Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Location: United States

Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

On Downtime

Nope, I haven't either evaporated or started posting elsewhere without letting anybody know. I'm just still trying to catch up, post-Zoo, post-exam, post-sinus-infection (from which I'm still having occasional dizzy spells at least a month later), post-too-little-sleep-for-about-three months.

After hours of work this weekend, I'm beginning to see some semblance of order in the piles of crap littering the living room: I had pretty much zero time after the Zoo to unpack, which means that I not only had to contend with four loads worth of dirty laundry this weekend, but also the contents of three overstuffed bags and the entropy resulting from a week's worth of rooting about in the chaos to find what I needed.

Finally having some downtime this weekend means that I have begun to actually process all that I need to do and have not yet accomplished: that I am able to fully contemplate exactly how far behind I am on everything and how ill-equipped I am to contend with it all. I have the approximate energy level of a bag full of soup beans, but I must somehow manage to grade a set of quizzes and papers, as well as do a paleography write-up, return important emails and write several more, finish cleaning up after myself, and figure out how to pay my bills before tomorrow afternoon. This is not to mention the errands that need to be run, the stuff that's still outstanding from last quarter, or the rapidly approaching end of my school-year employment, which means I have to find a way to pay the rent for the next two or three months, pronto.

Sometimes, I wonder if downtime is really a good thing, after all. Yesterday, contending with the psychological weight of all this crap, combined with psychic fall-out from what may well have been my most embarrassing performance yet at the dojang, left me sitting dejectedly on my tuckus for a few hours while re-painting my nails, eating popsicles, and watching two really cruddy pseudo-documentaries on The Da Vinci Code in a row--one on the local Catholic station which was dedicated to exposing the "errors" of something expressly written as a piece of fiction and another sad and sensationalist one hosted by a very droopy-looking Patrick MacNee. Watching the formerly dashing Mr. Steed plod ashenly through a badly written script and introduce a parade of half-assed re-enactments wasn't exactly inspirational, I'm afraid. Getting a bill in the mail from Big City University for the conferral of my doctoral candidacy didn't help, either. Bleh.

Honestly, I swear that I have lost about 50 IQ points, most of my coordination, most of my energy, and nearly all of my focus in the wake of my exam. I've been told by some new mothers that they felt this way post-partum: is there such a thing as a "milk haze" following the receipt of interim degrees? I'm not certain, but I can tell you that my symptoms include having forgotten nearly everything I learned to earn my orange belt, as well as nearly everything I learned to help me on my way to the yellow belt. I can't be any less disgusted than some of my instructors, but I do at least know where my current spaciness is coming from, whereas I can't seem to explain it to them at all.

I think I need either about two weeks' worth of time off or none whatsoever: anything in between seems to make me feel worse, rather than better. At least being in a situation in which I have to turn something in, meet with someone, or teach a class within the next two hours offers me both clarity of purpose and an escape from prioritizing.

Le sigh. Well, it will all begin to fall together somehow, I guess. And I am grateful, in a way, to have so much to do, since that will prevent me from just lying about and staring vacantly at the ceiling for hours at a time, which is pretty much what I want to do.

Other things to be grateful for include Boy Roomie's having made a truly splendid breakfast including French Toast with Jack Daniels in the batter; Mouse's continued progress away from neurosis (which means that he was not only friendly with Cat-sitter Extraordinaire Mr. Helmet, but also is finally getting over the worst of his skittishness with Boy Roomie); today's absolutely gorgeous Spring weather, which means we've been able to throw open the door to the porch and hear neighborhood kids playing in the background; and having been able to call Mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day.

I may post more in a bit, when I take another break from wading through the mounds of stuff invading our living space and trying to ward off the impending crisis that is next week. . . .