Monday, October 11, 2010


I suppose it started last night. Unable to sleep, despite drugs encouraging otherwise, I continued to go up the stairs to toss and turn and down the stairs when I failed so I could watch television, read a book, play a game. I managed to exhaust myself and slept somewhere between 3-4AM.

Chienne, trained to be a creature of habit, stretched in her spot at the foot of the bed and wandered toward my head when it grew light outside, probably just after 6AM. I mrrrffed at her and she offered a kiss to my nose and then crawled back under the covers. She tried again each hour and was thrilled with her success when it neared 9AM.

"I'm still tired," I told her grumpily. "I hope you're happy." She was - tail wagging and eye bright - and impatiently waited while I had coffee.

As is my habit, I opened my laptop to check email while I sipped at my morning beverage, blinking with concern when I realized my recent software upgrade had messed up Outlook such that it believed it was too full to receive new messages. I live and die by Outlook - it tells me where to go and when to go there. Let's me ask and answer questions. I could complete nothing on my list without email functionality and so I promptly began freaking out.

Breathless with fear, I began shift-deleting as fast as I could, one eye always on that warning message that Outlook cannot send or receive. As I was moving and archiving and trying to help little Outlook, a message appeared that my hard drive was full. No more room. Too many files.

"No," I begged the screen to no avail, beginning to move files to a new external hard drive I was given in Korea. It's name appeared in characters that looked like locks and keys and it began to blink in blues and reds while it accepted the files I was frantically dragging to it. "Save," I begged some more. "Hurry! I'm not getting email!"

Deciding it would take some time, I consented to the imploring look Chienne was giving me and clipped on her leash, following her outside. I decided to walk around the Court, knowing it's the least favorite of routes due to its length and proximity to our house, but eager to return to my technological nightmare in my living room. Clearly annoyed, Chienne refused to rush, pausing to play with other dogs and comprehensively sniff all that existed. When I finally tugged her home, we had a mutual disgust going and I ignored her to return to my laptop.

"Control-A, Shift-Delete," I repeated like a crazy person, muttering between the keystrokes to cement my descent into madness. When there was adequate space, I tried archiving again and long minutes later, new email appeared. And I relaxed as I read it.

I forced my hair into some semblence of curly order, having gone to sleep (well, bed - I didn't sleep) with it wet so that it stuck out at odd angles. I dressed and put on make-up, scowling at the late hour, and drove to a separate campus to lecture.

I am not a natural teacher so I dread the rare instances where I'm asked to instruct. I'm fine with seminars. Great with intimate discussions. But put me in a classroom setting and ask me to start from the beginning and explain major concepts? Aren't there people who are trained to do this better than I am? Still, I pushed through it, pausing for questions and moving away from the lecturn so I could move my hands and earnestly try to explain in greater detail.

I'm not at all bothered by being corrected or taking requests to try again. So I talked until my throat hurt, finally explaining that my 90 minutes were up though I'd be happy to take emailed questions at any time. (Now that I'd fixed my blasted Inbox.) As I was packing up, I heard someone say I was fantastic.

"Yes, she's a sweetheart, too," another replied and I aimed a happy grin in their direction. If I were grading, they would get A++s. Which is another reason I'd be a crappy teacher.

I made it through two additional meetings once back in the office and drove home around 6PM, feeling positively exhausted. I called my parents in an attempt to stay conscious but failed miserably, heading up to bed at 7. I napped - bliss - but am now wide awake once again.

And so we repeat the grumpy cycle again tomorrow.

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