Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sun, Starbucks, Sykes

The current temperature is 70 degrees, but the calendar tells me that it is mid-November. I vow not to become a soft California space cadet in constant awe of this. But, come on. That's just amazing. Today is the type of day that makes me think that I chose the right school. I have a midterm tomorrow morning and, yet, it's so easy to keep things in perspective when it feels like early summer. Now, it's not like I'm taking full advantage of this. I am practically watching the day go by through windows inside this Starbucks. Is it more ridiculous that Palo Alto has three within a mile of each other or that I studied at all of them this weekend in an attempt to feel like I wasn't cooped up? I guess, that's neither here nor there. I concede the point. But, suffice it to say that I chose the right one to head to this morning...

As, I'm waiting on line for my caffeine jolt, still in a semi-groggy dreamlike state, I hear a familiar voice call out...

"Good morning, Mr. 1L Rambler."

I turn around and, to my amazement, is the man, the myth, and the legend -- my Torts Professor, Alan Sykes. For those of you who aren't familiar with Sykesy, I suppose it might be in order to qualify the hyperbole. This gentleman has been at Stanford for only three months. He's a tenured faculty member from U.Chicago on a visiting appointment. But, he's already become a student favorite. He's a phenomenal lecturer, poses innuendo filled hypotheticals, and somehow manages to meticulously cover material while making things feel laid back and comical. He's got a true open door policy. So much so, that he golfs with his students. On this particular morning, he was with his two daughters, as well. The young teens were very outgoing and not at all shocked that their Dad is part-Leno and part-Cardozo in class. What amazed me was how normal this all seemed. I don't think you get that type of community at other programs. Random casual moments like this make California seem less like a different planet and law school less like professional training. See? I can talk about Stanford without mentioning the weather for a few sentences.

And, for those curious, Sykesy's beverage of choice was a confidently ordered "grande nonfat extra-hot latte."


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