The other night, we watched the first three episodes of Outlander. Alex, who is so smitten with the fashion and the cars of the 1940s, was visibly excited at first. But after the protagonist travelled back to the 1700s, she lost interest.
“I don’t like that era,” she said.
“Why?” I asked, “because there were no bathrooms back then?”
I understood. I love the idea of the possibility of being transported to another time. If Alex loves the 1940s, I love the 1920s and the 1950s. Big cars, glamorous clothes… But beyond that, what’s there to love? Back then, society was repressive to women. Not that it isn’t anymore today but between then and now, there’s a huge difference. Besides, I love the computer age. Even if it were possible to go back in time and be 16 again, I wouldn’t, because when I was 16, there was no internet.
So, yes, I love the present. I love the technology and what it makes possible. I like having a blog which gives me the freedom to publish just about anything for the world to read and see.
I do admit though that despite all the technological advances, computers will never be able to replace the human brain. Take Facebook, for instance. For the longest time, it keeps asking what I studied in law school. Gee, it doesn’t take a PhD to figure that out. But Facebook’s super duper advanced algorithm can’t. I posted that very same screen grab on my Facebook timeline and joked that I studied Medicine in law school. A friend and fellow lawyer suggested that I studied cooking there.
That happened several weeks ago. I was just reminded of it when, yesterday, I stepped out into the garden to snip a few stalks of lemongrass for two chicken dishes and a cold drink that I was preparing. How long ago it’s been since I did any lawyering professionally. Although in my gut, I will always be a lawyer (argumentative, contentious, opinionated), there’s a difference because I don’t do a lawyer’s work to earn a living. Not anymore. Not in a very, very long time.
Having cut off some half a dozen stalks of lemongrass, I stood up and a little to my left, I saw tiny round seed-like things growing on the stalks of the alugbati. What were they? I had never seen them before. But then again, the last time I checked the alugbati, it wasn’t quite as mature as it is now. If they taught cooking in law school, I wondered with a wry smile whether I’d know what the little bumps were instead of feeling bewildered.
How amusing. If I had not turned my back on law practice, at 3.00 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon, I’d probably be in conference with a client or have my head buried in pleadings. Instead, I was out there in the garden harvesting lemongrass. If my father hadn’t been cremated, he’d probably be turning in his grave.
Recalling that Speedy told me the day before that the cherry tomatoes were bearing fruits profusely, I walked to the opposite side of the garden to check them out. Just as Speedy said. And more. I made a mental note of the number of branches weighed down with fruits and how many fruits there were in each cluster on the average. We’ll have enough for a salad over the weekend.
Did I learn to make ingredients calculation that fast in law school? In a way, yes. Making the calculation was an analytical exercise, after all, and that is a skill that’s pounded into the head of every law student.
So, my friend might be right. Maybe I did learn cooking in law school.