Lacking power on the last day of classes–a fragmented account

It’s 00:50, and power on the Rose campus just came back on. For twelve hours, Rose has been on its knees, with no Internet, no lights, no air conditioning, and, in my residence hall, no plumbing.

I was getting ready to take my last Gender Issues exam when the power in the office started fluctuating and turning on and off both regularly and quickly. I ran around and quickly turned off all the computers and the printer, since the last thing I wanted was for Luke to have to spend any more of the Thorn’s money on equipment.

What was the common sentiment on campus as soon as the power went out? “Don’t let the beer get warm!” Drunk folk were out in more force than ever tonight, KY Jellying our door handles and stairwell rails, driving like maniacs without headlights on, putting cans of flammable shit in the bonfire that was built.

I had my last chemistry test this morning. It either went really well, or really, really badly. I was the second one to finish, and the guy that finished first seems to have grades as low as mine, because he looked scared as hell, too. My last Gender Issues exam was sort of cancelled because we couldn’t see to write the exam. We just held a class discussion and went over the questions. That was perfectly alright, given that I hadn’t really been able to prepare for it as well as I did for chemistry. Or as well as I think I did on the chemistry exam.

I slept through most of the afternoon in the Thorn office, then dismantled the deck and moved it out with the help of my future roomie and her SO. After taking care of that, I went back and tried to study chemistry in the Thorn office, to no avail. Candlelight isn’t really sufficient for studying, and I didn’t have any music.

So I snatched up Nikolai and his Kanye West CD, and we went outside to kill a laptop battery and enjoy the starlight and downtime. We watched the drunkards and their fire. We listened to Chaka Khan’s “Through the Wire” and Shai while avoiding the bugs. He tried to get me to dance, but I was too tired, and yet not the right kind of tired to relax inhibitions.

Next up is sleep, after I post a slew of pictures from the last night of Thorn production…

A month off can be a good thing.

So the Thorn’s final issue, a commemorative issue to Dr. Hulbert, our departing president, is done. I just e-mailed the PDFs to our printer, right at the 05:00 deadline.

I ended up becoming only one of the halves of a lap onto which the paper was dropped. I look at what’s finished, and I realized I did very, very little. How disappointing.

We were supposed to have most of the content in by April 30, so we wouldn’t be doing this shit at 04:30 on the night before distribution. I, however, didn’t write my story until Monday this week, dragging my heels because I didn’t want to write my first-ever “news article” in such an important issue. I ended up writing two articles combined into one since my other writer reneged, but, alas, such is life.

I wanted to get my page on coeducation done last night. I wanted to get the template and content of the center-spread timeline laid out so all Bob would have to do would be to scan in the pictures I picked out and place ’em. I wanted to help Bob figure out what we wanted to do with Hulbert’s old 1976 interview, so that would be cake as well. I didn’t want to be a bitch at people’s slowness or ignorance, and I didn’t want to be the one holding back progress on production. These were my goals for the past two days.

I did get my page done, for the most part–all that remained for tonight was copy editing. The timeline–well, I should have known I wouldn’t have have been able to do something artsy enough to satisfy Bob. My work was pretty much for naught there, and Bob seems to have started from scratch on content there, and that spread (largely not copy-edited) was what held back sending the PDFs in until 05:00. It did look sexy, but there are bound to be embarrassing mistakes.

I didn’t get clear specs on what we wanted for the interview page, so my time spent hacking a 3300-word interview down to a 700-word interview that would fit on our original plans for the page was also for naught, and Luke ended up doing that whole page himself.

So I did one page of a twelve page issue. I wrote a rush article on one of Hulbert’s crowning achievements and gave it a half-page (remember, this is tabloid-size, 11 inches by 17 inches). All else, I found myself unable to finish. I bitched out one of our copy editors when she pointed out my lack of productivity (I e-mailed her an apology about ten minutes later, but female-female “friendships” [by which I mean a favorable acquaintance, really] don’t really recover from these things). I left in the middle of production tonight to get another three hours of sleep (and, admittedly, to avoid alienating anyone else).

There’s really no excuse. If I can get along just fine and fly through two exams on three hours of sleep every night for a week, surely I could have done more for the paper, been more helpful, been more patient. My crowning achievement this week (aside from the aforementioned exams) was not completely slaughtering the writer who didn’t give me a story for this issue. And that’s kinda sad, because at the time I was in a energy lull (that odd, almost-mealtime drop that is accentuated with little sleep and no exercise), and just too tired to muster anything other than resignation.

This doesn’t bode well for me being News Editor again next year or anything else after Bob and Luke graduate. I think this is was the first week where I really didn’t feel like working on the paper, where InDesign actually pissed me off with its quirks, where this felt like a burden rather than a fun escape from an existence lacking in social interactions (note to self: more on that at some later date), and where the office banter just wasn’t enough to keep me there all night.

Finally…

The Thorn office has cleared out. Bob (who I love to death) had been loitering and complaining all evening, and Laura (a nice girl woman) had just sort of been in the way, blocking access to resources I needed. They kept talking to me, meaning I couldn’t keep my headphones on loud and focus on work.

But now I’ve got until 07:30 before I need to shower and get ready for class, and I can work straight through the night until then, no interruptions.

Oh, yeah.

"That’ll teach you."

Is there any other phrase better designed to cause quenched, beaten down, silenced resistance to flare back up in a blaze of semi-impotent fury?

After I (admittedly) got my ass whooped in the wee hours of the morning earlier today, I was going to stop stealing someone’s knife and lay off with the permanent marker drawings on the back of his neck.

When I woke up after my two-hour nap after said fight unable to lift my arms above my head or type/write for more than ten seconds without needing a break, I was going to stop using Luke as my punching bag just so I could stop having my arms wrenched up behind my back.

When I bumped into my desk and was made painfully aware of the thirty or so finger bruises on my wrists and forearms, I was mos def going to chill out, before someone saw and got the wrong idea about the whole thing.

The bruises on my back from the attempts at “pressure point” fun? Those on my hips from me trying to escape the knee or foot or whatever the fuck it was being shoved into my back while I was pressed into the floor? Further evidence I should have just given up the damn knife and that I’m just running myself repeatedly into a brick wall.

I’m not a fighter. I think that, if I seriously felt threatened, I could get in enough serious hits to get away. Casual fighting, though, without that adrenaline rush, without that something really bad is going to happen to me feeling that makes things serious? I fuggin’ suck at it, even if I enjoy the stress relief.

And I was going to be okay with that, and stop trying to win. I mean, it’s not such a crucial skill to have, right? And my shoulders really can’t take that kind of strain repeatedly. I had serious trouble quickly typing in the stored procedures and triggers on my database systems exam this morning.

But when I ran into Luke this afternoon and mentioned some of my ailments, he said, “Well, that’ll teach you, then, won’t it?” in that smug, Hoosier yoo-hoo drawl.

See above about flaming semi-impotent determination.

As soon as my shoulders heal, someone is being attacked with a permanent marker or having that knife slipped out of his pocket. At some point, Luke will stop rising to the taunts, I will win and get to voluntarily hand back the knife, or I will be seriously hurt and end up needing to visit a doctor or hospital.

I slept like a rock (“or a man that’s dead”, I suppose) this morning, though, and I’m a lot less stressed about all the shit going on this week. Given that an entire twelve-page issue of the paper has been dropped completely into three-and-a-half people’s laps, it’s better I’m pummelling on Luke, who can handle it and didn’t seem to mind too much, than the people who failed to come through for us this week.

Two and a half more days before I can sleep comfortably and start studying for finals. The minutes are being counted down..

Growing into one’s skin

Fat people have opinions too“. Not a diatribe against discrimination of fat folks (although those are fun to read, too), but something so much better–an account of a woman’s development of a self-assurance and self-confidence that is hard and long in coming.

It’s something I still don’t have. I still can’t look at myself in the mirror without giving myself a critical eye–how much more weight I need to lose, how many hours I need to spend in the sun to get my skin to be where I want it to be, etc., etc. I still flinch and twitch in overreaction and hypersensitivity to physical contact–my body is not one to be touched casually without my mental balance being upset. It’s something I’ve learned to cover with a funny high-pitched squeal for comic value, and I am getting better, but I am always acutely aware of violations of my “space”. Why? Because, of course, if you touch me, you may feel what my clothing covers, what I dislike so much.

I’m better than I used to be in terms of the harshness of my self-criticisms, but I’ve got a long way to go before I’m really comfortable in my own skin and don’t feel a need to change how I am (because this surpasses my physical state) to be okay. But I don’t know that I can even define what “okay” is, for me. I just “know” it’s different from how I am currently, which I also know is ridiculous. But, alas, intellect and emotions don’t always mesh smoothly.

Kudos to Sunray, though, for growing into her skin, and I can only hope I get there myself someday.