I don’t know from personal experience, but I’m told that anesthesiologists describe their jobs as a strange combination of having to be alert all the time, while things are routine and occasionally boring, then having to shift into crisis mode instantly when the routine things start to go sideways.
For a judge, trying cases is much the same. The points at which total concentration becomes necessary may be easily anticipated, as with the State’s key witness in a criminal case, or totally unexpected, when a party says something totally unanticipatedly right in the midst of pretty ordinary testimony. (Usually, when that happens, that party’s lawyer is hearing this interesting fact for the first time as well! It is an opportunity to observe how good that lawyer’s poker face is.
One of my favorite things about hanging out with my step kids is listening to their unique take on life. From Listening to the 11-year old’s opinion on the presidential candidates, to some really awesome conversations with the teenage girls about what they are imagining for their future, I always walk away having learned something from seeing through their eyes.
Recently I was listening to the kids all talk to each other about their friend groups at school. Maddie (14) made a comment about being in the “kids of divorced parents” group. I asked her what that meant. She explained to me that meant that she was part of a group of kids at her school who could relate to all the emotional and logistical complications of having parents who were no longer together. Kids with “intact” families just didn’t get it.