Friday, May 18, 2007

I just noticed that I never published this post. I'm just posting it now so it's here for posterity. It's probably not complete.

Hey --

I should be doing stuff, but I'm going to take a quick break and just make note of a number of things, since I have a moment alone.

As you probably know (I say that because you are probably me), our rental did indeed work out. We had ourselves tied up in knots worrying about the fact that we didn't have anything in writing, but in the end we got the signed lease. That was nice. Tomorrow is the big fucking day. The movers show up at our storage space at 9:00 AM. Today we're trying to put the finishing touches on packing. It's not that hard, because we really don't have very much stuff, it's just that it's so unbelievably un-fun.

And another sort of revelation that I wanted to make note of is this: I am really sad, mostly to be leaving our friends. We had a little goodbye at a local bar last night -- we sent an email out to a bunch of people saying we'd be hanging out there starting around 5:00, and anyone who wanted to should stop by to say goodbye. It was sort of funny and sort of sad how few people showed; but it was a nice thing to note that the people who did show were our real bosom friends. Of course M and K were there the whole time, and E and K came down from upstate New York and surprised us. That was a real gesture of true friendship. Anyway, I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that, bizarre as it seems, I have some really good friends here and I'm sad to say goodbye.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I just noticed that I never published this post. I'm just posting it now so it's here for posterity. As you'll see, it's not complete. It ends in the middle of a sentence. But hell. Here it is.

So I graduate tomorrow. My mother and my father and his wife are coming up, and my great aunt who lives in the Bronx, and our two best friends -- M and K, who are more family to us than our family, really -- are all going to participate in the festivities in one way or another. We're going to have a lunch after the graduation, and I've been thinking I want to say a few words at lunch. It seems like a good idea to try writing out what I'm thinking of saying -- partly to help me think through what I want to say, and partly to put it down here, you know, for posterity. Not that my remarks will be earth-shattering in any way, but just so future me can have an idea of what present me was thinking on this occasion.

[Note to self -- this post seems to be being written in little fits and starts, as W walks in and out. I'm still trying to keep the fact that this blog exists pretty much between me and myself, but more importantly this post in particular should be a secret from her, I think.]

So here's basically what I think I'm going to say:

So guys -- I actually realize I have some things I'd like to say. I'm really not the speech-giving type, but I've realized over the past couple days that I'd really like to say a few things to you all as a group.

First of all, I want to tell you how much it means to me that you are all here. I really mean this, about everyone at this table, individually. I didn't think that the graduation was going to be that big of a deal to me, but the fact that you all went out of your way to be here -- and really, I

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hm. Well, I thought this was a fully-formed idea until just now when I tried to start writing about it. But maybe it's worth sketching out some of the pieces now, I don't know.

I keep the New York Review of Books in the john, and read it every time I take a crap. I've recently read a couple articles that deal with private life under communism in different ways. One of them excerpts heavily from diaries of the party faithful in Stalin's Russia; the other excerpts from poems by a guy (Zbigniew Herbert) whose family escaped Poland in 1944, after living under Stalin and then Hitler. When reading the former, I was struck with the way the diarists dealt with the unfathomable -- in this case the unfathomable cruelty being practiced by their beloved party -- by placing it in the context of the inevitability of history: "You will understand everything," one of them says of the Great Terror, "only when the purpose of all that is taking place has become clear to you." In other words, have faith. Don't expect this to make sense. Just believe.

I found that remarkable because of its clear parallel in religious faith. Not being a particularly religious guy myself -- or, more accurately, not having ever been part of a religious community -- I might have it all wrong. But I've felt for years that... well, let's start with this: I believe that doing things that don't make sense is a requirement for survival as a human. Because, ultimately, nothing makes sense. You have to be able, at some point, to take a leap and say "I'm going to believe that this is the thing to do just because I am. I'm not going to ask anything more of this." If you don't do that, you'll end up going nuts. And so clearly I think that religion has the capacity to fill this role. It's all the more powerful when you accept that it simply makes no sense. When you're doing a ritual with no meaning at all.

Hm. Yeah. See, it's not a fully formed thought. Perhaps the real point isn't that you do it knowing it has no meaning, but that you do it accepting that you don't understand the meaning. But you believe that someone or something else -- be it God, or Stalin, or the priest, or the universe -- is working through you.

Well, that clearly needs some more thought. But here's the other ingredient. In the second article I read, about the poet Zbigniew Herbert, I was struck by the closing stanza of his disturbing poem about Russian emigres:

This parable is told by Nicholas
who understands historical necessities
in order to terrify me i.e. to convince me

I think this -- this idea of "historical necessities / in order to terrify me i.e. to convince me" -- is exactly what we've seen played out in the past several years, in the way the case was made for war in Iraq. The idea is to terrify people with the idea that something is inevitable. And to then convince them that it is a historical necessity that they go along with your plan, which ultimately makes no sense.

Yo, this is sad. I have to go -- I have to leave for work soon and I need to get showered and dressed, etc. So this idea is going to go unfinished. Not that it was ultimately going to be finished. Call it a work in progress. I have faith that it will be completed one day, by someone.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I think this is odd. I took my last law school exam yesterday. W is at work, so I'm alone. I like being alone, generally. I should be doing things, like playing the guitar, etc., etc., and enjoying myself. But I'm sitting here in a cesspool of anxiety. It's like, all of a sudden, everything I ever should have worried about is coming down on me at once. I haven't been able to eat, I've got a headache, I'm just in horrible shape. I should be happy -- this is like the one day I should be relaxing -- and instead, I'm possibly more freaked out than ever. This isn't right.
Okay, a couple things I want to note, because I don't want to forget them. Things I'd like to write about more but I fear I never will, so I'll just mention them here.

First of all, and most importantly, my wife contacted everyone in my family about their coming to my graduation. This was a really, really, sweet and special gesture. I never contacted them myself -- I don't know why, it's a manifestation of my craziness. I do that. I just can't bring myself to get in touch with people. Certainly part of it in this case was that I didn't want to put them in the awkward position of having to tell me they couldn't make it; another component was that our apartment is such an unmitigated shithole that I don't want them to come here, and I really can't offer them a place to sleep; and also, I sort of feel like the graduation isn't that big of a deal, since I'm already so involved in the next stage -- the bar exam, the job, etc. But somewhere deep down I wanted them to come. My wife knows me so well, and is so... how do you say this? She's so dedicated to doing the right thing for me? She's so in tune with what would make me happy, and so willing to do things to make me happy, that she got in touch with my family and invited them up. And now, it looks like, my mom and my dad and stepmother are all coming! It's very nice stuff.

The other thing is, we've put the house-hunting on hold, and are hoping to rent. We've found a place, and "applied" to get it, and were informed via email on Thursday that our application was "approved." But we still don't have a lease. Nothing is official, and we've learned that you can never trust anything that's not in writing. So we're waiting to get the lease. If it falls through for some reason, then we are FUCKED.

Finally, money is going to be the biggest problem it's ever been for us this summer, I think. Basically, this place we're renting is a palace, and it's very expensive. On top of which we're going to have the expense of moving, and we're going to have to furnish the place. We don't know for sure that we have any source of income between about May 15 and September 15. We've got savings, but those were really supposed to be for buying a house. So, honestly, I'm just not sure what we're going to do. W's boss is a douche, and won't tell her that he doesn't want her to work for him long distance, but keeps sending signals to that effect. So I feel like we can't count on that. I'll be studying for the bar, and won't have time to do a lot of income-producing work. I'll have to figure something out, though. Yee.

I had my last exam yesterday.

Heh heh heh heh heh.





Hm. Chortle.

Oh. Are you still here?

Do excuse me....

Ahem again. Yes. Ah. Anyway. What? You didn't say anything? Hm. Okay. Yes. Hi. Huh. I thought... well. Okay.

Anyway... oh boy. Shit. Damn. Well, okay. I guess I have to start thinking about other things now, huh. Like, I don't know, paying off my loans. Having somewhere to live. All that
fucking crap I've been putting off thinking about. Man. Is it me? It must be me. It sort of seems like there's never any opportunity to relax and enjoy something.

But right now, it's 9:45 and I haven't done shit today. I'm drinking coffee still. Reading blogs. I really need to do a few things. I need to check on my student loan deferment, and I need to figure out about whether I can take the bar class in Newark, just in case we aren't able to move to our new city in time. Also, I really
should call everybody in my family to say hi; and I need to mail them tickets to my graduation. And there's a little matter of finishing my part of the habeas petition I've been working on for my capital punishment clinic. Whew.

But first, I think I'll have some more coffee. Maybe catch up on talkingpoints, I've been out of the loop lately.