Do you ever feel like you’ve been gently, insistently redirected? Herded. Shepherded. There is a distinction, but in either case, direction from an outside source is implicit. A sheep-i-ness is implied. I have let the slings and arrows of daily existence make me go baaa.
I sometimes feel my youth slipping away from me, which is foolish. Which is understandable. Which is frightening. I’m three beers into a Saturday evening spent writing a legal brief. The beers are to reassert my reckless youth. The beers are to remind me that it’s Saturday, even though I’ve worked through most of the day, pausing only to run errands at Target with my son. My son. When did I get old enough to have a son.
There is a cult of youth in this country, and I try to resist that America urge to be young and full of promise and at the beginning of a broad, unlimited future. The Big Sky, the open prairie, the Manifest Destiny. I was supposed to be an actor. I was supposed to sing on the stage. In America, if you haven’t achieved these things by the age of eighteen, it is presumed that you are not ever going to.
It is a hard life, performance, and I chose children instead. My facebook feed is peppered with people who made the same choice as me, and people who chose art. My facebook feed has a tiny contingent of people who managed both. Sometimes, three beers in, I feel keenly the sharp edge of time pressing against my neck. Sometimes I feel wounded by my age. How can I be 32 and not yet recording for a living? How can I be 32 and have given up, without even trying, giving it my all? How can I be 32?
I told my friend Jackie the story today of how we came here, to law school. Of how I decided that I had to leave my unsatisfying job (unsatisfying is an understatement), and of how I quit with three months’ notice, not having sold our house yet. In the terrible housing market of 2009, it was a somewhat foolish decision. I leapt into law school, because I had to sell my house, because I had to leave my job. I left myself no choice, committed fully to the new trajectory, and the leap of faith completely, utterly, perfectly, providentially worked out for us. Law school is not a sure thing, fifty some percent of students leave my particular law school with no job at all, but for some reason I felt it was a worthwhile risk. And this is ok, I’m happy in the law, but what I’m asking myself tonight three beers in is why I wasn’t willing to make that leap for Art. I suppose the employment record for Art is considerably less than fifty percent of those who try.
I would say that melancholy is what I am tonight. Not depressed, not distraught. Just a little wistful. Feeling the years piling on, listening to somewhat bittersweet music on purpose and reading cases in order to be able to answer the question of Whether or not the Warrantless Installation of a GPS System Onto a Vehicle is an Unconstitutional Search Under the Fourth Amendment, and I find it a little amazing that I can answer this question fairly competently. I will be an amazing lawyer. I was not an amazing actress. (The singing falls somewhere in between amazing and not amazing.) Is being amazing important? In my case, that wasn’t the defining factor. The defining factor was making $150 a week vs. making $150 an hour. (I don’t know if I’ll ever make that much, but it was a useful assumption, rhetorically speaking.)
I have to argue for the Government on my question. Meaning, I have to ask the Court to rule that a warrantless installation of a GPS is totally okey dokey. I frequently am assigned the argument with which I do not agree, but that is lawyerin’, and it’s just a school assignment, but anyway listening to alternative singer-songwriters while writing a brief about all the reasons why Big Brother Guvm’t is allowed to surveill my every move – well, it’s making me feel a bit of a fraud.
Ten more cases to go. It’s 2 am. I’m pondering a fourth beer. There is no wee baby Liam demanding my sobriety tonight. Jack will sleep the night through. My brief will suffer from Corona-assisted thinking, but we still have several limes in the fridge that need consuming. Read what you will into the fact that “lots of extra limes in the fridge” = “we must buy many Coronas.”