Friday, July 9, 2010

The California Bar Exam, Part 3

(Monday, The Exam. Tuesday, Epilogue)

The earliest we could see the pediatric neurosurgeon was the first day of the bar exam. Without even asking my opinion (thankfully), my then-husband told me that I should still take the bar exam as planned because my being at the neurosurgeon wasn't going to change anything he might have to tell us that day.

Somehow, I managed to keep it together. I had yet to mourn my mom, my son was being evaluated for a deformity in his skull which could impact the growth of his brain, and my then-husband told me that he refused to talk to me (literally would not talk to me) because he was afraid that I was going to beg him to go back to Texas. A breakdown was in due order, but it was going to have to wait until after the bar.

I had heard that the bar graders were merely looking for key words, so I had my key words committed to memory. I have a photographic memory, so I could picture the words on the pages. I'm not sure that what I learned necessarily made any sense, or that I would actually be able to use all those legal concepts I was reviewing, but I could spit out hundreds upon hundreds of key words on cue.

I flew into San Jose and then drove to San Mateo. That was really the first time I truly felt the absence of my mom. She would have been on pins and needles waiting for me to call and tell her that I had made it to the hotel okay. But as it was, there was nobody that needed me to call them to tell them that I had arrived. My heart was incredibly heavy as I checked in at the front desk until the clerk told me that I had a delivery. My aunt had sent me some flowers.

The hotel and the diner where I was staying were left over from the 50s, untouched by any decor renovations. It was awesome. [It is now a retirement home, but the picture above is of the pool.]

I decided to review my notes out by the pool - except that everyone else staying at the hotel was also taking the bar exam and was out by the pool. I expected frenzied conversations and palpable stress around the pool, but that wasn't the case at all. Many of the people knew each other and they were just hanging around being mellow, swimming. This (1) stressed me out - either they were way more prepared than I was, or they were part of the 50% that was not going to pass, and (2) made me realize how much I love California.

Later, I moved to the diner attached to the motel. I had the place to myself - at least free of other test takers. There were some locals, and a kind waitress with a red hair beehive (also the real thing, straight from the 50s). The waitress asked me if I was taking the bar. I told her that I was, and she said, "Good for you girl." That made my day - a sort of sister solidarity thing.

Later that evening, I went on a search for Power Bars to take to the bar exam for lunch, read over my notes one last time, drove to the convention center so that I knew where I was going, and double checked the alarm clock. Tomorrow was the big day - my son was going to the pediatric neurosurgeon and it was the first day of the California bar exam.

1 comment:

  1. Then-Husband making you take exam anyway = +1
    Then-Husband not speaking to you = -1
    Flower Sending Aunt = +LOTS

    I don't think I can wait until Tuesday to finish this story! I at least know your son was okay though, so that's good.