Sunday, February 02, 2014

This is How I Vacation

I'm taking my first vacation from work next week (week of February 10). I'm taking vacation now in part because its my birthday on February 11 (and who wants to celebrate in the office), and in part because I didn't take vacation over the holidays because I had volunteered to work on a bunch of cases with filings on or close to New Year's Day. In the immediate term, this means that I have a ton of work to do this week, since I'm trying to get it in under the wire. But nonetheless, it is very exciting -- I'm looking forward to having the week off.

People have asked me "where [I am] going" for my vacation, to which I have answered "my bed." I don't like traveling much to begin with, and in the context of a vacation I view it as basically sacrificing at least a half day if not more for no discernable benefit. I can sleep in and read books in my apartment just fine. Which leads to the second primary way I've prepared for my vacation: buying five books on deliberative democracy, which I will use to help write a new law review article I'm working on.

I haven't mentioned that part of the vacation plan at the office yet, but if I did I'm sure they'd look at me like I'm crazy. "You're taking a vacation from being a lawyer by doing a bunch of legal (or law-related) reading and writing?" This response makes superficial sense, but I honestly can't parse it. I understand why someone might not be interested in doing academic research and writing for fun, but they of all people should know that such work is a far cry from our day-to-day legal work. This is not a postman going for a walk on his day off.

I'm reminded of a story from when I was a summer associate at the firm. I was at some after-work event (I think it was basketball), and I had brought a book to read during the downtime -- a retrospective honoring the career of Iris Marion Young. A well-meaning associate saw me reading the book and said, concerned, "I hope you're not working tonight!" Now, of course, he was absolutely right that a summer associate should not have to be working through a Friday night after-work firm event -- that's the whole point of being a summer! And I told him no, this book was just for pleasure. But I wanted to say "buddy, if there's a practice group here where I might plausibly be reading books on contemporary feminist theory and democratic practice for work, by all means direct me to them right now because I need to get on that train."

In any event, writing is how I relax. Reading is how I relax. Firm life gives a lot of opportunities to read and write, of course, but not always in the forms and topics one might like. So for my vacation, I'm going to read what I want to read and write what I want to write, and I assure you I will enjoy the break thoroughly.

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