On my second visit to Madrid last week, I wandered the streets at night with Andrew, my half-Castillian, half-American friend. We passed a guy named Alejandro, who works in the hotel at which I stayed, Hotel Regente. He called to me in English as we passed each other on the street. He is 24, good-looking, and other-team, but gregarious, platonic, friendly behavior between males is normal here, which contrasts with most (but not all) of my experiences with American males.

I stayed out with Alejandro and his compañeros until 3 AM, but I ran out of energy then, just as they were ready to begin their night of partying . . . on a Sunday. (I feel SO not-cool-enough sometimes here in Spain).

Anyway, in almost cliché form, we got to talking about the weather. And in almost-even-more-cliché form, I said,

Well, you know, I've heard that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain
which Alejandro had already heard before, so he interrupted me to finish my sentence for me. So I asked him if he knew what it meant (because he speaks only a little bit of English), and he replied with this:
Quiere decir que la lluvia se queda normalmente en los aviones, y por eso, casi nunca hay lluvia en España, ¿no?


It means that the rain in Spain usually stays on airplanes [overhead], and that's why it rarely rains in Spain, right?
to which, after several minutes of laughing, and wondering just how goofy he takes the British to be (as he learned the expression from his British customers at the Regente), I explained to him that, no, it's plain, not plane, ya goofball.

Let's preface this with this: Too many people are looking for their soulmate-career, the job that will give them a personal mission, define them as a human being, and make them happy for the rest of their life. I say that's bullshit and a half.

My job will NOT be my vocation. Simply put, I hate the kind of work that pays, but I like traveling, good food, and warmth. So I've become a big girl chasing a career. It will not be my truelove-passion. My job will finance trips to Greece. It will allow me to buy stinky cheese and wool coats.

I want to have what I need and not worry about money, and I chose law because it matches my aptitudes nearly perfectly. I could do the work well. It would not bore me. But I worry about other aspects of the profession.

Will being a lawyer make me a bad person? My friends make jokes already; I contemplate it all seriously.

Here's the meat of it: My friend Bill says it's weird being around his dad and his dad's lawyer friends. Every time Bill goes out with his dad, they bump into someone Bill's dad knows and talk for a long time. The person will seem very nice, and Bill will like him or her.

When they part ways, Bill's dad cheerfully says, "The guy stole $30,000." Bill's dad got the guy off on a technicality.

Bill says that a lot of lawyers get into "the game" of winning; the moral issues become ambiguous or disappear. They get off on using their smarts to manipulate the system; they gloat about their victories. Getting a sex offender off on a technicality isn't a travesty of justice. It's fun.

I could never be a criminal lawyer because I know that I would get into the game. I'd enjoy playing with loopholes and technicalities and outsmarting other people. I'd be damn good at it. I'd love it.

I'd only think about it at night when I was half asleep, in that floating place that isn't quite real. I would hate myself then.

This is why I want to do something benign and a little dull, like estate planning. I wouldn't be in bed with the devil; I could respect myself the next morning.

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