Like the Gogol story of the same name, my days start out reasonably enough before the descent into incoherence. Early mornings fill me with the simple pride of a person who Does What Needs to be Done. I get up at around 7 to shower and shave and. Shaving while studying for the bar isn't strictly necessary, but it make me feel like a worker. While MSNBC yammers pleasantly in the background like so much white noise, I make coffee (patting myeslf on the back for saving $2 each time) and instant oatmeal. Drinking my coffee in front of the computer, I check the weather and read the Times.
Having never really feared selling out, this routine is very comforting compared with the horrible mornings that follow particularly "interesting" nights. In a way, it's a decent trade-off: lose the bars, the repetitive music they play and the trash that inhabit them and gain Erin Burnett's adorable slight Long Island lilt* on Morning Joe. Life is good. Self-esteem is high. The bus always pulls into the stop just as I too arrive.
I get to the school library five minutes after it opens and find half of the floor filled with LLMs. Note to LLMs: just because we can't understand what you're saying doesn't mean we can't hear you. Be quieter.
One question set: done. Two question sets: done. One essay: done. One re-read of a section of my notes: done. Friends filter in and I get the kick of beating them to the library, even if I'll inevitably leave before.
Lunch rolls around. Nothing too heavy, but still, now is not the time to deny myself one of the few pleasures still available to me. An unacknowledged fact: just because you eat at your desk doesn't mean that you'll be doing anything productive while you're eating. Go eat outside and soak up some Vitamin D and UV rays.
All of a sudden, it's 2 p.m. and I've been screwing around for an hour and a half. Back to work. One essay. Two essays. One problem set. Some more review.
Inevitably, there comes some discrete task you've set out for yourself where you realize that your skull is nothing more than an upside-down bowl full of cottage cheese. Yesterday, I read a multiple choice question and the only thing that came to mind was "jeez, this question is a lot of lines long." Not exaggerating, I couldn't even count the number of lines, let alone read it.
Sometimes, the wall arrives during an essay. Read the prompt, think about the subject, then plot out the answer. Can lawyers be beneficiaries in a will they wrote? Well, lawyers are people, and people can be beneficiaries in a will. But aren't they interested? If I was getting money from a will, I'd be interested. Answering an essay question once you've hit a wall is like asking for legal advice from your snarky stoner friend.
My clean-living days, after such promising starts, go in reverse. All throughout college and law school, the Sunday hangover required immediate ameliorative attention (read: eggs and coffee) but my brain never really got into gear until after sunset. I'd start out moving around like an arthritic patient and unable to form sentences but end working furiously in anticipation for Monday. Now, I start out with vim and vigor and end in a bar-imposed haze. Seems to me like Erin Burnett and the time to do an extra problem set or two isn't worth it.
Around 6, it's time to head home. I stagger down the street, watching the purposeful commuters in soft-focus as I zig-zag in the general direction of my apartment.
Once home, the malaise really starts. Like the terminal patient who longs for death, I count the hours until it's time for bed - if I conk out at 7, it'll most likely be a nap, so I need to hold out at least until 10. TV is all reruns, my roommates are nowhere to be found. Dinner comes from a frozen box (I don't have the motivation to go to the supermarket). Sans sex, television, booze, energy or company, what's left to do for those three or so hours?
As uplifted as I was in the morning, the evening sees me sinking to a hazy, lazy low. And what are we going to do tomorrow? The same thing we do every day, Pinky. Study for the bar.
* UPDATE: Erin Burnett is apparently from Maryland's Eastern Shore. Whoa.