Sunday, October 23, 2005

Festival! Of!! Neuroses!!!

(OK, I realize that could be the subject heading for any one of these entries...)

Neurosis #1: I fear my inner surly teenager may be running amok.

Everyone keeps asking me how I'm liking law school. The short answer is: I'm liking the "law" part. I'm not liking the "school" part.

Pretty much from Day 1, law school has made me uneasy. Initially I thought there was just something about being part of a large institution again that icked me out.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote my friend S and said, "I think I've decided that it's not new people who exhaust me, but the way I act around them. Or something like that. There's no story."

Now I think I've put my finger on it: LAW SCHOOL IS JUST LIKE HIGH SCHOOL, and as a result, my tendency is to take up my old adolescent defense of hostile withdrawal into my own superiority. Which is, um, ugly and weird and neurotic and inauthentic and bad. But hard to avoid. There are lockers. There are cliques. There are "extracurricular activities." I'm told that in the spring, there will be a prom. Do you know how much this shit pushes my buttons??

At least I'm not alone. If you Google the phrase "law school is like high school," you'll get about 180 hits. ("Law school is JUST like high school" gets you another 60 or so.)

Neurosis #2: What the fuck is wrong with me that I can't keep my fucking house clean?

I was talking to The Other M this morning about this. I had my house all clean, and felt pretty happy about it, then I slumped into some mild post-head-cold depression last week and just started letting things fall where they would, with the result that by the end of the week my living room was kind of a soup of shoes, papers, subscription cards, and crumpled receipts. The bedroom is carpeted with clothes. Don't ask about the kitchen.

I can't figure this out. I don't know what this is. What it feels like is I'm overwhelmed by herding all these objects around. All these little things that each need to go some specific place, and that enter my life largely unbidden (junk mail is the worst), then run amok. But I also think I feel slightly stressed out and agoraphobic when my house is too clean, like "OK, the house is clean--what are you going to do now?" It feels like maybe the mess is what I procrastinate against--it's the thing that helps me delay and resist other demands. It's comfortable.

It's weird.

Some of you may recall that two winters ago, I went through a whole delving into my psychology of money. This year, it may be my psychology of mess.


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