Finals Week Reflections

It’s approaching evening now. The lights on our Christmas tree are winking brightly, and there are two adorable kittens snuggled on either side of the couch.

And, most importantly, my semester is over. Break has begun. It’s probably too soon to start reflecting on the past few whirlwind days. Better to take a step back. Breathe. Re-assess. Wait until I can get an actual night’s rest. Oh, well!

Last night, mired among scattered papers and books, I took stock of my situation. Life seemed pretty bleak, but I kept hope alive with one cup of strong black tea (Almond Cookie,) a glass of water, and the prospect of the last Middlemarch episode and a good dose of Debussy and Beethoven.

…And then our Internet stopped working. In the middle of the night. For no reason.

Seriously. What? Apparently there was an outage. I mean, nobody’s up at 1:37 in the morning, right? Except that it’s Finals Week for nearly everybody. Comcast missed that memo. On one hand, the Internet outage wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Was Middlemarch really going to do anything besides prevent my eyelids from drooping? On the other hand, I was sort of relying on the Internet for help with studying. It’s a lot faster to look up a philosopher there than to try to find him in dubious notes with scribbles that might once have been words.

So I tried not to weep out of anguish and lack of sleep, “settled” for listening to Old Blind Dogs, and thought dark thoughts against all final-giving professors everywhere. I even considered drinking coffee—then reconsidered.

I mentioned in a previous post that the strongest thing I can stomach (to date) is about one mug of slightly-too-steeped Earl Grey. Beyond that, I am not responsible for any of my actions.

You see, I used to do this incredibly stupid thing (which makes me wonder at my continued existence on this earth) where I’d take three Nescafé 3-in-1 coffee packets, dump them into one mug, and down that thing in four or five gulps. This usually produced a sugar and caffeine rush that would leave me jittery and talkative for about two hours, and then sick for twelve. I’ve memorized Shakespearean monologues and certain historical documents on that energy—as well as on the caffeine hangover that would come inevitably on its heels.

I’ve always maintained that some of my very best ideas arrive in the middle of the night when I’m sleep-deprived and slightly crazy. In theory, it’s because my inner editor hasn’t had a chance to snatch the ideas back and stuff them inside a rusted drawer before they reach my consciousness. Of course, that might be for good reason. Things that, in the darkness, seem living and full of potential might turn out to be just rocks in the daylight. Sometimes they still bear up under scrutiny, and sometimes they don’t. I won’t be sharing—yet—any of my night-owl inspirations, but there were definitely a few. None as crazy as ones I’ve had after drinking coffee. I’ve banned that beverage from my life.

And you know what? Everything is over. After struggling through fits of despair and deeper despair, I’ve turned in what I needed to turn in and written my last paragraph, making the usual avowals to get more sleep the next time around.

We’ll see if that happens.

This post is going, and has really gone, nowhere. But that’s all right. It’s break—I don’t need to be coherent for at least three weeks.

At any rate… Merry Christmas, everybody! May this holiday season bring true joy and peace.

(It may also bring a few purely frivolous posts.)

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