Emmett is the cat who, whenever anyone gets near the front door, immediately rushes over and begins singing the song of his people, demanding to be LET OUT. He bum rushes whenever the door is even slightly cracked and jumps on people coming in and has slipped past our security protocols more than once. The big wide world is fascinating to him and I always feel slightly sad that our belief systems diverge so dramatically on this point – I don’t let my cats out. It is too dangerous out there for them, and for the songbird populations. But I can’t imagine living an entire life inside the same house. Emmett is smart and easily bored and so Miss L and I determined that a compromise could be reached.
We procured him a tiny harness and leash (note the skull and crossbones). And despite the cold weather lately, Emmett has been learning how to navigate with us.
We don’t stray far, sticking close to the house.
Emmett has adjusted quickly, but he still doesn’t like cold wet paws, or walking on ice. And he doesn’t walk like a dog would walk – he basically roams and explores and sniffs a lot and we just hold the leash and ensure that he stays out of trouble. One of Miss L’s lunch ladies apparently drove by and saw us out walking the cat, and it spread around her lunchroom pretty quickly. The neighbors are completely nonplussed and we get some pretty strange looks when we are out with him.
It doesn’t bother us.
In other news, I completed my 40 hours of court approved general civil mediation training yesterday. I was the only non-lawyer in the class of 30 (except for a handful of University of Michigan 3Ls) and one of my classmates was a circuit court judge. Most everyone had either attended a mediation or an arbitration, and in many cases, had actually conducted them. I worked really hard to keep up, and prepped hard for all of the role plays. I typically detest role playing in a training class but these were exceptionally good and everyone took their role playing very seriously (one of my classmates even wept when she took on the role of a plaintiff in a med mal case who had lost her leg in a botched surgery). My classmates were wonderful and I had a couple of proud moments – the first when one of my classmates announced to the assembled class, “She just proved to me that you don’t need to be a lawyer to be good at this!” and one during my final exam mediation when the well-respected personal injury attorney who was observing me said, “I KNOW this isn’t your first mediation!” (It was.)
One of the 3L’s messed me up during my final exam mediation and I wasn’t happy about it, because we all tried to support each other and help each other succeed in front of the outside coaches and observers, on that last critical day. But I tried to gamely fight through it and ended up mediating the dispute to an inelegant settlement, which was vastly more than I’d hoped for.
I am now at the stage in which, if I were going to pursue it, I would volunteer at a dispute resolution center and observe a mediation, then conduct a couple on my own. Once I complete those steps, I could be added to the court rosters of any Michigan county – you don’t have to be a lawyer to be a court rostered mediator in this state. I’m just not sure I want to take those steps. It’s a nice opportunity, if I pursued it gamely, but it’s also a huge responsibility. And on top of my full time paid job and Miss L, I’m not sure I have room for a third major commitment. But I haven’t finished noodling it.
Whenever I write that I am in ‘mediation’ training, in emails or on social media, someone invariably misreads it and thinks I am in ‘meditation’ training. Which is funny because I recently started meditating again, in short increments a few times a week. During the training, the topic of stress came up, and one of my classmates was put on the spot to discuss how he dealt with it. This particular classmate was pretty scruffy looking and when everyone else was in suits, he wore jeans and rumpled blazers and pilled sweaters. Yet he had an undeniable aura of calm, focus, and serenity – it literally radiated when he spoke. So when he said that he meditated, it honestly didn’t surprise me at all. I talked to him after the class and he said he’s been meditating for ten years and it has literally changed his life. He lost forty pounds and was able to stop taking a blood pressure medication based solely on the positive influence of meditation. He goes to a retreat or a seminar once a year, and meditates for thirty minutes a day, every day. And this is a litigator with a successful practice, a marriage, and five children. Clearly, if he can fit it in, I can, as well.
Besides, I have the advantage of an excellent role model.