New York day 1 - AAJ

I’ve agreed to speak for AAJ in New York.  But it is our firm party the night before.

Both our Hoquiam and Seattle offices are together.  We are on the Top of the WAC.  P.A.R.T.Y!    The Pauls are in their Santa Hats.  Everyone is dressed beautifully with sparkles galore.  We finish dinner and are about to begin the gift exchange.  I lean over to Ed and ask him what time it is.  7:40.  Great.  I have twenty minutes before I need to leave.  The volume is growing.  Numbers are called, people get their gifts but can’t unwrap them.  Then they steal other people’s gifts.  But only two steals for any one gift.  These are Hoquiam’s rules.  Finally the last gift is taken and the unwrapping begins.  I go to see what my paralegal John has gotten and say – what time is it.  He says 8:25.  I about have a cow but no time for that.  I’m supposed to be picking up Alysha at her apartment at 8:30.  This is what happens when I leave my phone in the car.  My phone is my watch.  I sprint out the door, grab my coat, run down five flights of stairs in heels before remembering that I started off at the top of the WAC.  So I leave the stairwell, run down the hall and grab an elevator.  Tick tock.  Run to my car, rush out of the garage and notice that the clock says 8:20.  John must have had his  set forward.  I arrive at my daughter’s at 8:31.  We get to the airport way in advance (I would have rather cut it close but she insisted on getting there early).  And then it is red eye to New York.

I won’t bore you with all the little details.  But generally, the plane’s heater is on overdrive and I can’t keep still.  For five hours.  We land and make our way to the hotel by 7:00.  Amazingly, they have a room ready.  First thing I do is throw myself on the bed.  But only for about two seconds.  I open my computer to see when I’m speaking.  11:00.  This means I need to be down there by 10:00.  Which means, I have three hours to finish my powerpoint, and get dressed and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  I’m asleep.  But not for long.  Order some room service, get ready, and notice that my eyeballs are not white.

Head down the elevator to the third floor.  Am greeted by Anji who is running the CLE and the exhibitors.  Spy fruit on a table.  Go inside the seminar room.  Come back out to get fruit and return.  Jeff is speaking about priest abuse cases.  He filed the first ever case in 1983.  He is very interesting and impassioned.  The room is wider than it is long and he paces back and forth across the stage so he can connect with the audience.  What a worthy cause.  What a tough battle.  Talk about David and Goliath.  How impressive!  And then it’s my turn.

I’m beyond the point of thinking, why did I do the red eye.  The last time I did one, trying to fit everything in, I said I wouldn’t do it again.  Yet here I am.  The last speaker of the morning.  The last speaker of the entire program.   Alysha comes in to watch.  She hasn’t seen me do a full CLE speech in years.  I’m talking about moral messaging in closing argument.  I pace just like Jeff.  It’s either that or exclude the audience.  But pacing on that little stage.  Oh dear.  I’m talking, and working the powerpoint, and I it feels like Ms. Tired is sitting on my bones.    Back and forth I go.  The moderator, Marcus is scooted back in his chair from the table/podium.  I’m pacing behind him because there is no room in front.  About midway through the talk, I feel my heel go right off the back side of the stage platform.  Don’t ask me how I catch myself.  I have no idea.  I wobble a bit but manage to stay on it.   What a close call.  And then I talk and talk and talk until I finish.   I don’t have any idea how much time has passed but I am done.  Only after I sit down do I bother to think – uh, was that a full hour.


The rest of the day passes with Alysha and I alternating between falling asleep and seeing the sights.  We manage to figure out the subway to get to ground zero.  I work out while she takes a nap and then we go to Times Square and Rockefeller Center.  Have an interesting meal at our interesting hotel (The Eventi).   And now of course, we’re both still awake.  Groggy as can be, but waiting for that wonderful moment when we will actually pass out.