Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Wednesday's observations, one day late (just got my computer hooked up to the network)

10:03 AM

We had an all-dorm-residents barbecue last night, and then the first Bar Review (the oh-so-law-student way of saying trip to a bar) later on at night. It's nice that they had something organized going on so I wouldn't be stuck in my room watching American Idol. Which actually was pre-empted by the Red Sox-Yankees game on the local Fox affiliate. But American Idol is apparently such a phenomenon that they let viewers know during the Red Sox game -- I caught about a half hour inbetween barbecue and bar -- that it would air (in full!) after the news after the game. Got back to my room at 11:30 in time to see the contestants waving goodbye. But -- and this is truly pathetic -- I had my mom tape it for me, so I'll see it at some point in the future, probably after the winner's career has already come and gone twice over.

So far it's seemed like in most cases, there appear to be only 5 questions on the approved "first day of law school making conversation" question sheet, and always asked in this order:

(1) What's your name?
(2) Where are you from?
(3) What school did you go to?
(4) What section are you in? (The entire first year class is divided into 7 sections of about 70 people, who attend all of the required classes as a group)
(5) Did you come straight through from college?
And if the answer to (5) is no, (5A) What did you do inbetween?

That pretty much covers most of the conversations. I guess it's like that with any new situation. But a big nametag with all of that information might help things along... it was kind of funny to watch some people just go from person to person asking the questions, trying simply to meet as many people as possible -- quantity over quality I suppose. One guy, after we talked for about 90 seconds, simply said "Okay, I'm going to go meet someone else now." Well, at least it's honest. I found myself guilty a couple of times of saying dumb things in response to people's answers, just because I couldn't think of anything else to say and the silence was awkward. Like:

SOMEONE ELSE: "I'm from California."
ME: "Oh. So this is pretty far away for you."
HIM: "Yeah."
ME: "It gets pretty cold here in the winter."
HIM: "Right."

Yeah, I know it's pretty idiotic to imagine that anyone -- from no matter how far away -- has no conception that Boston may get cold in the winter.

10:43 AM (yes, just 40 minutes later)

Who knew that just walking to the bookstore and back could give me enough for another Weblog entry? First off, I went to the bookstore because after I saved the file with the preceding entry, I realized I didn't have a floppy disk to copy it onto in order to transfer it to a cluster computer later on today and post it. But before I could even get there, I passed by the Fleet Bank "Please, please sign up for an account" table. "Have you signed up for your free Fleet Bank account yet? Get a free mousepad, keychain, and white board." Did they say mouse pad, keychain, AND white board? Not "...OR white board?" How can anyone pass that up? The deal is that they want everyone -- money or not. Sign up, get a checkbook, and if you decide you want the account, make a deposit at some point. Otherwise, don't. "But I don't know my mailing address," I said. "Leave it blank -- just put your name and we'll find it," the scary man in the blue shirt said. Well... okay.... Another student passed by:

SCARY MAN: "Have you signed up for your free Fleet Bank account yet?"
STUDENT: "I've already got a bank account."
SCARY MAN: "What bank?"
STUDENT: "Bank One."
SCARY MAN: "How are you going to make your withdrawals? We've got an ATM right on campus."
STUDENT: "I'm fine. I'm happy with my account."
SCARY MAN: "But this account is free -- and convenient. We've even got an ATM right on campus."
STUDENT: "Yeah, but I don't want to switch banks."
SCARY MAN: "Why not?"
STUDENT: "It's a family thing."
SCARY MAN: "The bank account? Don't you want your own bank account?"
(...the student starts to walk away...scary man screams after him...)
SCARY MAN (cont'd): "...and a free mouse pad, keychain, and white board? How about a sunglasses case?"

So Fleet Bank is pretty desperate.

But that's not all! I was walking back from the bookstore -- with my one disk, cost: 99 cents plus tax. $1.04. Which means I have 96 cents in change rattling around in my pocket. But that's besides the point. I'm walking back, and I see someone who looks vaguely familiar. And I quickly realize who I've just passed -- remember on the second season of Survivor there was Nick, a guy who went to Harvard Law School? This was him. I'm positive. I didn't say anything, but I'm sure it was him. He'd be in his 3rd year now I guess, so it makes sense. A brush with fame. Now all I need is to pass Alan Dershowitz later today and I'll have seen every famous person on this campus. Or not.

9:16 PM

Back in my room, inbetween the first day of orientation and another bar outing. Started out at 4:00 with a section meeting -- first time with the other 80 people who'll be in all my classes, plus our section professor. Saw a classroom for the first time. Each desk had a microphone. Scary. "Attention, Seat 55, your lights are on..."

My dorm room is beginning to show cracks -- the fluorescent light bulb won't stop flickering, and the sink has a real slow drain. Someone told me to e-mail the dorm office -- so I'll see if I get a reply.

12:32 AM

I really don't like bars. Too crowded, too noisy, too dark. I can't think of a less effective way to meet people than to put all of them in a room ten times too small, turn out the lights, and play loud dance music. Maybe it's just me. I just haven't mastered the art of bar conversation. Usually I'm too quiet to steer the conversation anyway, so I just sort of nod and stand there. No one gets past the magic 5 questions anyway -- name, from where, what school, what section, take any time off inbetween -- that it's pointless.

I think the key to these conversations is to have a gimmick. One of the five answers has to be something different, something enough to keep people from moving right past. Like one guy was from Canada. So he got lots of questions from people I'm sure he'd never ever heard before -- "is it cold up there?" "you like hockey?" "ever been to the states?" I asked, in a brief moment of insanity, "so, how do you feel about Quebec secession?" Yeah, that's a great bar question.

I want to find a gimmick. "I have six fingers on each hand?" Naw, too freaky.