Thursday, October 28, 2010

My New (Hilton) BFF

For 26 days now, although it feels much much longer, I've been literally living at the Millennium Hilton. It's directly across from ground zero and after 2 or 3 days, I basically got used to the sound of the constant construction across the street. It never stops. And I mean never. 24 hours a day there are pylon drivers, and jackhammers and all manner of insanely loud construction equipment running. There is traffic and road work and all the rest too. But at this point, its almost soothing -- the constancy of it; the feeling of progress -- since I've been here, I watched them add several stories to the Freedom Tower. I've also witnessed some amazing sunsets from our "war room" perch up on the 55th floor overlooking the Hudson. Because not only do I live here now, I work here too -- all thanks to the inability of two billionaire companies to settle their disagreements. Well, its not quite that simple, but still.

So here's the deal: my firm has had the entire top floor of this place, which is usually the first class suites for the ultra fancy and super rich, turned into a series of "war rooms." (for you non-lawyers -- a war room is really just a room where lawyers can work together to prepare for trial or some other deal). I've spent no less than 15 hours a day in the war room. Usually considerably more than that. I've never spent more than 8 hours in a row in my room, usually considerably less. And fuck, in 26 days, I've spent a sum total of maybe 8 hours out of doors. I eat my meals here. All of them. If I work out, I do it in the hotel's gym. A laundry services picks up & drops off our laundry. There is nothing you need that can't be delivered. I go outside only to get Starbucks (when we run out of coffee in the war room) or to pick up more snacks from the bodega around the corner. It's utterly miserable.

But it actually gets worse....

Because you see, while I usually like the company of the people I work with, most of them are actually cool fun people, a few weeks ago the powers that be sent us an extra pair of hands in the from of a new associate. The First Year. By the end of his first day, we thought he was a little odd. By the end of day three, we decided he must have some sort of mental condition. And by day 5, we wanted either to kill him or kill ourselves so that we wouldn't have to spend another minute more with him. The odd things he does are just too numerous and mind-numbingly irritating to list here, but here's just a few.

(1) He paces. Constantly. As if under some immeasurable pressure. But I mentioned he's new right? He's here to be a glorified paralegal. There is nothing for him to be stressed about. The most difficult task he's been given so far is print about 40 case opinions from the internet and put them in a binder in alphabetical order. It took him 10 hours. Mostly because he was pacing for 6 of them. That and he appeared to have forgotten the alphabet.

(2) He breathes loudly. Like seriously loudly. Like so loudly that I have to wear headphones and turn my ipod way the hell up so as not to hear it. It sounds like the sound people make when they come up from being under water a little too long. A long, heavy exhalation. Except he's not underwater. It's like he's forgetting how to breath. Which is not all that unbelievable since he apparently forgot the alphabet.

(3) He twirls his sideburns. Often while pacing.

(4) He's a fucking know it all. Remember how I said he was sent to us a few weeks ago? And how he's a new? Well, the rest of us have been on this case for more than a year now. Have lost our summers to depositions in London. Have given up weekends to endless investigation into the facts. Well, apparently, newbie here is so fucking brilliant that he was able to master the case in two days. Or at least that's how it would seem since he constantly has to throw his two cents into every fucking conversation we have. And its not limited to shop talk. He knows everything about everything. When he tried to tell me about italian cooking though, I had to pull out the bitch and shut him the hell up.

(5) He hovers. And copies. For example, for the first couple of weeks, I would get up from my work area and go across the room to the "snack table" to get a snack. We have all sorts of snacks here. Lawyers who work around the clock need nourishment form of junk food. That's just how it works. Except in my case, my snacks are gluten free. They're special. And oftentimes not as good as regular snacks. I dream of mint milano cookies. But I digress....I go over to the snack table, I choose my snack, and before I can turn around to go back to my work station, there he is, right fucking behind me. And while he could eat anything he wants, he doesn't. He chooses whatever snack I choose. WHATEVER SNACK I CHOOSE. Like he wants to be my new BFF or something. I even purposely bought some of the most vile GF foods out there, and forced myself to eat them, just as a test, and lo and behold, if I ate it, he'd eat it. It's actually a little disturbing. I eventually bought my own snacks and kept them right next to me to dissuade his freakish behavior. He's since latched on to a colleague. She's vegan. So apparently now he is too.

So there you have it -- as if it wasn't bad enough that we have to give up our entire lives for this thankless fucking job for more than a month (we've been here 26 days and have at least 10 more to go), we have to deal with The First Year. Who we've nicknamed FS. Because we need to be able to talk about him while he's around so as not to go utterly out of our minds batshit crazy. And FreakShow would just be too rude.

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