Friday, April 28, 2006
I rolled back into town from my secret hiding spot on Wednesday, and managed to study for my first closed-book exam enough to feel like I wouldn't fail. At about 11pm last night, just as I was contemplating going to sleep in time to wake up at 6am to go over my outline one last time, wouldn't you know it... A live band erupted complete with symbols, drums, and a very loud, very bad male lead singer. I sat on my couch with my mouth agape, listening to the aforementioned cockroach-like undergrads whoooohooo-ing in their drunken haze across the street from my very large, very uninsulated windows. I briefly contemplated calling the police, until it dawned on me that after inquiring where I lived, the police would probably say, "you live where? Yeah, we don't enforce municipal ordinances in a five-block radius around that area because we have determined that it is simply futile." They would have a nice chuckle, and hang up the phone. I briefly considered calling anyway, and asking if that kind of response would authorize me to resort to self-help. Yeah, probably not.
After 15 minutes, resigned to the fact that natural sleep the night before my exam was decidedly outside of my reach, I walked to the medicine cabinet and pulled out the sleeping pills. Those, coupled with ear plugs and a pillow wedged tightly over my head were my only chance at some ZZZs -- I fell asleep somehow, despite the fear of accidental asphyxiation and the occasional base pounding through my artificial sound barriers.
After waking up at 6am (furiously reading my outline, trying desperately to commit it to memory) and drinking 8 cups of coffee, I took my exam. At the end I found out I had computer problems, which zapped my entire afternoon -- and my attempt to begin cramming for my next exam. On my way home from dealing with the computer people at school, an older man raced up to me. I was walking at a very brisk pace, eager to get home to just relax a teeny bit after being put through the stress that is the law school examination process.
He was panting because he almost had to run to catch up to me. When he touched me on the arm I turned, confused because I didn't recognize him. He was holding something in his hand, so I thought I had dropped something behind me, and he was trying to catch up to give it back to me. No such luck.
As I turned, he said, "oh, you aren't an Econ major, are you?" Good call, considering I was wearing a T-shirt that said "XYZ LAW" on the front (in my defense, I didn't pay any attention to what I was wearing this morning when I woke up bleary-eyed, in a sleeping pill hangover coupled with severe caffeine jitters). I said, "no...I'm not." The man proceeded to guess my nationality, first guessing (incorrectly) that I must be Italian. It didn't even dawn on me that this man, with the few gray hairs left on his head, and the deeply wrinkled skin, was hitting on me, until he finally asked, "hey -- do you want to go get a cold drink on me?" I had already guessed this man must be at least 75. Not only was he old enough to be my father, he was old enough to be my grandfather. In my naivete, I thought he was just a lonely man striking up a conversation with a girl on the street. Then again, what kind of lonely man strikes up a conversation with a girl on the street? Yeah. I really am naive sometimes. I managed to choke back the creeps and mask my shock enough to tell him that I really need to go and study, but thanks for the offer. He actually pressed me -- to my surprise, and I felt that his behavior felt oddly like he was trying to trap me in a corner, despite the shining sun and wide expanse of blue sky around me. As I saw the light turn green and the little walk man appear on the crosswalk signal, I mumbled something about going to study and walked quickly away, as he shouted after me, "but you look so good....you look so gooooood.........."
Across the street I spotted one of the other members of the editorial board on my journal, and half ran up to him. He was standing there talking with a few other people I happened to know, and he said "who was that? We watched him chase you for a block-and-half." In case you have already pieced it together dear readers, I do not exactly attend law school in a cosmopolitan town. This isn't like the big bad wolf approaching innocent prey in a big city. As you will recall, however, Little Red Riding Hood was approached in the big bad woods, read: RURAL AREA. Maybe little towns are more apt to hide the crazies than the cities...or maybe it just shows that you can't escape odd people, no matter where you go.
Now, I'm not exactly young, but I'm not exactly old either. Apparently I definitely look young enough to be mistaken for an undergraduate, which also means that I must look like I could be in the 18-22 age bracket. I think this just adds to the creepyness. Call me a "thin-skull" plaintiff, but I found this event to be semi-traumatizing.
And I'm gonna be a lawyer soon. Very soon. I think it is time to start hardening up, and being more of a ballbuster. I have to figure out how to do that. Maybe working at the big law firm in the big city will harden me up some, but I need to learn how to handle and confront difficult situations head-on. My Negotiation class was supposed to help me with that this semester, instead I think it just highlighted the problem. Maybe I will have to look for one of those self-help books. I wonder if they have one entitled, "How to Squelch the Nice Person Within...10 Tried and True Secrets For Learning That It is Okay to be Mean."