12 August 2005

Goodbye Tribunal

Today was the last day of my summer externship. I did my 170 hours, copied all my work product (I thought the pile would be larger), gave people forms for evaluating me, asked for a couple letters of recommendation ("write one and I'll sign it"--not a fan of that), finished my last assignments, and said some goodbyes. Half the office was gone, including people I really wanted to say a proper goodbye to, like Cindy and Kathie and several of the judges, and even Jack (with whom I was supposed to do an exit interview, but he never was there at our scheduled times--oh well). But Micheal was there, and so were Tony and Amanda and Marijo.

I was determined that today would go well, because I have this history of ending jobs badly, and for unusual reasons. At my last job, I injured my foot pretty severely the day before my last day and filed a worker's compensation claim for x-rays. The associate director failed to realize that this was routine and in no way opened up him or the office to liability, and gave me a huge hassle about signing the papers. This shouldn't have surprised me, since he disliked me from almost day one. I'll never forget the time that we were the only ones in the office, and he came back to where I worked and , laughing, said he had this strange urge to stick a pencil in my ear. O-kkkkaaayy. [I, of course, quickly scanned the room for any number twos.] So when the worker's comp thing arose, he ended up--seriously--yelling at me. After about an hour of him griping at me off and on, I got ticked (it takes a lot to get me ticked), calmly went back to my office, deleted everything I'd ever worked on (a lot) from the office hard drive and shredding all hard copies of it and walked out without saying a word. Luckily everyone else there liked me, including the director, and I found out that Mr. Psycho got fired a month later. Another time my last article during my stint as a school reporter--an entertainment piece on the globalization conference going on regarding China that was hosted in part by the university--was responded to with a vicious three page letter to the editor about the dangers of globalization and how benign and idiotic my article was. Along with some choice phrases about me, too. Of course, it got published--the editors even reduced the font size to fit it all on one page. I won't even tell the story about how I was fired by a priest once. It seems that I manage to rub one person the wrong way everywhere I work. Maybe this is just normal...

At the Tribunal, things should have been different. There were only two people I didn't click with, but they were easy to avoid. All I had to do, I figured, was get everything done, stay around the right people, and it would be fine. This time, though, the problem was all my fault. First of all, I should preface all this by explaining that I have a seizure disorder. I'm on medication for it which controls everything pretty well, but some days I just feel awful. Today was one of those days; hence, the phoning-it-in attitude. I was basically watching the clock all morning, waiting for twelve o-clock when I'd do my best to drive home and then try to sleep off how weird I was feeling. So Micheal (that is the correct spelling, by the way), the judge I clerk for, comes by where I work and we start chatting, attempting to do the whole closure thing I guess. A couple other student workers were in the other cubicles--you can pretty much hear any conversations any of the students have if you want to. Out of the blue, Micheal asks if I'd like to grab lunch. Now, I've hinted around to this before but with no luck, so this totally caught me off guard. I couldn't say "no, I'm not feeling well because I have this seizure disorder that I never explained to you or anyone here and generally keep private, especially from students who I go to law school with that aren't close friends." No, I couldnt' say that, but I knew I couldn't say "yes." I simply was not up to it, and on days like today I try to coast through everything and avoid anything unexpected. Again, it's hard to explain, but hopefully it makes sense. I guess I could have taken my chances and just gone to lunch with him, but after nine years of dealing with this, the lesson I've learned is to be very risk-averse.So I said "no, I'm meeting someone for lunch already."

Oh God! Idiot! I mean, I might as well have spit on the guy. As soon as we were done talking, I went to his office and explained things to him. He was cool, so that's good. I would rather the whole thing have not happened, but at least I fixed things with him. The other students, though, were more problematic. I'm not close friends with any of them, but I know they're pretty socially well-connected at the law school (read: gossipy, at least I think Ben is), and that I don't want to explain anything to them I consider personal. Somehow, it would get all twisted up in subsequent retellings (which would be inevitable). I sound paranoid, but our law school has quite a healthy grapevine. The problem now is that they think I'm probably the most stuck-up, anti-social prick--not to mention a dumbass--to ever be a law student. So, yeah--great.

I know reputation isn't everything, but I don't like being thought of in a certain way for all the wrong reasons. If someone wants to think of me as an arrogant dumbass, then I want it to be for a valid reason. Like that I ran over an old lady or something and then sued her for emotional distress. And I'd also like it if they would just say it to my face, but I guess the chances of that are nil. It'd be easy if this was somehow me getting my comeuppance, but it isn't.

You know, it seems that no matter how hard I try to do things right, life always bites me in the ass. At least, that's what it feels like sometimes. Maybe this should become part of my expectations. But that seems pessimistic and unacceptable, doesn't it?

I guess I'm just sick of the whole ordeal. I'm sick of bad stuff happening. I'm sick of it so often being beyond my control. I'm sick of having to constantly choose between being honest with people about things I'd rather not talk about, and having to lie to them to avoid the topic. I'm sick of the limitations my health has put on me for the last nine years. I'm sick of having to compete with myself along with everyone else to try to get ahead, if even a little bit. I'm sick of trying to explain this to people only to have them not get it or tell me "things could be worse," when in fact things could be a helluva lot better, too. I'm sick of never being able to completely "let go" even for one day lest I get reminded of what happens when I do that. I'm sick of always having to get enough sleep, and eat right, and avoid stress. I'm sick of living what feels like a half-life. I'm sick of not having a choice in this, and I'm sick of not being able to fix it. I'M SICK OF BEING SICK.

And when I said a few posts ago that I wouldn't change anything? I guess I'll still stick by that, because I think in a lot of ways I'm a better person on the whole than I would have been had everything been "easy." But I can't accept this anymore than I have already. There's a fine line between accepting something and giving up hope, and this seizure disorder was never something I felt like I should have to accept. Not completely. And I don't. I won't. I feel like I've learned whatever cosmic lesson I was supposed to learn, and that's all that should be expected of anyone.


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