06 January 2010

Brain Freeze

I'm at work. I'm sitting in the Sociology lab trying so hard to write a draft of the challenges we have identified for evaluations of small NGOs (non-governmental organizations). But every time I start to look at the page my brain suddenly diverts to some other topic. To someone I want to talk to or something I need to do or to worries about how I'm going to survive what promises to be a quite busy semester or random questions about random things or I'll realize that I've just been staring into space for the past ten minutes without thinking anything at all that I can recall. And the paper I'm writing isn't even particularly difficult or boring.

I think I'm lazy. Actually, I'm fairly sure of it. I could sit around for hours and do nothing. Or perhaps not literally nothing, but things that are unrelated to work and school and other productive endeavors. As Robert Louis Stevenson reminds us,

“Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognised in the dogmatic formularities of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself”

I could spend all day listening to podcasts on iTunes and playing around on the guitar (I can't really call what I do real playing) or painting my nails or reading books that aren't for school or checking my emails and facebook and the weather and my blog and my class schedule and anything else I can think of about fifty times an hour, even when nothing new has happened. And I can walk down to the kitchen and up to my room back and forth trying to decide if I'm really hungry. And I can try six different things with my hair (and still hate how it looks). And I can take naps and read and re-read my class syllabi and call my mom on the phone and make lists about all the productive things I could and should be doing.

Maybe that is even my favorite waste of time. I think, actually, that is why I own a planner. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly forgetful and it would be very helpful to have things orderly and written our for me to remember, but I don't usually do that. And when I do I forget to look in my planner and forget anyway. But that's another story. What I like to do is write out schedules for my time...

Today, January 6, 2010:
7am wake up
8am eat breakfast
9am class

of course, I inevitably wake up at 7:45, skip breakfast, have to do some last minute homework and run to campus to get the computer lab and end up being late for class with half our assignment done. And then there are other lists. Like lists for the grocery store, which never work and I either forget them at home or somehow manage to forget at least one item I wrote down and purchase several that I wasn't planning on. Or lists of things to accomplish during the day: 2 hours of work, reading for English, reading for EDLF, paper for Capstone course. And I love to cross them out, but usually I end up crossing them off half way through the day when I realize that I'm only going to get to one of the ten planned activities and even then I will probably not get all the way done. And sometimes I start to wonder where all this time is going to. If I'm not working or doing homework or socializing or eating or sleeping, what do I do?

And my friends, it remains a mystery. It's as if there are little parasites sucking my time, like so many mosquitoes, thirsting for minutes and hours rather than blood. Sometimes I look at the clock one minute and the next an entire hour has just slipped away. And the older I get the more quickly all this time seems to just disappear out from under me. One year, two, nearly five since I started college. And sometimes I find myself stunned with this realization, half feeling like the same girl who spent hours of her days creating different lists intended to make the selection of a university simpler, wondering how I managed to get into a new decade and a new apartment and a new state, somehow. Sometimes I can't believe that I've lived for over two decades. It feels like I'm being shoved into some sort of time warp and as hard as I try I can't seem to keep time still for even just one moment so I can at least make sense of what is going on around me. Instead life flashes before me in great gobs--semesters and summers and trips and holidays and they slip past and become part of the every growing blur I'm leaving behind. I have horrible visions of myself waking up one morning age 52 and wondering where the past 30 years went. Where have I been? What have I done? How have I changed? And why is time playing these awful tricks on me? Why won't it just leave me be and allow me to enjoy my youth?

And now another twenty minutes have passed, or some such thing, and I have accomplished nothing really. I still haven't written a word of my paper or figured out what happens in the great lapses of missing time in my life. But I have grown a bit closer to age 52 and to 62 and 82 and eventually the end of this life. And I can't deny that it will be gone in a flash and I will be left baffled and confused, just as I am now. What a fickle friend this time!

No comments: