Four days in California, three of which inside a pressure-cooker called San Mateo Expo Center, San Francisco, a 4-hour drive to Los Angeles, where one of the laptop sites of the California Bar Exam was administered this July 29-31.
My limited budget for hotel booked way back in May destined me to Marriot Hotel after the San Diego and LA hotels offered outrageous price of more than $250 a day compared to less than $200 in Marriot. But you will be amazed to find that the Marriot in San Francisco is an exquisite place, clean and quite. The price variance was only due to the fact that the two cities are more metropolis and extremely urbanized compared to San Francisco.
In hindsight though, my enforced frugality did not only save me from few more dollars of credit card indebtedness, but also from the horrendous experience of having to finish the first day of the exam under the table because a 5.4 magnitude quake that hit LA and sent tremors up to San Diego area at 11:42 a.m. eastern time Tuesday, created quite a confused and chaotic situation in the bar exam centers in those two areas. The 3-hour of the first day morning bar session should officially end at 12:00 noon
A seatmate in San Mateo whose classmates took their test in LA worriedly broke the news that the situation in LA was quite chaotic and bar applicants, though jittery have to finish the exams under the table because the swaying of the building and the posts could send whatever is up on the ceiling careening down your head or your priceless laptop with the software that allows you to type your answer in your computer and then download our answer to a secure server where attendants have to decrypt them and send them to bar graders after you are through with the exam. You cannot reopen your answer file once you have finished the exam because you need to use a decryption code to do it. Even if you can decrypt the answer file and make changes in your answer, the timestamp will indicate hat you did it outside the regulation time, then you are busted.
At any rate, the LA/San Diego quake makes my head turn up to heaven again as I always do on similar situations and mumbled, Lord, you really work in some mysterious ways, but why not be fair to others? But His notion of fair-play could be different from human standpoint. Because it is always possible that this five minutes of dreadful clueless act of nature in LA and San Diego could have unleashed extreme onrush of adrenalin on those applicants and reconnected all those hay wired webs of protein in their brains and made them geniuses for 18 minutes before closing time. These 18 minutes of super alertness could spell the difference between passing and failing the exam.
Still, He works in some mysterious ways, though not necessarily always in your favor.
Incidentally, before I was allowed to take the bar, the Bar Committee looking into my moral fitness to practice law in California was anxious to find if I have rehabilitated myself from my extortionist propensity as found by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. I could have almost said Duhh?
But, I told the Committee that the accusation that I am an extortionist was not true and quite frankly I could not exorcise myself of a vice and defect in character I considered non-existent. I gave the Bar Committee copy of my book and my Second Motion for Reconsideration. I just hope and wish that the Bar Committee gets its cue from there.