As lawyers we sold our time. We made no other product, we had no other purpose. My day was carved up into tiny slices—tenths of an hour. Want a piece of me? You can have it in six-minute increments, rounded up.
And at the end of each day, I tallied it up. Client number 1: three point eight hours. Client number two: four point one. Client number three: zero point two. And so on. It all added up to one thing: me. My job. My day. My life.
Dehumanizing? I tried not to think about it. If I had, I might have felt like this guy:
The Race takes place in Wisconsin. One of its recurring themes is the loneliness and solitude of strivers trapped in out-of-the-way places. Although they live – and thrive – in a flyover state, both the Governor and his wife have national aspirations. The Governor has a transatlantic affair. His wife goes to the national media to get her side of the story out. The center does not hold.
It’s a story that appeals to me, for the sex and intrigue but also the struggle to overcome provincial origins. I was told once that living in the Midwest means learning to live within limits. These people did not learn.
What happened in France – recounted by Evgenia Peretz in a fascinating Vanity Fair article from December 2012 – is different. These were sophisticated people, living in a sophisticated city, living sophisticated lives.
And yet… things are recognizably the same.
Politics, like parenting and death, is a great leveler of differences. You could travel across time, continents, political systems and find the same basic elements: power, ambition, and human frailty. It seems that no matter what the particular landscape is, the political roads are all alike.