Thursday, November 05, 2009


There isn’t a good way to recover from an overextended week. Sleep? I can’t sleep. Not any more. I’m too tired to sleep. (A disinterested observer might suggest that I cut back on the Nespresso espressos I make for myself each day at home. To that disinterested observer I would reply that it’s either that or finding a device that would keep my eyelids from closing shut in the course of the day.)

I pedal home from work satisfied, but disappointed, too. Satisfied because the week went by and I did with it as much as I could. Not a minute wasted.

Disappointed because I still haven’t a clue as to how I should balance everything without winding up exhausted. And so I know that even if tonight I am free (from the shop, from class preparation), it is only a lull. The pace will pick up again this week-end and thereafter.

Still, it was a beautiful morning and I do love the ride, gusty wind notwithstanding.


And it was a beautiful afternoon, so that running down the hill for an espresso (no comment) was actually pleasurable.


And the classes were good, and the students were sharp and responsive. and I actually took the time to talk to colleagues at the Law School which, for me, is rare.

Still, that dusk, that awful dusk closed down on me again. It could be that it was the time Ed reached me to tell me the trial did not conclude on time and he would not be coming back today after all. It could be that I almost threw my hands up then, even though I don’t really throw my hands up, as I am not prone to dramatic gestures. It could be that I had no food at home as we were supposed to go out to celebrate his return. It could be that I wanted to tell Ed this, even as he was spinning on to the next sentence and the next one. It could be that I never had a chance to say that my day had gone reasonably well and that the students were sharp and responsive...

I stopped three times on the bike ride home. To take a few photos of the lake at dusk.



... And to pick up eggs for a solo supper of scrambled eggs and whatever.

... And to say hi to my boss and coworker at the little shop down the hill where I moonlight.

Because at dusk, being around people who track your everyday is a good idea.

At home, I ate my scrambled supper, opened a new box of ginger snaps and thought long and hard about whether the cookies pair well with the cheap box wine I’d poured for myself this evening.

motion sickness

When you think of New York, you think – speed. That city moves fast! If you'd watch people navigate between connecting subways, you' d be impressed. A mountain stream at spring time. After heavy rains.

And yet, in places, the city movement is painstakingly slow: Traffic at rush hour. Court proceedings at 31 Chambers Street. [For newer or erratic Ocean readers, my occasional traveling companion, Ed, is in New York, participating in ongoing litigation at said address.]

At first, I blamed it on the lawyers (ones on the other side!). They had at least three sitting there last time I counted. Ed, too, had three. Sometimes four. Attorneys (at least those on the other side, the weaker side!) make whimsical requests that need to be honored by her honor (for example: your honor, I need to give a speech tomorrow afternoon. Can we block out two hours for that? And, so long as we will recess from 2 to 4, maybe we should agree to simply come back the next day?).

Then I thought it was a function of the way litigation proceeds. Motion upon motion. To dismiss. To admit. To breathe. To go to the bathroom. (Or so it seemed.)

Finally, I thought it may be due to the busy court schedule. The judge set aside two weeks for this trial. For reasons that are mind boggling to me, that timeline proved unrealistic. And so I thought maybe it’s that the whole lot of them – judge, clerk, recorder, security guard – has other plans that they need to honor.


I do know this: the judge hearing the case is brilliantly with it (that is my perception, from reading the transcripts and watching her in action the first two days). She moves things along. So she is not the one applying the brakes.

Then maybe it is the fault of the court reporters. And lunch. Maybe it’s all about lunch.

Because how else do you explain this day, a typical court room day: Convene at 12 (late, for any of the above reasons). Break for lunch at 1. Reconvene at 2:15. End at 4:45.

Well, no matter. It’s over. At least this stage is done with (you, legal types understand, I’m sure, that there is always a next stage). Ed’s coming home tomorrow night. He did well in trial, the Yankees won and I think he ate more oysters than I’ve seen him digest in the period of a month ever. Even when we were in Brittany, the most oyster infested region of the planet, he showed restraint. Not this time. (So, I was at this bar, and the game was on in the background and the oysters were a buck and a half each... – is this the man I know? The one who pretty much never drinks, rarely eats oysters and has expressed nothing but antipathy for organized sports?)

People evolve.


In the meantime – I bike to work (we are so near freezing here in Wisconsin!), pausing for one quick look at the lake. Swans. That’s rare. Lake Mendota is not a swan haven. I watch, even though I’m late for a meeting. I can’t help it. Have you ever noticed the way swans move? It’s graceful and powerful, all at once. I admire that. They don’t rush to where they’re going. But they have such force that you don’t doubt they’ll get there, no matter what.


Companions on the lake, companions in travel. Tomorrow, Ed will be asking the same old questions to my face – why don’t we not fuss with dinner? Why don't we go sailing off the coast of Nicaragua or Mexico sometime? And I’ll give the same old true answer – I get motion sickness on ocean waters.

We’ll go over this a few times and eventually we'll settle into our tasks and maybe we’ll go back to the events of the past weeks and maybe not. You can’t tell. Life is hugely unpredictable. Except I can say one thing with utmost certainty: I do get motion sickness.