Monday, July 2, 2007

Another Brilliant Attempt at Productivity Backfires

Ok, I should begin by looking on the bright side and point out all the things I did accomplish today: I got my swim card and went swimming, for example. I only did a half workout because it has been ... oh, I haven't swum all this year. Huh. For some reason I was on a permanent "it's March" thing lately, refusing to believe that time passes; I forgot we're halfway through 07 (the California weather helps with that effect). Which means it's been 6 months at least since working out. Ouch. With this kind of backsliding, my goal is to get into the water, and then get in the water again on Wednesday. No need to overdo it on the startoff.

After swimming I did indeed work on chopping down my article for the rest of the morning. It is coming along, bit by little bit. And then after lunch my brain melted and I wanted a nap. (yes, I did take a short nap in the grad lounge. shhh.) But still being melty and unable to concentrate on cutting or fixing the bolded parts of my article, I did a whole buncha' crap: errands, mailed some stuff, fixed grading snafus, sent emails to Important People, did summer teaching paperwork, etc. I'm thinkin', great! Crossed stuff off the to-do list and made it through my early-afternoon low period! I am brilliantly productive and will undoubtedly finish my dissertation, next three books, and solve world hunger within the week. Maybe two.

With the help of an iced coffee (oh sweet nectar of the gods!) I began to perk up and have actual thoughts running through my brain. I might even be able to work, I thought, so I printed out half my article to look at some bolded spots. I have about ten bolded little fix-it places, and about another ten that need recasting ---- these are sentences that make sense, on some subliminal level, but have eight million dangling clauses and 17 different forms of punctuation, and possibly change from active to passive voice as well. Hell if you've read any of my other blog posts you would recognize the style immediately.

Things are going well, I'm in a good mood, I have half a coffee to go --- hey, I think. I should do this outside, it's such a beautiful day. Oh, look, there's that view over there; I should go look at it. So I do. It is a very nice view and I am in part sun, part shade. I fix a big tangled bolded passage and clarify the section. So I notice that there is also a walking path. I'm going to walk along that little path, I think to myself, as a reward. I'll follow it down to the Big Beautiful View over there and then circle back around to the library. Off, like a stupid person, I go.

Well I walk along the path, I see the view and the joggers loping past, and I continue further down another path. Except this path takes me far off along the edge of campus and appears to be a nature preserve, and maddeningly, the path takes me further and further from where I want to go. Each fork I take that appears to lead back to civilization instead sends me off in strange side directions. --- What, you've been there how many years and you got lost on campus? You ask. Well, no. That's the worst part. I could see the student center, and a little beyond that, the other main buildings, the whole time. Like mirages on the horizon they kept bobbling along to the right or left as I faced them, but never came closer. And this is a "don't trample the native grasses" place so I can't just take off cross-country towards them, though I thought about just striking out through the fields of burr-filled plants and swimming across that big ditch anyway, until I remembered that I had my backpack with the laptop ---- don't want to ruin that. In truth, I hadn't really ever forgotten that I had the backpack, as by now I was getting hot and sweaty and annoyed and the laptop was getting heavier by the moment.

Eventually the path connects up to a service road and I take it the direction that points directly towards the student center. But it immediately doubles back and soon I am on the nature path again. After a long long trek I regain the same point on the service road. This time I go the other direction and get dumped out, at last, on a side street off campus into the local town. Now I am beyond grumpy. Screw it, I think, and I start back to my car. I'm going home, dammit. Once at the car I realize that I have circumnavigated the entire campus. Accidentally. Dammit! The whole debacle took an hour. And the worst part is that I was never lost ---- the whole time I knew where I was, I just couldn't get where I wanted to go. I really need a teleporter.

So, the moral of the story is: don't try to do your dissertation work in exotic and beautiful locations! Stick to the sensory deprivation chambers in the library. Ah well ---- I've been out of dissertating practice, what with all that relaxing at the parents'. Best to ease back into these things slowly.

1 comment:

jb said...

Ha ha great post!

May today be less complicated--