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Everyone’s got baggage

“You gotta grow a thick skin pretty fast in this line a work,” he said.

I turned around and there stood a police officer leaning on the door to the liaison’s office where my showdown with seersucker ensued. He stood 5’ 11″, had white hair and looked like a 55 year-old version of Guile from Street Fighter.

“I know. I’m getting that feeling,” I said. Being confrontational did not come naturally to me.

“Uh huh. So, you going out of town? That thing is bigger than you,” he chuckled as he pointed at my suitcase.

I was being mocked by a cop. Fantastic.

In my attempt to be overly-prepared for court, I wheeled around a suitcase with my criminal and traffic annotated codes along with my battle books with helpful case law.

Most female prosecutors used carry-on-sized luggage for their books. I topped it with a suitcase that was three times that size and something that I certainly wouldn’t be able to stow in the overhead compartment on an airplane.

No, this was something I’d have to check in and most certainly be charged for exceeding the maximum weight limit. But it was my security blanket.

“We’ll it’s just got my books and stuff in there,” I said, faking a smile as I walked down the hallway to exit the courthouse.

As I dragged my suitcase out, it made thuds down the steps outside. It alerted passersby who thought I tripped and fell.

I reflected on the contentiousness involved in this adversarial process and began to miss my time clerking. Everyone was nice to me then. I knew the pleasantries that were afforded by the protections of the robe, and I knew I was being naïve to think collegiality among all members of the bar was an absolute, but I basked in that glow for a year-and-a-half and grew accustomed to it.

Workdays started at 9 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m. Now I was working law firm hours for government pay. As a clerk, I played a role in the judge’s decision-making process without taking the responsibility of any backlash that a decision would create. Now I shouldered the fear of letting violent offenders free to possibly recidivate.

While I was often told that being a prosecutor meant being one of the most powerful people in this country, I felt insignificant. I looked at the more senior district court ASAs with envy. How I wanted to have their confidence and wealth of knowledge right now.

I needed someone to talk to and someone I could confide in. Fortunately for me, that person couldn’t have come at a better time.

One comment

  1. you’re welcome.