Tuesday, June 28, 2005

F(*% F*#& F*%&!!!

THIS is why being child prodigy is just not worth it.

I have a law degree. I'm a freakin' DOCTOR. And yet, the random, irrelevant, unimportant fact that I was born in 1981 means I can't rent a car. This is horrifically inconvenient given that I have purchased tickets for two -- count 'em, TWO -- separate trips to Los Angeles in the upcoming month -- one to find a place to live and one to take the California Bar exam. And yet the magical number 25 remains frustratingly and, in my case, harmfully elusive. Why 25? Because car rental companies are run by idiots who like to set arbitrary standards. They must have been government bureaucrats in a past life. Avis, for instance, according to the woman I spoke with over the phone today, has a strict 25-and-over policy -- oh, unless you have a corporate account (um, because so many 23-year-olds run their own corporations, I suppose) or work for the federal government or the military. So, a young lawyer cannot rent a car from Avis, but some snot-nosed military brat out of Peterson can. I'm not impugning our military, just so that's clear. I just happen to know a lot of people in the military and I'm more mature and a WAY better driver than, oh, almost ALL of them (I grew up in a military town. I know what I'm talking about).

A few companies allow rentals even for those of us so presumptively incompetent as to defy a finding of sentience. In keeping with the age discrimination of their competitors, however, they charge anywhere from twenty to seventy dollars extra PER DAY to use their cars if you're a week shy of that magical age. And at least one of these companies is completely rented out for the time that I need a car. Grrrrreat.

Oh, but silly me. It is awfully demanding to presume that the fact that I've stuck to my guns, worked my ass off to churn out two highly respectable degrees -- with good grades, to boot -- in just seven years, the fact that I pay all my bills on time, the fact that I've never been in so much as a fender-bender, the fact that I have a high-paying job lined up, the fact that I apparently manage to disguise myself as an otherwise fully-functioning (indeed, productive) member of society doesn't count for anything, as far as these rental agencies are concerned. Because my parents didn't have unprotected sex early enough.

Yeah, I went there.


At June 28, 2005 at 6:04 PM, Blogger G. said...

If you want to be mad at someone, it should be the insurance companies, because they charge really high rates for young drivers -- that's the main reason car rental places won't rent to people under 25. They get cheaper insurance if they just refuse to rent to anyone under 25.

At June 28, 2005 at 6:25 PM, Blogger Micah said...

I remember turning 25. My friends and family said, "you can rent a car now!" Whoop-de-freakin'-do. Almost five years later and I've still never rented a car (not that I haven't traveled - just haven't needed one). Anyway, now you know how Doogie Howser felt.

BTW, I've been meaning to ask you at what age you graduated high school/college. I knew you were a young 'un. Did you just load up on AP courses or something?

At June 28, 2005 at 7:59 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

GG - I never did like insurance companies. I'd heard the under-25 thing tons of times in the past, but had renewed hope after hearing stories of friends having no problems. The lesson from all this, as Homer Simpson would counsel, is never hope.

Micah - Just like Doogie -- except I bet his dad actually called him "doctor" ;) I'm not even all that young -- finished HS at 16, college at 20 (incidentally, I've suffered numerous other indignities at the hands of the age nazis, as when I was the only freshman in college who was too young to vote, and the only senior who was too young to drink). Birthday's in less than a month, and the other year is from a skipped grade in high school. Nothing very glamorous or sexy, to the point that at times like this I almost ask myself: was it worth it?

Hey, at least if I ever find a man who can handle my brilliance, odd sense of humor and rabid feminism, I'll have that extra year to start poppin' out the kiddies before I have to drop my career.

At June 29, 2005 at 8:19 AM, Blogger Micah said...

That's the spirit!

At July 1, 2005 at 6:04 AM, Anonymous ED said...

Wow. This is why lawyers get a bad reputation. You speak of "snot-nosed military" brats, but have you ever stopped to think of how you sound? The daughter of a doctor, who father appears to be egotistical enough to be (maybe humorously) upset that a non-M.D. would call themselves "doctor" (does this view apply to other Ph.D. programs such as clinical psychology?), is upset because she can't rent a car. It would be OK to be upset that there is a seemingly arbitrary age limit of 25 (which the insurance companies have plenty of statistics to support using - and no, I do not work for an insurance company), but instead of focusing on that, you imply that a lawyer should be considered better than the average joe and get special waiver of the age limit. This elitist B.S. is terrible. People with corporate accounts generally have additional policies that will cover damage, and I would assume so would the federal government/military.

Now, I realize much of your statement is tongue in cheek, but the air of snobbery is too thick to cut through.

While you may have been a prodigy, maybe you should have gotten a real job upon attaining your undergrad and lived in the real world for a bit. Maybe then this car rental think won't seem so important.

Maybe I am just jealous. I didn't have a DR dad who could help foot my bill through law school (or undergrad). I am paying for it all myself. Maybe your parents didn't help you either.

My parents are not so highly educated (one is a JR High teacher who has her masters in education, the other has a teaching and business degree) as to scorn me for my going to law school. Rather, they are very proud so I may not have a chip on my shoulder.

Still, before lawyers throw out the "don't you know that I'm a lawyer" shtick, maybe they should just think that they are just another person and should abide by the norms of society.

Not everything is a worthy cause (actually, very few are).

At July 1, 2005 at 6:52 AM, Anonymous ED said...

No response; just a delete?

At July 1, 2005 at 6:59 AM, Anonymous ED said...

Oops, I guess it is still there. My browser must not have refreshed properly...sorry.

At July 1, 2005 at 6:59 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Hi Ed,

Wow! My first negative comment. Interesting.

I get that I may sound snobby sometimes -- and I guess I can be that way a little bit, but not in the way you think (not your fault, I suppose, since you don't know me). I don't think I'm a bad person; I'm just a product of my experiences, the same as you or anyone else, and I therefore have my attendant perspectives and biases. A lot of the joking about my dad is, as you suspect, tongue in cheek. Even though he hates lawyers probably even more than you do, if that's possible, he's incredibly proud of me -- as he would be if I'd decided to get a Ph.D., or to try and find a job straight out of college or high school. I'm just happy that I have the kind of relationship with my parents where we can engage in a lot of good-hearted ribbing like this. I don't think it's at all fair of you to suggest that the fact that my father and I both have advanced degrees makes us inherently less qualified to remark on what we see as problems in the world. Again, just like you, we're just people with our own points of view.

In case you missed it, the point of my post WAS that 25 is an arbitrary age. The military comment was a reference to the fact that these companies apparently have no problems making exceptions in some areas where, arguably, it makes less sense to make such exceptions than it does to make exceptions in other areas. The military thing in particular bothered me because, having grown up in a military town, I've known (and been friends with!) plenty of military personnel who strike me as terrible choices for this extraordinary trust. I wouldn't trust some of them with my own car if I'd broken my arm and needed to be driven to the hospital. On the other hand, I WOULD trust numerous of my under-25 classmates. Thus, I was pointing out a specific example to criticize the arbitrary nature of the restriction -- this is a technique I learned BEFORE law school, in case you wanted to accuse me of yet more elitism for alluding to my point rather than coming right out and saying "this is the precise point that I am trying to make with this statement."

I'm sorry you took my statements to mean that I think I'm better than other people, because I don't. Obviously having an advanced degree doesn't make me better than anyone else. It does, however, signal to insurance companies and the like that I have a certain level of responsibility and maturity that you may have to look harder to find in someone who doesn't have an advanced degree. That doesn't mean they AREN'T more mature -- I'm just suggesting that a doctorate degree might be a good proxy for reliability. Why? Because I have one hell of a lot to lose if I fuck up. I've invested tons of money (not my dad's, btw, in case you were wondering) and tons of time (again, all my own -- which I could have spent making money with a "real job," since apparently going to class, studying and working my ass off all hours of the day without pay while I rack up huge amounts of debt for which I am personally liable isn't "real" enough for you) in my degree, all in the HOPE that it might pay off some day. Not everyone wants to forego present benefit for the possibility of future benefit. That's their prerogative. It doesn't make them better than me, and it doesn't make me better than them.

Also, in case you missed the general tone of my blog, which I try to make convey my personality (though I get that this is a lot harder to do when you're just writing, when you can't see my facial expressions, etc., and when you haven't known me long enough to understand some of the vaguely "inside" jokes I have with some of my friends who read my blog), I'm not actually a child prodigy, nor am I as deluded as to think myself one. I've had a fair number of people refer to me as such, because I skipped a grade in high school and, since my birthday's in the summer, that means I graduated from high school when I was 16 and college when I was 20. Most people are two "years" older for these events (though it's actually only a difference of one year in real terms), so it SOUNDS like a big deal when you put it this way -- thus, the running joke with some of my friends. There's nothing actually special about me, except that I'm a bit younger than most people at my stage in life, meaning I'm subject to a greater degree of discrimination that really just isn't warranted, and that pisses me off sometimes.

You may not think this is something worth complaining about, Ed, but this is MY blog. It's about ME. It's not about other people, it's not about politics, and it's not about world peace. It's about what I feel like writing about at that particular moment in time. When I wrote this post, I felt like writing about how ridiculous it is that I'm more defined, for certain privileges, by a meaningless number over which I have no control than I am over the sum of experiences I've had in my life. In my mind, it's ridiculous -- and I think it's ridiculous as applied to everyone, not just me. If you knew me, which you don't, you would know that I despise arbitrary standards and bureaucracy *wherever* they rear their ugly heads. It just so happened that on this particular occasion it inconvenienced me, which inspired me to write about it. I think most writers write what they know, and I don't fault myself for following suit. You're free to disagree. You're also free not to read "snobby" and "elitist" blogs that make your stomach turn, or make you jealous, or whatever the hell your problem with me is.

Have a nice day and thanks for stopping by.

At July 1, 2005 at 7:41 AM, Anonymous ED said...

One note - I don't hate lawyers; I am in law school right now and I am far from a self-hating law school student.

It is your blog and I don't have to read it. I don't know you and I won't get any inside jokes.

My main point was that people already look at lawyers with a jaundiced eye and, in my opinion, we should try and not add more fuel to the fire. I doubt too many people are going to stumble onto your blog who will be looking for such fuel. However, it is the everyday interactions that can and the mindset that was expressed in that post could be taken poorly by John Q. Public.

I stumbled on to your blog via Sua Sponte while researching transfer information. I doubt many people would do the same and many of those who do may echo your opinion.

Just remeber when you have a blog - Griffis v. Lubans (Minn 2002).

At July 3, 2005 at 12:51 AM, Blogger Roonie said...

So...why'd you skip a grade? My dad likes to tell people that I skipped a grade, but really I just started school when I was 4. I took a year off after college (and I wish I'd taken more), so I'm kinda right where I belong now.

At July 5, 2005 at 5:21 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

I had bulked up on some high school level courses in junior high, and by the time I was in 11th grade I didn't really need to take a full year to finish up, so I took a few extra courses and finished that year instead of the next.

Starting at four is kind of like skipping a grade -- you skipped preschool, anyway :)

At July 5, 2005 at 9:31 PM, Blogger Tanton said...

You know, when I first read this post I thought it was funny. I don't want people to refer to me as "doctor" even when I teach a class, because I think it's kind of silly. Imagining your dad snarling at you was quite humorous. But, after reading Ed's rant, I have to agree you're snobby and give lawyers a bad name. Thanks Ed for twisting her words enough to where I could see the light ;-)

At July 7, 2005 at 10:20 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

tanton, just imagine if you'd met me for real. My friends can't stand me. They only pretend to like me for my incredible good looks and gobs of money.

At October 4, 2005 at 12:14 AM, Blogger kalisekj said...

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At October 6, 2005 at 3:09 AM, Blogger Lexie said...

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