By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Three mornings in a row, nay four, my eyes have popped open and my brain has shifted into waking mode shortly after one o’clock in the morning. The air is crisp and sparkles in the night’s lights. Quiet is everywhere. It is your turn to suffer my words.
These are the annual days that I have nicknamed “the Lawyer’s Dead Zone”. Starting shortly before Christmas, it runs until the day after New Years. Good luck in finding a lawyer or a judge in their office. May the force be with you if you are hoping your phone is going to ring with a returned call.
I am surrounded with all this “Christmas spirit and joy”. As such, there just is not much of anything to do. How can a lawyer make a buck when everybody is being nice to each other? Yes, there is the occasional domestic or DWI. In the end, however, this is the season to forget your lawyer. You love your family and disputes are relegated to the back burner. So too with invoices; nobody is going to pay their legal bills when they have Christmas. Since we lawyers have a secret orchard from which we go harvest money when we need it, it is not difficult for us to stand aside acquiescing while client after client begs for time to pay because of the holiday season. “Thanks, Mark. You’re such a nice guy. I knew you would understand.”
I have read and watched more television this week than I have this past year. There is not a single project sitting on my desk waiting for my attention. As usual, I am waiting for others to do their jobs. Me, notwithstanding the nature of my work, I truly do wish that people are out there being nice to each other. This morning I read where a Pastor refuses to make New Years Resolutions because as he so well stated, “we should be making and keeping resolutions to be better people every single day.”
He has a point. Of course if my track record of keeping up my New Years resolutions were to be a day to day experience, I might find myself on a double dose of Cymbalta for life. At least with making resolutions once a year, you can only fail just that one time.
The ugly side of this holiday dead zone is the worthlessness that comes from not working. A lawyer without a client is meaningless; well educated and trained, but meaningless nonetheless. What value is a surgeon if there is no body upon which to operate?
Also during this holiday dead zone it is difficult to even get out to visit anybody because everybody is doing something with their family and friends. Unless you want to hang out with Pagans or Heathens (which is not an altogether bad thing to do), even finding another soul with whom to spend time can be an overwhelming chore.
With all this love and peacefulness, I am left with a blank Word document, a keyboard calling my name, and lots of quiet time to do whatever “it” is that I am supposed to do. They say “write what you know”. What I “know” it that around me it is dark, quiet, and I just love it.
It can be a very dangerous experience to be awake at these hours. When everyone is asleep and the world is dark and resting up, it is just you and your thoughts. Being alone inside your own head for an extended period of time can be quite titillating. How would you like to spend an hour banging around inside mine? How about five minutes? I don’t recommend it as it is a weird and wacky world in there. But the order of events is that first you run through the work and responsibilities that are ahead of you. Then you rehash and figure out fabulous retorts to arguments of long ago. Eventually, the demons creep through the darkness and wake up your mind. Those moments in days gone by where by design or by happenstance, misdeeds and errors of the past come back to visit. I look forward to our nightly reunion.
At the same time my mind eschews the flotsam from regurgitated history; I stand watch over a darkened world. Each of you asleep, gone away visiting happier places, warm and safe, and I in my designated perch high in the treetops look down. Every sound finds its way to my ear; every light twinkles ‘hello’. The deer walk right under me. For a moment I want to go BOO to remind them how stupid they are. Instead, they meander on by in search of a driver not paying attention. My eyes return to the horizon.
The air is cold and crisp; though not at as bad as it can be. Occasionally a car is passing down 173. Its’ occupant(s) are on a mission. Are they coming from or headed to somewhere? Is it work or a one night stand that put them on this road at this hour? I wonder.
I wonder about too many things. At some point, the wondering turns to wonderment as I relax in a world of peace and quiet. Though it be dark and the world asleep, I am not alone. Even more importantly, in the most Cartesian sense, “I know, therefore I still am.” I have not lost and the game is not over. Enjoy the moment. The next may not be so quiet. A phone can ring, a shot can be fired, a mistake might be made, and these quiet dark moments that so occupy my mind would be taken from me; for an instant or a lifetime. I see beyond the darkness and know that there are in fact demons out there. For so long as you have the luxury of staring back at them, enjoy it as it can vanish in an instant and you can be engaged in mortal moral combat.
Fortunately, the dead zone ends soon. Starting January 3rd, I hit the ground running and wont stop until Spring. When I am stressed and tired and overwhelmed to the point of I start whining, remind me of this dead zone. Remind me how I longed for “something” to do.
Until then, sweet dreams.