Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back in the Ivory Tower

Copper Kitchen - 2 stars
1008 Chapel St., New Haven, CT

In the mid-1990s, my girlfriend (not the woman I ended up marrying) went to art school at Yale. (Little-known fact: Yale has one of the best art schools, and perhaps the most prestigious one, in the country. Its music school is pretty good, too.) She is known in some circles for having painted an obscene painting about a Yale art school professor - while she was still a student. I don't remember much about those years - and I only spent about 6 weeks in New Haven, anyway - but one of our favorite places to eat was the Copper Kitchen, which is an old-school diner. It is old-school in two ways: first, it doesn't have fake-50s decor, like most diners in most parts of the country; and second, it doesn't have a 20-page menu with every dish you could possibly imagine. Back then, you could get two eggs, home fries, toast, and coffee for $2.85; today, it costs $4.00, making it still one of the best bargains anywhere. It's also right around the corner from my apartment, so I ate lunch there one of my first days here for school. I had an egg and cheese sandwich with fried onions on a hard roll (something I grew up with, but that I haven't seen outside the Northeast), which was perfect, and a Greek salad, which was passable (like virtually all Greek salads you see, it was at least 50% lettuce, which is a bit anomalous).

I came to Yale because it seemed like the friendliest, nicest law school around (OK, given my geographic location, the only one I was comparing it to was Harvard), and so far it hasn't disappointed. We had four days of orientation, the lessons of which can be summed up as follows:
  • Be nice to each other
  • Remember why you came to law school
  • Help each other
  • It's more important to do something you believe in than to make money
  • All your first-term classes are pass/fail, and everyone passes, so don't worry about it
  • Find out who you are as a person and what you stand for
  • Love each other
I've heard some people grumbling about how touch-feely everything is, but I think it's all great. Maybe it's my age. I do believe it's important to know who you are, feel comfortable with yourself, and treat other people well.

In the words of the great philosopher Anna Kournikova, "Why are people afraid of getting older? You feel wiser. You feel more mature. You feel like you know yourself better. You would trade that for softer skin? Not me!" What that quotation has to do with the rest of this post is left as an exercise for the reader.

This is the view from my New Haven apartment. Nice, no?

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