The way we psychologically experience and process events depends on our past experiences and perceptions. Each of our experiences has some relation to previous events and perceptions. There is no event in our lives that is written on a blank slate.
On Friday January 15, 2010 I was interviewed at my residence by two officers from the U.S. Department of Justice about a law enforcement matter that concerned the spouse of a partner at the law firm of Covington & Burling. I had started to blog about my experiences as an employee of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where I had worked as a paralegal from 1988-1991, during the fall of 2009.
The officers seemed oddly curious about the blog in general. They wanted to know what it was that motivated me to write a blog and what it was that I was trying to accomplish with my blog.
The officers' interest in my blog in general called to mind a collection of previous perceptions from the fall of 2009. My perceptions of the officers' behaviors and statements on January 15, 2010 were colored by previous clues in the environment concerning my blog.
1. I subscribe to a service that tells me who logs onto my blog, statcounter.com. In the fall of 2009 persons at Akin Gump were logging onto my blog every day: sometimes several times a day. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that Akin Gump seemed obsessively preoccupied with what I was posting. Not only were persons from the Washington, D.C. office reading my blog, but also persons at the Dallas office, the Austin office, and even the London office were logging onto the blog.
2. The librarian Barbara Gauntt at the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, which I visit every day, seemed overstimulated in some way in late 2009. Barbara Gauntt had assumed the position of temporary branch manager after Brian Brown retired in the fall of 2009. There were days when Barbara Gauntt seemed absolutely discombobulated. She used words and phrases that seemed to be related to my blogging activity.
3. During telephone conversations I had with my sister she seemed increasingly agitated over the weeks and months of the fall of 2009. In about December 2009 I recall one conversation in which I picked up a stream of symbolic references to my mother. My mother had died in early January 1980, almost 30 years earlier. I formed the tentative theory that my sister had been asked by somebody, "Do you have any idea why your brother would be blogging about these matters at this particular time? What would motivate your brother to write these things on the Internet?" I formed the belief that my sister responded, "January 2010 will be the 30th anniversary of my mother's death. Maybe he's reacting to that."
4. Beginning in the fall of 2009 someone at the U.S. Department of Justice logged onto my blog almost every day. I told my psychiatrist Abbas Jama, M.D. about that.
Also, someone at the law firm of Covington & Burling logged onto my blog frequently. Both the Attorney General Eric H. Holder and the head of the criminal division at DOJ, Lanny Breuer, are former Covington & Burling partners. Remember that the DOJ officers who interviewed me on January 15, 2010 were concerned about the spouse of a Covington & Burling partner.
5. The day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 27, 2009, someone with a Department of Justice IP address was logged onto my blog all morning, from about 9:30 am until about 12:30 pm, reading post after post.
When I was interviewed on January 15, 2010 by DOJ officers my perception of that interview was influenced by earlier perceptions concerning my blog.