Thursday, July 12, 2007

Just Say Yes

I promised myself that I would sometimes write about all the work I am supposed to be doing on my dissertation. So here's what I am going to say:

I have taken ten courses toward my PhD. In three of those courses, I have pending "incomplete" grades. The details of each incomplete vary, but basically, I have incompletes because at precisely the moment I am supposed to be writing the term paper titled something like "Why I am Down with Absalom, Absalom", I am also forced to be grading roughly, ahem, one hundred and sixty term papers with titles such as "Gun Controls Rock(s)" (re: how gun control would have saved X's buddy Y's life) to "My Girls Gone Wild Moment" (re: how A and B's spring break was revealed to be the best ever).

There's also the ongoing issue of my difficulty discerning my priorities... and my laziness.

Actually, my laziness is the primary cause of everything that has ever gone awry in my entire life.

Toothpaste For Dinner
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But where was I? Oh yes: I promised myself (and Mamacita, and Dad, and Jesus) that I would WORK ON MY INCOMPLETES so that I could GET AROUND TO WORKING ON MY DISSERTATION this summer.

I promised myself that I would awaken each day, go for a run, shower, put on my nice girl skirt and my nice girl blouse and pack myself off to the NYPL to secure my future and develop my mind and BE NICE.

What have I done instead?

Each day, I awaken, and I check each of the fifty or so blogs I read (yeah, I am embarrassed, but... ok I read fifty or so blogs) and then I check them again. Then I review any new debits from my checking account and marvel at the steady outflow of funds for mojitos and martinis. Then I check the blogs again. Then I go down to the lobby and buy a cup of coffee for $1.35. By this time, it is usually about 9:30, and the stock market is open. If you did not know this about me yet... (which, how could you?) you are about to find out that I babysit the stock market because I have just a little tiny, teeny, infinitesimal over-interest in numbers.

Sometime after the market opens, I measure the circumference of my waist and hips and make sure that, once again, my waist:hip ratio is a .7 because if it is ever ANYTHING higher or lower than that...

Well.

I don't mind being bigger than Bibi and Sri. They don't weigh two hundred pounds between them. But if my waist:hip ratio is out of line, I freak right the fuck out. If that makes me stupid and scuzzy and vain, if that makes me a bad person and shallow and self-absorbed, if that makes me a total idiot and woman of foolish ambitions and low character...

Well. So be it.

Reader, I must measure appropriately. I am not a tiny little wisp of a thing, but I MUST MEASURE APPROPRIATELY.

If, after I measure my waist:hip ratio, I am a .69, or a .71, or, really, ANYTHING other than a .7, I spend the day drinking gallons of spring water and climbing, climbing, climbing at the gym. Then I do yoga until I can see all the way to China with my third eye. And then I do cardio until I am crying. And then I unhinge my jaw and pour another gallon of water down my throat... and then I reach for the tape measure.

Where was I? Oh yes. My dissertation... and how I am not working on it.

Never, ever does it occur to me, ever, whether I am measuring appropriately or not, to DO SOMETHING to secure my future as an academic, by oh, say... working on academics. Being turned down for tenure, or say, fired for neglecting to do ANY professional development?

Whatever.

But the risk of diabetes, cancer, and God forbid... ugliness! which increases ever so slightly if one is not measuring appropriately?

Reader, I am measuring appropriately! Every single day!

There was a time when life was more sane. More balanced, less surreal. This was a time, I admit, when none of us knew Larry, when most of us had boyfriends who knew they were supposed to do things like open doors and offer to fix things that squeak. This was a time when I didn't really care what I would be doing in ten years and was simply less anxious. I didn't have student loan debt then. I didn't consider the smallest blip of an issue justification for gathering the girls at the local pub for a pitcher of mojitos. I did not own a dress-makers' tape measure. I was... a much nicer person. (Probably).

During those years, I worked out and then simply went to the library and worked on papers. I endured the pain and pleasure of the gym, and then I indulged in the pain and pleasure of my actual life - and worked on my actual work at the NYPL. I got things done. I liked myself. My advisor liked me. Back then, he wasn't threatening me with expulsion from my program.

And probably, I was measuring appropriately the entire f-ing time.

This is the life to which I aspire to return. *

OK.

*breathing. breathing. breathing*

I am off to spin class. Then I will shower. I will wear the nice girl skirt and the sensible shoes and the nice girl blouse. My lunch will be packed. And I will spend the day at the library.

*Take a look at this sentence. Do you see, reader, how full of shit it is? Marvel not just at the meaning, but also the absurd syntax. Do you not see that it is about time I got back to work... at the very least, so that I can actually practice my (oh for the love of God I can't believe I am typing this) craft and not inflict upon you (inflict upon you!) posts as poorly written as the one yesterday about the hot (measuring appropriately) cab driver? Just say yes.

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