Blowing it Brecht Style

It is important in life (and death, probably) not to lose your sense of humor.  The great playwright Bertolt Brecht used to push his audience to disassociate themselves from the play’s characters so that the political truth, or message of the piece* would be easier to comprehend.  I remember a discussion – in what seems like another life – of ways of creating Brechtian alienation in an audience.  You could have them smoke, or create some non sequitur, strangeness, or humor on stage.

There aren’t a lot of areas of law that are what you’d call emotionally low impact.  People generally don’t need lawyers until things are pretty messed up.  Environmental and criminal law are no exception.  Basically, the more you learn about environmental and criminal realities, the scarier and dirtier the world the becomes.  Perspective is important.

The same holds true in the world of job hunting.  The more you look, the worse it looks.  Perspective and humor are absolute necessities.

Today was my first textbook screw up.   Naturally, it would be the day I am set to meet an attorney who is impressive enough that, had I read his entire bio before I sent that initial email, I might have been too intimidated to approach in the first place.

Of course, with meeting day approaching, I did my research and got appropriately nervous for the interview.  I planned the outfit, printed the resume, put on my flats and put the super cute, extremely uncomfortable pumps in my bag.  I parked in the garage under the building, switched shoes in the elevator and arrived at the Starbucks near 14th and Peachtree at twenty minutes to ten.

I looked for the face from the web site.  It was not there.   I have been in Atlanta long enough that I had made sure I was on the correct Peachtree St.  Having been here for so long, however, I forgot what every Northwesterner knows: there can be more than one Starbucks near a single intersection.

When 10 a.m. had come and gone, I began asking questions, and discovered that there was another Starbucks a block away.  Naturally, I had not thought to be put the impressive attorney’s phone number in my phone, since I had planned to be at the meeting location well ahead of him with my computer.  (I wasn’t.)  I switched shoes again and walked as quickly as a pencil skirt will allow farther up 14th to the next Starbucks.  Which had free parking.  Of course.  Sooo I was 8 minutes late and flustered enough that I forgot to offer to buy the man coffee, and the shiny, horrific but flattering shoes never made it back out of my bag.

I apologized, of course, and we had the meeting, which was pleasant.  He gave me some ideas, and some helpful feedback on the resume, and some insight into working at a bigger firm with a broader cross section of environmental work, while I tried not to dwell on exactly how much money 8 minutes is worth if you bill a bajillion dollars an hour.

So.  Oops.  Brecht would suggest leaning back and having a cigarette.  I would not, since cigarettes are not healthy for people or other living things; but I will share this little experience with you all, in pursuit of perspective.   Now I’m going to go play with the dogs and whack a few walnuts (that’s your non sequitur).


*Message of this piece: Put Attorney’s phone number in your phone, always get exact address of your location, and make sure your walking flats also go with your outfit.  You’re welcome.

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