This week, for the first time I can remember, I actually forgot about my blog for a while. The week was punctuated in series of mini crises which seem rather petty with the benefit of hindsight and a quick glimpse at the news headlines which comprise of people being blown up in various parts of the world.
Crystal City, Arlington (Woogers)
I have also been at a legal marketing conference in Arlington which immersed me in a strange new world. I finally have an idea what I had been doing wrong, what I should be doing and how I could become like those people who have all the answers. Whether I want to be like them is another matter.
You can finally understand the system but whether you want to be part of it is a different question, like that time when you are at the lodge making odd hand signals in funny clothes, lifting up your trouser leg in a certain way and you learn you have finally been accepted into a Masonic order. Clearly I have never been accepted into a Masonic order, hence the probably wholly inaccurate description.
I'm not sure if I ever aspired to mastermind the system. I had a lowly aspiration to write and that was as far as it went.
But something I learned from the conference was - with a couple of exceptions - lawyers are human too. And while they may make more money than most of us, many of them seem rather harassed and unhappy.
One of the speakers told a similar story of how doctors would tell him their lives were abject before driving off in their new Mercedes.
Money is perhaps a hollow allure, although we crave it when we are forced to live on Ramen noodle. The same speaker said his real aim in life was to visit all of the wine regions of the world, an aspiration I can relate to, although I'll probably have to be a bit more analytical when I write up my notes for Monday.
Now my head is full of visions of Crystal City and wealth for its own sake; upscale restaurants and glass fronted hotels that look like they were built last week and that juddery feeling of waking myself with too much coffee at 6 a.m. By the time I left the hotel rain was falling down in sheets. I abandoned by plan to head into DC to stroll around the monuments for half a hour. Two hours later I found myself eating at some chain steakhouse near Richmond in which they forgot to bring me my steak.
At this stage you would expect me to tell you about a 250 pound waitress who grunted at me and spat out an inarticulate apology. But the waitress was charming and found my steak, even informing me the sauce on my table was terrible and bringing me some better stuff. Small details like this can make a difference. In the same way I spoke to many lawyers who failed to conform to stereotypes and were perfectly affable.
Even so, as the drinks reception got under way it didn't take me long to realize I'd rather be drinking with journalists.