October 1, 2008 by Legal Tease
When I popped my BigLaw cherry, I expected it’d hurt. I figured that working in a Big Firm would screw with my social life, my love life, my life life—basically, I assumed that most of my waking moments would be your standard-issue bucket of corporate misery. Christ, was I off the mark. Don’t misunderstand—the effects of Big Firm life do indeed poison all aspects of your waking life, but they don’t stop there. They also infect your dreams. No, not your dreams of a classic six on Park, being the next Marty Lipton or having a foursome with Brangelina and…Marty Lipton, but your actual dream dreams. The ones that happen when you sleep.
Back in the day, I wasn’t a big dreamer. True, I’d wake up from the occasional disturbing dream—flying over Times Square into a ballroom full of mole people, dressing up in a latex bumble bee outfit to have sex with my boss, peeing on myself in public. Still, the dreams were, you know, amusing.
But let’s fast forward to now—to Now, Esq., if you will. Now my brain is so raped with stress-soaked, over-analytical legal crap during its waking hours that it’s turned my dreams from amusing little brain masturbations into Good Times With Sweeney Todd and Friends. Now I have dreams like the one I had last night after a 72-hour marathon closing—the one that dropped me into a pit of self-reflection and a renewed search for better sleeping pills.
The dream starts off with a patina of reality, as all truly twisted dreams do. I’m on an airplane, economy no less, carrying a bag full of stock certificates back from a merger closing. The plane lands and, naturally, I’m suddenly in what appears to be my parents’ summer house, but they’re not around. Instead, my ex-boyfriend, the skinny jobless actor-cum-hipster from Ohio with the good face, soccer legs, and an IQ he could count on one hand—even if he didn’t have any fingers—is there with a few Facebook friends.
In jump cut dream-time, it’s a couple of days later. Even though there’s been no dream-sex (of course) I can tell that we’ve been sleeping together. Despite my waking-world knowledge that the hipster ex is a complete douchetard, my dream alter ego is palpably happy to be with him again. And just to be clear: there’s been no first-hand dream-sex; I’m just sated in the knowledge that we’ve had it. In other words, even in my dreams, I am a pathetic goddamn loser.
Now we’re lounging around the living room. He’s checking his email on my laptop while his friends play Guitar Hero. So peaceful. He’s reading an email and he starts beaming. With no prompting, but in a perfectly dream-sense-making way, one of his friends leans over. “Dude, what, gay stuff?” The hipster ex looks up at me, sweet-faced, eyebrows sliding down the sides of his head in apology. He tells me sorry, he’s gay. Nothing personal. He’s just in love with this guy who lives in Phoenix and sometimes he just “gets on a plane and shows up at his house naked.” Really, nothing personal. Yes, friends, in my dreams—my dreams—I am rejected by losers.
Dream-me starts to get hysterical. One of the friends pauses the Wii and holds up his plastic ax which, in dream-land, apparently also doubles as a whipped cream dispenser. In an attempt to cheer me up, he sprays cherry-flavored whipped cream all over me. “YEAH baby, that’s it! Don’t you feel better?!”
Now, here’s where BigLaw makes an indirect appearance. A few years ago, nonlawyer, all around good-time me would indeed have felt better and likely wrapped this up with a decent dream orgy—I mean, hello, whipped cream, for the love of God—and woken up to either a real-life boy toy in my bed or at least a nice brunch with some gay boys. Instead, present-day, risk-averse Big Firm Associate me ended the dream with a withering “In what universe is that supposed to make me feel better?” followed immediately by a jump cut to me witnessing my mother being mauled by a bear. And then I woke up.
The most upsetting part? Lying afterward in my enormous trophy bed, alone, thinking about the pathetic devolution of my dream life and the day of billable hours that lay ahead of me, I was still looking forward to going to sleep that night. Yes, the highlight of my day was the knowledge that I’d later be unconscious. In only a few years, I’ve morphed from a buoyant, adventurous gal to a paranoid, joyless stiff whose days are so heavy with mind-numbing Big Firm hamster-wheeling that a few unconscious hours of sexual humiliation and bear maulings are preferable to…being awake. That’s a by-product of Big Firm life that funnily enough doesn’t get mentioned during orientation. That one you have to find out for yourself.