Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sometimes Walls Are Needed

I attended a conference last week.  A conference of appellate attorneys - some civil, some rude, I mean, criminal.  The topic of the conference was civility and congeniality amongst the bench and bar.  Some bits were enlightening, some boring (Eerie, really? REALLY?), and some entertaining, but it was the last morning's session that whacked me over the head.  Not the topic, oh no, but my reaction to a comment by one of the panelists.  It was a comment that was meant to be funny, and was, but it would not be funny - at all - to the millions of non-attorneys in the world. 

Non-attorneys would find it crass, inappropriate, and unfeeling.  I find it necessary.

As I chuckled, it hit me what someone outside of my profession would think to hear that chuckle.  I've considered this before while we swap stories in the office about one case or another - always amazed, yet not, at the depravity of other human beings who commit some of the crimes we prosecute.  Often amazed, yet not, at the stupidity of those committing these crimes.  Always disheartened. 

If you've ever been a victim, you know that an instance or an hour (or more) can stay with you ... forever.  You go on, because you must, and life really does always get better.  You live in a world very different from our own.  I don't mean to say 'better' - certainly not - I have little if any idea what you go through, have gone through.  I simply mean different. 

We deal, day in and day out, with the reality of the horrors our fellow man routinely inflicts upon others.  We see stories of assault, rape, murder, torture, repeated with a different set of individuals and modified set of facts.  Each day.  We see domestic violence victims repeatedly, frustratingly, lie to try to cover for the assholes - the cowards - who beat them.  [Again, I don't walk in those shoes and hope I never find myself near them.]  We hear the stories of children who have no real parents left because what parent they had has somehow decided that their next high or their next affair is more important than keeping their children safe.  We hear of the sick bastards out there figuring out the next way in which they can get a small child alone in order to molest them.  Each day. 

We build walls separating ourselves from these crimes.  It is easier for me, an appellate attorney, than for a trial attorney who fights in the trenches of a trial court, listening first hand to a victim's testimony, seeing a victim's family each day, as well as the defendant.  I am one step removed - usually - because I must focus on the record below and the law.  I read the stories rather than hear them; I write about the stories rather than argue them to a jury.  I generally look at my trial attorney coworkers as being made of tougher stock than me in some ways because of the thinner wall they have protecting them.  The walls we build - whatever you call them - are necessary for us to continue to face these issues every day.  If we did not develop them, if we developed emotional attachments to every case before us, we would crumble early and often.  If we did not release some of our stress through humor, some fairly crass and otherwise inappropriate, we would explode when you need us the most.  If you hear us sounding crass or laughing at something you don't think is funny, please remember that we're simply building the barriers we need to do the job you need us to do. 

Tomorrow, I'm meeting the family of a victim.  My wall is about to be battered. 


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Drum Roll Please ....

I done did it!

Back in February, I announced my intention to crush this year (I'm so humble) and my intention to rid myself of the monstrosity that was overtaking my bedroom - the king-sized marriage bed.  I hemmed, hawed, stared, and cogitated my options to an early grave.  I might still be staring at it had my little brother not, upon hearing that I was (oh yes absolutely) getting rid of my old bed, asked me what I was doing with it (uh, hoping someone will haul it away), and whether he could have it for their new guestroom, (uh, for the price of hauling it away).  That is how I found myself, on Easter weekend, kingless and sleeping on this:

Yeeeah.  Hello, college days, I missed you - just not this part of you.

It is truly a testament to my power of procrastination that I slept on that for a month.  MONTH!!  [On a side note, who's proud of their 30-something back for withstanding the torment?]

My wish of a new bed aka mattress set was replaced during this time of upheaval with a wish of a new bedroom - a "grown-up" bedroom if you will - one without Target furniture and with an actual bed and not simply a wire frame.  [I know, who the HELL do I think I am??]  I boldly gave away my stuffed animals (uh, most of 'em) to my 2 year old niece and, finally, in mid-May, I was persuaded to part with some moolah and purchased this:

Eh? Eh? Look at that ACTUAL bed with matching night table! I also bought my first ever big ass dresser with a big ass mirror on top.  *nodding* That's right .... big ass furniture. 

It only took me, oh, about two more weeks to finally cave and purchase an actual mattress set ... and pad ... and comforter set ... pillows ... sheets.  And finally, I was left with *I'm so excitedTA DA:

I know. Damn, I'm good.

Best part? I have to climb UP into the bed.  I feel all princessy and shit.  Oh, and, of course, uber-mature. 

It only took me nearly *cough cough* years.