I had my first bar-related nightmare of the season last night.
I was taking the bar in my parents' basement with Diego, a friend from my high school Drumline, someone I grew up with, and three nameless strangers. For the record, Diego was wearing his barrister wig. My mom and all the ladies from church growing up were also there, acting as proctors.
As I stared at the criminal procedure essay question, thinking, "This is a cut-and-dried case of evidence being suppressed because of illegal search and seizure," I couldn't make my fingers type. Instead, all they wanted to type about how it was racist to name the defendant in the hypothetical "Mendoza" and the cop "O'Reilly."
Then the second page of my answers disappeared. I don't know how, but I remember all the other test-takers in the dream advising me to hurry, go find it, don't bother retyping, so I jumped up and started searching for my missing page. (Under my bed, as it turns out.)
Then, as I returned, to laboriously type the words, The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Evidence collected in a manner that violates this prohibition ... my mother started telling me a story.
Now, here's the thing. I love my mom. But she, like many people, has trouble with how to deal with me when I'm stressed. (Either because my dad also did the professional-standard-exam-thing once upon a time, or simply because our personalities are more similar, he does not have this quirk.) When I'm thinking, "Oh no, oh no! I can't find the gift card I purchased for so-and-so's wedding!*" my mom is the person who starts telling you the stuff that even five year olds knew was unhelpful: It's always the last place you put it. (And if I remembered where that was, I would have it right now.) Retrace your steps. (Um, obviously, still missing the last step. Hence the gift card being lost.)
And when I studied for the Texas Bar last summer at my parents' house, my dad knew to leave me alone, or occasionally pop in to ask me if I wanted to run to the gas station with him for a fountain Diet Coke. My mom, on the other hand, would pop in A LOT, asking me if I wanted to take a break.
There's a sale at Macy's.
Your brother Alpha was supposed to read a book over the seventh grade summer, will you make sure he did it? Kids listen to their peers more than their parents, you know. (Yeah Mom, but I'm not Alpha's peer. I'm his sister. I'm his sister who is twelve years older than him and will watch South Park with him, he's not going to take scholastic advice from me.)
I made dinner, do you want some? (Despite the phrasing, this is not a request.)
My personal favorite: You need a break, will you vacuum the living room for me?
In addition to frequently asking me to take breaks that I do not want to take, or breaks that are not breaks but manual labor, my mom will also want to come tell me stories. Everyone in our family likes telling stories. Charlie is the best at it, his stories are always hilarious. Echo and my dad are also pretty good. (I'm better on paper, as Echo frequently-snottily reminds me.) Alpha seems to have not yet chosen a story telling style.
But even though we're pro-story-telling, study time is not story time. Even Charlie, with his oh-so-hilarious tales of wonder and woe, better back the hell off when I'm studying.
However, my mom does not obey this rule. Perhaps it's her mistaken belief that I need a break, and though I have now begun refusing to vacuum the living room, she will provide me with a break via her tale of the funny thing Alpha's chickens did today. Of course, having a tendency to go off to Tangent Land, a story about chickens may suddenly transition into a story about Grandpa's diabetes. Also not as interesting as one might think.
And as I sat, in dream world, trying to explain the exclusionary rule with fingers that only wanted to type about racism, my mom launched into a story that I knew dream-instinctively would be ennnnnnndlessssssss. And so I began to yell, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP, for the love of all the angels in heaven, CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TAKING THE BAR?!?!?!
At which point all the women from church -- Sunday School teachers, Young Women's leaders -- frowned at me disapprovingly.
Ahhh, I knew you ladies were here for a reason.
* This has happened twice now, and incidentally, to people who may or may not read this blog. Don't worry dear friends, I bought you new gift cards yesterday and will be mailing them shortly. Miss Manners assures me I have up to a year to deliver said wedding gift, but I will only take eight months for one couple and a month for the second. Because I'm classy like that.