So it's no wonder that we feel inadequate and unfulfilled, when we're just partially developed human beings. It takes time to build yourself into a full, satisfied, person. And we, the impatient youths that we are, want instant gratification, which we obviously can't get. So why can't this kind of logic make me get in a better mood?