Wednesday, October 29, 2008


know what's annoying? listening to the entire city explode into cheers, not being able to go join the celebration, and not being sure why you can't....

BOO. i feel left out, and i don't even care about sports.

Monday, October 27, 2008


t is watching "recount" in the other room. i went in and watched a few minutes, but it just made me sad. we can't go back. there were a few weeks back in late 2000 when we had a chance to do it right. and watching a movie about how our democracy failed us just hurts too much. we aren't any different than the other flawed countries around the world whose ballots are falsified, interpreted, intimidated into producing results.

it was another time back when i lived in that tiny little dorm room, watching election results on that tuesday night. i flipped off the t.v. around 11:30, that tiny little set with the built-in vcr. i went to bed thinking i would wake up in the morning with a new president. then, when i woke up and it still wasn't decided, i thought to myself, "huh. i wonder who it'll be," thinking by night i'd have an answer. a couple weeks later, i was vaguely annoyed but my mind had moved on to other, more pressing concerns. not till so much later did i come to understand the tragedy of those weeks. there was so much i just didn't understand back then. i was walking around in a fog.

thinking back to that time, it really is like looking back into a fog. i can't see anything clearly because at the time i wandered around only half aware of my surroundings. i only half understand it now, all the things i did to protect myself back then. i was afraid of pain. i tried simply to feel as little hurt as possible. i was angry a lot, at all the things i couldn't control. i was angry at all the wrong things.

when september 11 happened, i wandered around campus with my camera around my neck, looking for shots of people reacting to the pain. not once have i ever recalled feeling sad. shocked, and a little frightened when i first woke up that morning sometime around 9:30, to the smoking towers and panicked voices of my alarm-clock radio. but never sad.

it was two and a half years later, in a little movie theater in san cristobal de las casas, mexico, that i first cried for what happened that day. there was a movie playing in the arts theater in town, where i had been staying for a few days during my trip through central america. eleven filmmakers from eleven countries doing eleven short pieces on september 11. one of them, a filmmaker from brazil, i think, had a piece with no picture. just a white screen. and clips of sound. sound from the newscasts, sound from the people screaming on the streets, sound from the final phone calls and messages left to loved ones on answering machines. it was a theater the size of my bedroom, but full. i was sitting there in the dark, alone, with tears silently rolling down my face. and then i gasped, a sob that welled up unexpectedly, which i caught almost as soon as it came out. i kept myself quiet for the rest of the film. but it was a moment i will never forget. i felt more american in that theater than i had ever felt in my life. and maybe one day i can articulate better what that meant to me.

it's just weird, how quickly time passes. how short eight years have been, and how incredibly long. eight years ago, i was still dating m. eight years ago, i was lost to myself. and yesterday, t and i spent the whole afternoon hanging out with m and his wife, who was also my friend eight years ago, and their kid who is adorable. and it continues to amaze me that we have ended up where we are, all of us. like puzzle pieces in just the right places. i feel grateful.

but it makes me sad still, thinking about then, and all that's happened, and how much we have been through. it took a lot of pain to get to where we are today. that's what i'm thinking of tonight, and i'm wondering how many other americans are feeling like me. i can't wait for november 4th. maybe it will be as cathartic as this country needs it to be. it won't take us back, let us fix what we messed up. but this time, when i cast my vote, i think i'll probably cry. and it will be good.

Monday, October 20, 2008

in the thick of it

i'm in the thick of it, in a good way. school is in full swing, with students scurrying along the sidewalks from the main law school building to the other one, clutching cups of coffee and passing off tips about where to find the free pizza. the weather is starting to turn cold. it makes me grateful for the vendor who sells me coffee on monday and wednesday mornings at 60 cents a cup.

we tried a new taqueria today. rather, a loncheria, with $1 bean & cheese tacos and some amazing huevos a la mexicana. it just opened up at the curb market around the corner from our apartment and i stumbled upon it when i accidentally rode the subway a stop too far and had to walk home the long way. eating in a little room with sparse walls and bachata blasting from a boombox behind the counter happily reminded me of durham. t pointed out, as we were sitting around the table scooping up beans with tortillas, that our friend a (who is in the peace corps in guatemala) is eating like this every day. he quickly added: "i think he's sick of it." can't say i'm surprised, as i'm sure i'd be sick of it too after a while. but sometimes i wish i were tucked off in some little village in the middle of nowhere, eating beans and tortillas and speaking spanish.

we went to the countryside this weekend in celebration of our 6-year anniversary. it was a breath of fresh air, both literally and the other way. rolling hills. the smell of autumn. diners with bottomless mugs of coffee. train whistles. scenic routes. what-would-it-be-like-to-live-here?'s. since falling in love with t on that road trip way back when the country had yet to go to war, i seem to always get a little giddy this time of year. pumpkins, train tracks, long drives, and red and yellow leaves = falling in love. somehow, even the worst parts of our history have not eradicated my association of halloween decorations with this little love story of ours. maybe its that the best and the worst times have all happened this time of year, and maybe that's why this time of year my senses become so heightened.

on a less personal note, in just two weeks, it will be time for another gut-wrenching evening of watching the page turn and catching our first glimpse of the new chapter that lays before us. how long, how depressing these last eight years have been for us as Americans. it makes me sad. no matter how much hope there is to cherish, election day must also be a time to pause and reflect on the frightening power of the American people to steer our destiny down its fated path.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I am trying to hard to study. You wouldn't know it from the fact that I am making a blog entry right now, but I am doing a pretty decent job (I think). Tonight I find myself in a similar place to the one I was at a few weeks ago when memo #1 was due. I have an exam tomorrow, albeit a non-graded one for a Pass/Fail class. But it remains fact that I didn't start studying for the exam until two days ago, and only got serious about it yesterday. There's that whole time management thing again. Nonetheless, I am managing.

But I've been reading other blogs from other 1Ls and they all sound like they are getting so much more done than me. Like they are all so much more engaged in what they are learning. I know, I know... there's no point worrying about how I compare to other people. I actually really enjoy reading (lurking) on other 1L blogs, just to silently commiserate. Eventually, when I have a bit more time to spare, I'm going to get a blog roll going to link up to some of those other blogs. Til then, though, here's one post that should make any good sociology major (especially one who went to law school) chuckle: Top 5 Reasons to Drop Out of Social Sciences and Go To Law School!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

World Series

Leaning out my window, calling to my dog, who is sitting with T and his best friend on the front stoop, waiting for the bus. It's 11:35 pm. I am laughing at the dog, who hears my voice but cannot figure out that it is coming from three floors above him. Then, the honking starts. And I hear cheers from the people in the apartment across the street. It's clear as day: "Woo-hoo!!!" More honking. Up the street, I hear more cheers from other windows, different voices. "Yeah!!!" "World Series, baby!" A honk that lasts at least five blocks, coming from the west, passing our intersection and fading eastward. Then, fireworks. A dull, echoing boom from down south, where the stadium lies just a couple miles past our place. And as I type this, the honking and cheering makes its way past my closed window, where it rises up into the darkness. The moon is big and clear tonight. And we're going to the World Series.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Making sausages

This morning in contacts...
Professor K: "[Random student], what do you think of the defendant's argument?"
Random student: "I think it's bullshit."
Professor K: "How old were you in 1987?"
Random student: "One."

Two laughs for the price of one!

And since I'm at it, let me just flip through my notes for other tidbits from class of the things that pass for humor these days...

Random student: "What if somebody pushed the guy out of the 10th story window, and then someone in the 5th floor saw him falling and shot him as he passed by the window, and killed him?"
Class: [laughter]
Professor Crim: "I'm sure whatever we laugh at there has been a situation somewhere where that's happened."

Wisdom from Professor Tort:
[Re: the emergency exception] "Fall to the ground and be sound. Stay put and kaput."
"The last thing in the world you should ever do is rely on somebody's promise to put you in their will."
"You can't eat a fish twice!"

Professor Crim on hypos: "This is not like making sausages!"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Yesterday morning, on my six block walk to the subway station, I saw a ponytail laying on the ground amidst a pile of junk. Not a ponytail holder, mind you. A full-on ponytail. It was still there on the way home, and again today. This bit of discarded intimacy, when ranked on a scale of disturbing things found in public places, surpasses the used condom and comes closer to the bear paw mistaken for a human foot.

In another interesting commuter discovery, I found one of T's business cards laying on the sidewalk somewhere between 12th and 13th streets, just chilling like it was supposed to be there. Considering that it was a good four or five blocks from our apartment, I took it as a good sign that word is out about his business on our side of town. No, I have no idea how it got there, although we did hand out a whole bunch of the 4000 cards he printed this summer while we were at the zine fest this weekend. Can't wait to hand out a whole bunch more at the zine fest next weekend! (Hi, Richmond!)

On another note, I've been thinking about country music tonight. I miss it. I miss it the way I missed hip-hop when I left Durham and reggaeton when I left Northern VA. There are so many little ways in which Virginia is southern, ways that I've taken for granted having spent my whole life there. I never really considered NOVA to be part of the south, and most Virginians would insist it isn't. But the truth is, before it became a huge suburb, it was country. My family lived there when it was country. I remember it that way: scrappy tin mailboxes painted red with sloppy yellow numbers, rolling roads with barns on either side, that long straight stretch of route 50 and its straight shot to the Blue Ridge Mountains. As a kid, coming home from piano lessons, tae kwon do or girl scouts, I spent so much time trying to find the line where the mountains met the sky that to this day I still think of Shenandoah when I see the clouds at dusk.

I never thought I'd miss Fairfax, but I do. I didn't think I'd miss Richmond all that much, but I do. I've gotten used to missing Fredericksburg, in a way that is less like longing and more like appreciation. I feel certain that I want to go back when this is all over. Whenever that is.

I'm looking forward to the winter. The taste of fall is in the air already, and I like it. I like that no matter where I am, or how old I am, fall always comes, and always gives way to Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas and wintertime. I look forward to the pumpkins and the cider and tea season. By January, I'll be sick of it, I'm sure. But by then, it'll be time to start looking forward to the spring. It's what I love about having four seasons. There is always a new one just around the corner. And for that, I'm grateful to be where I am, rather than somewhere less... seasonal.

Things are starting to feel just a bit cozy. Or maybe they aren't feeling cozy yet, but a part of me is just dying to get nestled in, to winter and to these new circumstances. If I can't get the one, I think I'm willing to settle for the other for now.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I just read this thing (while thinking the entire time about the Crim Law reading I need to catch up on) and it made me want to either laugh or cry. Probably both. I feel like doing a lot of those two things these days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

i'm calling this day quits

god bless my heart, i tried my darndest but i just couldn't quite get it done.

i've learned a lesson though. when a memo is due in two days, and i sit down in front of the computer and vow to myself to get it all done, and then i don't, it's not because i'm not working hard enough. t helped me to realize this yesterday when after several hours of attempting to concentrate (and, okay, one beer) i flopped myself down on the floor and he commented on how hard i was working. "no i'm not," i muttered. and as i heard my words, i realized how ridiculous they were. yes, i am. i am working damn hard. i'm working my ass off, actually. i'm just not getting where i need to be. and why? because i'm not working smart.

i had no excuse for waiting until two days before a memo was due to crack down on it. not that this is any new trend. it's just that in college, like in high school, it was no big thing to stay up all night working on a paper. i mean, yes, it was a pain. but it was a pain from which i could easily recover. this, though. this is me looking down at a future in law and realizing that if i don't get my act together, this is the kind of stress i'll be putting on myself my whole working life. it's unnecessary. i feel a different kind of incentive to change my strategy. now, i just hope i can get my act together to actually put it into practice.

tomorrow, when i turn in my memo, i'll get the next assignment. that one will be graded. that's when i'll get to put the pedal to the metal and get things done for america. i mean, for me. whoops. for a second there, i fell asleep.