March 2nd, 2009
On my walk home today I smelled freshly cut grass. I breathed in deep and smiled. The day was redeemed.
Not that there was anything particularly horrible about this Monday. It wasn't even necessarily bad, as far as Mondays go. It was simply uninspired.
I woke early so that I could finish, scratch that, begin the paper that would be due in 6 or so hours. My schedule was a little out of whack since I had spent most of my weekend catching up on the sleep I had lost the week before. This left me wide-awake at midnight on Sunday, and before you ask why I didn't write my paper then, you should probably know that I thrive on procrastination. Actually, that's a lie. I get by with procrastination and I only abide by deadlines because I have to or else I'll fail. Ironically enough, if I live without a schedule or short-term goals for too long I go a little bonkers. I'm hoping that one day I'll grow up a little and break this tension, but at present I've reconciled my lifestyle with the insipid reasoning that at least I'm being honest with myself and my shortcomings. Overcoming denial is one of the first stages to healing - or in my case, revamping my habits.
This blog doesn't bear the title of Tangents for no reason.
So, there I was, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6 in the morning, one hour later than I'd promised myself I'd wake up, ready to get down to it. Two pieces of toast, some facebooking, and 30 minutes later I cracked open my book and began hunting for quotes. A half-page of notes and another 20 minutes gone by I decided it was time for a shower. Clearly this day was getting off on the right footing. A morning of leisure with plenty of time to get to class without the quip from the professor about my choice of arrival was the perfect way to begin the week.
Except for the fact that I'd yet to write even the opening sentence to my paper.
And the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed thing was a lie. It usually is. I don't understand "morning people." While I'm not necessarily grumpy in the morning, I'm definitely not overly chipper. I don't do chipper. Even the word itself is annoying. 'Chipper' should be eradicated from the dictionary and everyone who embodies it should be re-adjectivized 'annoying.' Or at least chained to their beds until 11 am.
In case you're wondering, yes, I made that up.
I eventually manged to get myself out of the house, lugging my laptop along with me so that I could spend some quality time with my nonexistent paper in the coffee house on the corner by school. On the especially crowded train I attempted to sort through my thoughts and at least get a rough outline of how I'd approach the topic. Unable to concentrate I finally leaned over and tapped the boy sitting opposite from me - "Dude, I'm sorry but could you turn that down? Much as everyone would love to sing along to Akon with you, not everyone knows the words."
He didn't laugh.
Actually, he didn't hear me. You'd think that would have been a sign. I tapped him again and this time just simply asked him to turn it down a bit. He looked rightly contrite and turned down the rap to a more tolerable level.
It lessened my annoyance but it didn't really help my lack of inspiration. Time was running short and my paper resisted any attempt at growth. The topic wasn't even hard and I had all the materials before me, I just simply couldn't get past my block.
A change in my normal route, 3 trains, and my quota of strangers pushed up against me filled for the day and I was resolved to break out. Literally, I couldn't handle the people. We stacked up before the escalator, winnowed our way through the ticket barrier, and then I finally broke out of the station at a half-run, into the glorious sunshine, and away from the moldering smell of winter that clung to everyone's coats.
Settling down with my cuppa' and muffin I was finally ready to get down to business. An hour on the clock lit a fire under my fingers and they flew across the keyboard. My trial subscription to Microsoft Office having expired, I was truly unhampered by red and green squiggly lines and words leapt onto the page. I was using notepad, which is just one long continuous line, and so I was doubly unfettered because I couldn't reread what I had written, and thus no proof-reading. I must have been butter because I was on a roll.
Clearly, the lack of inspiration that accompanied me this morning hasn't really gone away . . .
To make a short story which is turning into a longer story than it should be, shorterish, I finished the paper. I can't say that it's my best work because I don't know. I didn't read it. But I'd say it's probably up there, given the amount of time I invested in it.
I think my lack of inspiration was catching. The class bussed it on over to Parliament to watch a lively debate on some political matter or another, and despite my heavy eyelids and growling stomach I was looking forward to it. The MPs were not. I'm still not entirely sure what the issue was about. The man in the front bench with his feet propped upon the table and his nodding head must not have either. Or the man who was texting throughout.
The wigs were great though.
And so was the not so veiled insult from the Minster of some department that I never caught.
A grueling hour of fading in and out of consciousness later, we left the hallowed white halls and climbed onto the train. Or more accurately, were shoved - shoved - into the train. I ended up between some man's legs. That was a comfortable experience.
So, walking home at the end of that tirelessly long day it's little wonder that I was uplifted by the smell of cut grass. My one inspiration in a city steeped in history and architectural wonders and literary giants was grass. Go figure. But I guess it was enough - it inspired this blog.
If my friends actually read this they would understand why I feel I have so little to say about my so-called adventures in London. I'm living a country and an ocean away, but I'm writing about how grass has inspired my day. Grass.
If they read this, they'd stop asking.