It's the end of the world as we know it...

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Sometimes Life Isn't As We Expect It To Be

So what have I been up to? In an ideal world, I would have left Cleveland for Columbus at 3 pm Wednesday with another newbie going to the seminar (as the "newbies" are now third year lawyers...maybe I need a new name for us). Of course, I'm Greek, which means I'm always running behind. Always. So at 5 pm, I'm still in my office packing up, not at the bar in Columbus with my friend. Aargh. My cell phone rings - it's my grandmother.

Yiayia: Are you at home?
Me: No, I'm at work.
Yiayia: [defeated] Oh. [pause] Can you come over now?

Uh oh. Fuck. It's obviously a bad time to go over. I'm late. I only slept three hours last night. I don't want to drive to Columbus in the dark. I want to get to the hotel ASAP, sit in the hotel bar and watch the last debate with my friend (a crazy Republican). But I'm Greek; you don't say "no" to your grandmother. She can ask you to come over solely to open a fucking pickle jar, and you do it, no questions asked. (True story, about a month ago, my grandmother called and asked me to come over. I drove the 45 minutes from my house to hers, and asked what was up (remember, no questions asked) and she hands me a picture from when I was in 7th or 8th grade -- I can tell from the awful perm I was sporting and no, you absolutely may not see a picture. I thought all suck evidence had been destroyed. Where was I? Oh, yeah, she hands me a photo and says, "Stephanie, what year is this?" That was it.)

I dutifully went over there to see whatever picture or whatever she needed me for. So I get there, and standing in the driveway is my cousin. Yes, the one in Afghanistan. Except right now, he's standing right in front of me in my grandparents duct taped driveway (long story. Actually, no it's not: you know how driveways get cracks in them? My grandfather duct tapes the cracks), hunched against the wind, smoking a Marboro Lights cigarette. And I'm definitely not in Afghanistan. So the obvious conclusion, even to my shell shocked self, is that he's in Cleveland. I was floored.

Evidentally, they get 2 weeks off when stationed overseas for more than 12 months. They have no say over when their break is - whether it is approximately midway, a few months after they arrive, or a few months before they return. It's just...whenever. They wanted him to take his break now since he had to come stateside to bring back additional troops. It wasn't really a choice. He has a bit more grey hair that when I last saw him 4th of July. (He turned 30 in Afghanistan. He turned 25 in Kosovo. I guess he believes in spending milestone birthdays in war zones??)

A few scary things. He said they are supposed to have 180 rounds of ammo at all times, and he (and everyone else) is down to 90. And no indication that theu will soon be getting what they need. Second, there are bombs built into the sand and they are detonated by remote. There are radio signals which jam the remote. If you have one on every other car, it will completely prevent them from using the remotes. Rather than having one for every two cars as needed, they have one. For the entire unit.

So we watch the debate together. (It's real interesting to watch the debate with an 85-year-old conservative WW2 veteran who hates Bush perhaps even more than I do.) So I didn't leave for Columbus until maybe 11:30. Ugh! I was exhausted. My friend kept calling to see why I wasn't at the hotel bar to have a drink with him. Umm...drinking now would get me arrested. So I got three hours of sleep. Again. Great way to start the seminar...Compelling topics. Class action. Collateral torts. Employing foreign nationals. Taxation. Need I go on? I could barely contain my excitement. In fact, just recalling it now is giving me the chills...

That evening, I was going out with my friend, an OSU third year who is joining our firm next fall, and an OSU second year we have a summer associate offer out to. (Yes, our endless stream of interviews is over.) We were out from 6-2:45. So I was exhausted. Again. Or is that still? I stumbled back to the hotel. (Yes, I stumbled. Yes, I was drunk. You caught me, ok? I tried to hang with my friend - and he can obviously outdrink me.) But the 2L that we are recruiting, she asked me for a disparate impack outline for her law review note. That she needed by Friday. So at 3 am, I'm drunk. Trying to figure out how to log onto the firm system, to work the directory, find the document, and email it to her. Did I mention that I was completely soberly challenged?? You can imagine how productive I was. Then, since I was logged into email I saw that I had 19 messages. They can wait, right? Obviously not to my drunk self. I had to email a friend back. And I wasn't in the best position to email, I'm sure. Let's just say that when my alarm went off (after 3 hours - night 3 in a row!) I amazingly wasn't hung over. I was, however, still drunk until about 1 pm. Day 2 lectures were just fantastic - thanks for asking.

Friday night I slept 10 hours - which (for all you math majors out there) is one more MORE than I slept Tuesday-Thursday nights put together. Boy, did I need it.


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