Ruthless competition at the readers' bar ... Emptiness and despair ... Funds dry up ... Then, as if by magic, a crumb falls from the table and everything is brilliant ... Junior Junior on how January turned into February
January is a particularly obnoxious month for bar readers.
I rushed back from as short a break as possible, partly to retain my sanity, but also to be able to catch any juicy urgent injunction that might come through chambers.
Yet, I discovered there were no new briefs, no new cheques and worst, no one else actually in chambers.
Being left alone with ones thoughts is a sure-fire way to end up before the Mental Health Tribunal on a regular, non-professional basis.
I now understand why readers' rooms don't have windows. The attraction of jumping out of them increases exponentially when left with one's dangerous thoughts, and nothing else.
Fortunately, I am not the only reader in a tiny room using Facebook to lie about how busy I am.
It means that there are plenty of people to meet for coffee, but since we cannot afford coffee, "going for coffee" actually means hanging out in my friend's chambers' kitchen and drinking the free instant stuff or nicking a Lipton tea bag and sipping from his posh colleague's Royal Doulton tea cups.
Nevertheless, there is a camaraderie born of poverty that would likely not otherwise exist.
Face it, these other readers are my competitors. There are only a certain number of junior-junior briefs floating around and if someone else snaffles one a little bit of your humble blogger quietly dies.
It explains the delight derived from learning someone has dropped out of the bar and scooted back to a law firm. It is wig eat wig out here.
Towards the end of January, at the point when my personal hygiene was starting to slip, because a fresh cake of soap seemed inordinately expensive, other members of the floor started to materialise.
They were tanned and jaunty, having spent their hols on a yacht or snorkling at Lord Howe.
Their presence only served to confirm my reduced circumstances.
Now it's February and everyone is here.
I've restrained myself from hugging the barrister that walked into my closet and said, "Hey, are you free to pop to court for me tomorrow?"
Suddenly, life at the bar could not be more wonderful.