Thursday, November 11, 2010

5th Week Blues = 5th Week Reality Check.

Okay.

So, lest you all believe that every moment of this trip has been filled with sunshine and tea and hobbits, I would just like to mention that today is a really crappy day.

A really awful, terrible day, just like back in the States. Because, contrary to the picture I've been painting, Britain, while awesome, is not a place of perfection and bliss, and sometimes bad days do happen.

Why today? Why is today so terrible? I'll give you a cross-section. At this moment, I'm sitting in the Upper Reading Room of the Bodleian Library. It is filled with students looking persecuted and harassed by the semester. It is also filled with false floors that make every footstep echo about ten more decibels than they would have normally. And filled with book-slamming researchers. And Relentless Coughers, coughers coughing constantly, a coughing chorus, a coordinated coughing symphony. And I have been working on a paper, my sixth 2,000-word essay in five weeks, on The Death of King Arthur, and the research for which, like usual, has consumed all of my time for the past week. Also at this moment, it is the middle of 5th Week, that notorious time in the semester which, as the moon rises, all students turn into coffee-guzzling, irritable zombies. So notorious, in fact, that it has a name (5th Week Blues) and so awful that the student pidge holes (mail boxes) in the Porter's Lodge were this morning generously stuffed with candy (courtesy of those wonderful Hertford Welfare Execs and, possibly, the college cat) to stave off the approach of impending mental breakdowns by all.

So, yes. I am sitting in this library, listening to the same old songs on my iTunes, with notes sprawled out around me, a sore throat that the doctor won't treat, and a kink in my back that I irrationally keep thinking might be a kidney infection (please, yes, call the therapists). I'm surrounded by books, and coughers, and darkness and cold and rain, and I haven't eaten or had anything to drink in five hours (since a mediocre Hall lunch of some indiscernible meat and potatoes), or slept well for a few days, or done anything but type about King Arthur¾who, by the way, is dead, so who cares? And to top it off, I opened to the center spread of The Oxford Student in wild anticipation (because I loved college newspapers!!) only to find it's a three-page, in-depth story about the Klu Klux Klan (with barely veiled references to American culture on the whole), so thanks very much to the Features staff at OxStu for perpetuating that stereotype of Americans as gun-toting, cross-burning, WASP-y, racist Republicans.

In short, I am literally about to go out of my mind, and if I bump my knee on these ancient, creaky, too-small library desks one more time, the next post on this blog will be my funeral announcement.

Luckily, for both me and all of you, I am about to go have what is apparently the most amazing sushi in Oxford, if not in the whole of Britain, at a place called Edamame on Holywell Street with the other two members of my Dream Team Trifecta, Aidan Kestigian and Conor McFarland (who have not had enough attention on this blog).

That is, if I don't burst all the blood vessels in my eye sockets from squinting at this computer screen.

And here I will end my privileged-white-girl-who-has-no-concept-of-real-suffering complaining.

Thanks for listening,

R.L.

PS: Everyone should know that this day culminated in me walking down the street to my apartment, eating out of a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies in one hand, and drinking out of a jug of milk in the other. And also having the worst stomach ache I think since I was in elementary school. Don't do as I do.

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