I think I might have felt some anxiety the whole day on Friday. That evening, at 6pm, the results of the California bar exam would be available online to applicants. I was nervous that the server was going to crash, and that I’d be left in suspense for days. I was horribly afraid of failure. As a perfectionist, I always need to succeed. As a person with some eclectic tastes, I always am learning something new, and thus, make many mistakes along the way. My experience as a cheesemonger has revealed both facets (and many more!) brilliantly. But I digress!
I hadn’t told anyone at the Cellar about the bar beforehand, except for Elliot and Sherrie when she came in that morning. I think I had pushed the bar out of my head until it hit me that I was going to get the results that day. In any case, I managed to finish my work with about 10 minutes to spare. I would have finished earlier but for an enormous holiday cheese purchase to prepare. Elliot hovered behind me, and Sherrie and Jess hovered in front of me as I logged on. It was about 4 minutes to 6pm, and I clicked the refresh button frantically to watch the figure slowly approach “1.” Luckily, the server didn’t crash at 6pm, and I was able to log in without problem. I clumsily typed my applicant and file numbers. Then, there it was, my name, and then a single sentence stating that my name was on the list of passing applicants. “Yes!” I pumped my fist into the air. I’m licensed to practice law in California. Wow. Elliot believes I must have thought I was a shoo-in, but I wasn’t so sure. Jess looked a bit teary-eyed, which was very touching.
As I looked away, a woman at the bar asked, “So you’re an attorney, now? A real one? I thought you were playing a game or something [on the computer] where you try to become an attorney.” There may be such a game, but it doesn’t sound like one I want to play. Doing it in real life took enough time and energy.
“What do I do now?” I asked aloud, in an existential way. “Drink,” someone answered, quite practically. “That’s what all the attorneys I know do.” Moreover, I WAS sitting in the best wine bar in the county. With that, Paul, our newly-certified sommelier, put his service skills to good use, and poured about ten perfect glasses of sparkling wine. We all toasted, and started the evening off right! I took someone’s suggestion to heart that I should relax and enjoy the moment, and stuck around chatting. I finally tried one of the Cellar’s delicious pizzettas. Later in the evening, Elliot even had the entire bar give a hooray.
I think I felt bewildered by it all–the results, the celebration, the consequences–although I am relieved to know that I passed. It is good to know that three years of school, two months of bar study, and three months of waiting culminated in a positive result. Now, I need to see what to do with this. Someone joked that instead of Miss Cheesemonger, I should change my name to Cheesequire. I could then be a cheese lawyer. Honestly, if I could, I would LOVE that! I remember reading in one ABA magazine the story of an attorney who is also an artisanal cheesemaker. Now, I wish I could recall her name! I was in awe as I read her daily schedule. She would wake up at 4am to receive morning milk, prepare and curdle it, do depositions and make phone calls for a couple of hours until lunch, then alternate between working the cheese and law until midnight. Another story I read in the American Bar Association Journal recounts the story of an attorney who runs a coffee shop. There, he can meet with clients, and sell coffee in a relaxed, comfortable setting. Maybe the world IS ready for a cheesemonger lawyer who doesn’t always work in the traditional office! Maybe I can combine everything I’ve done, or maybe it’s wishful thinking.
My, is it late–1am. I can say that I tried very hard to relax and enjoy the moment, but only succeeded in staying on an adrenaline high up until now, and getting sick.
There are many people to thank for helping me along the way up until now. Since they’re scattered, a virtual toast to all of them will have to do for now! Thank you!