Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Yesterday was my first day in chambers completely by myself. No judge, no administrative assistant, no intern. I felt like a kid home alone for the first time. And what happens? Of course the power goes out. FOR FOUR HOURS.

Yesterday once again reminded how absolutely dependent we are on electricity. I had flashbacks to last year, during the California fires and power outages, when I would be sitting in my apartment reading with a flashlight and eating cheerios because I could not warm anything up for dinner.

This time, I was sitting there on a Monday morning with no coffee (only 2 drops had made it out of the coffeepot by the time the power went out), with no light (thank goodness my office has windows), and no way to do work. While our computers may be old and the software may look like it comes from the 80s, we do do everything in the courthouse on computers thanks to electronic filing. It is great 98% of the time-- the other 2% being when you come in early to get work done, like I did yesterday, only to be completely denied. No writing orders, no reviewing briefs, no preparing cases. All because some little current could not make it to my computer.

So what does a girl do for four hours while she waits for the power to come back on?
- do all the filing that I have been putting off for weeks
- read correspondence from prisoners regarding their sentences
- walk down 5 stories because the escalators are broken, only to find out that the court coffeehouse does not have power either
- be jumpy when someone knocks on the door because I have been reading too many of those prison letters by myself in the dim and quiet chambers (it was just another judge)
- pace around the office so I do not fall asleep due to the lack of caffeine and the lack of light

In other words, I basically went crazy with nothing to do. I almost considered reading random caselaw from the books off my shelf, I was that bored. I could not even imagine how prison feels.

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