Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Might Not Have Won the Skull Trophy, But It Was Still a Good Day

I am exhausted.

I have no reason to be exhausted. I spent the day doing nothing strenuous at all, unless you count mini-golfing as a strenuous activity, and I'm betting you don't.

My whole day was low key, light, pretty not-exhaustion-inducing. It went something like this:

10:00 AM: I arrive at school. I check my e-mail.

10:15 AM: I think about dusting my desk. I decide against it.

10:17 AM: I watch as a plant with human legs walks through the door into the office. It is my office-mate and his plant. "This," he says, "is Quagmire." I'd agreed to water his plant while he is away on his post-semester vacation, and since he lives an hour and a half from where I live--yes, his is a monster commute--he brought the plant to me. "Don't kill it, okay?" he says. "We've bonded. We watch sports together."

10:25 AM: My office-mate tests the new camera he bought for his trip. He tries a video. He films me reading about Miss California's racy photos. When he downloads it to his computer, I complain. "Look at my back!" I say. "I am a hunchback! I have a hump! I look like I have scoliosis!"

10:27 AM: My office-mate tries for another video. "And there's Jess," he narrates as he tapes, "and her VERY STRAIGHT BACK."

"That's right!" I say. "This right here is a scoliosis-free zone!"

10:30 AM: It is time to do what we've all come to campus to do. We are off to the official Appreciation Brunch. The people in charge of dining had e-mailed us earlier to tell us what was on the menu for the morning. The list included things like french toast and ham and asparagus and chicken and omelets and hash browns and sausage and fruit and salad and scones and cheesecakes.

Because this food is free and because the faculty and staff is allowed to have as much of it as we want, there is a very, very long line to get to the food.

11:15 AM: We watch the president hand out the yearly awards. Someone is retiring, and that means that person is getting a lamp which is done up in the school's colors.

There is a running joke going on--the powers that be cancelled hand-shaking at graduation tomorrow because of the Swine Flu (sigh), so everyone is giving everyone else a hard time about it. The president gets fist bumps, hugs, high fives, salutes, and bows as he hands out the awards.

11:45 AM: It is determined that the weather, which looked spotty and sketchy earlier, is going to hold, thus making it possible for our department to wage the Second Annual Humanities Department Mini-Golf Smack-Down. We start gearing up for the two o'clock tee-time. This means I am off to change into my golf attire--my I Love Jordan Catalano T-shirt--and it also means I am off to buy a trophy.

12:30 PM: I am standing in the local dollar store. I am looking at ceramic cow statues, glass religious figures, packages of leis. I try to channel Diana Joseph. I think, If Diana was throwing a Baby in the Cupcake party, what would she get for prizes?

I walk out with a squishy gray skull whose eyes pulse out of its head, sloshing blood, goo, and worms when you squeeze it. I drop that into a plastic tiki stein left over from what seems to be the dollar store's Cinco de Mayo stockpile. I think DJ would be pretty proud.

2:00 PM: The Humanities Department Mini-Golf Smack-Down begins. We separate into two teams. It's the Humanities Gang vs. the Assorted Math and Science-y People Gang.

2:25 PM: On hole three, one of the members of the other group comes over and says, "Does this place serve beer?"

We say ha, fat chance, we wish.

"You mean you haven't been drinking?" she asks.

No, no, we haven't. This is just what we act like on a normal basis. Some of us are wearing sombreros. Some of us are insisting--loudly--that the ball is more likely to go into the hole if you dirty-talk it. Some of us are using our new cameras to videotape the whole thing and threatening to put it on YouTube.

3:25 PM: We are done and awaiting final scores. There is some confusion. The Math gang is saying things about averages and square roots and integers.

They win. Their average score beats our average score. In the individual scores, though, I am third. I am a mini-golf champ.

3:35 PM: We hand out the squishy skull and tiki goblet to the official winner. We are off to for martinis and food.

4:15 PM: We drink two-for-one martinis. We eat. I talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. My office-mate pours half of his second martini into my second martini glass, and I talk and talk and talk some more.

One of my former students is working at the place we love to haunt for our two-for-ones. At one point he sneaks up behind me and says, "Hey. That B- you gave me last year? It was my favorite grade of the whole semester. Everything else I didn't care about, but I worked hard for that B-."

6:30 PM: I go home. I lie down on the bed, on a pile of clothes I have been sorting out of my closet for Goodwill. I feel suddenly unable to move. I am exhausted. All I want to do is close my eyes and fall asleep while Scrubs plays in the background.

Katy calls. "Hey!" she says. "Great news! When I come to visit, you and I can now get married! Well, maybe. I know how Maine feels about gay marriage, but how does it feel about polygamy and gay marriage?"

"Oh, they don't need to know that you have a husband, too," I say. "We just won't tell them."

6:45 PM: The Wily Republican calls. "So, I've been watching Castle," he says.

"Yes?" I say. I, too, have been watching--and loving--Castle. In fact, I am the one who suggested he might like the show.

"And, okay, I'll give you this: it's kind of like our situation."

"Isn't it?!" I said. "You're the grumpy one going around telling me to stop being stupid, and I'm the one running after you and saying, 'Oooh! Ooh! Interesting! Let me see! I'm SO going to write about this!'"

7:00-rest of the night: I position myself on the couch and don't move through episodes of America's Next Top Model, Lost, and American Idol. At 10:30, I want to go to bed.

It's funny how everything suddenly just ticks to a stop after the semester ends. It's only then that the true weight of everything that happened over those fifteen weeks rolls over you. Everything you were thinking-feeling-hoping kind of just leaks out your ears, hisses out of those tight places in your shoulders and legs and toes. It's then that you realize Jesus, I am tired. And it's a serious kind of tired.

But luckily that serious kind of tired is about to remedied for three months. All that's standing between me and my summer is tomorrow's graduation, which is sure to be filled with fist-bumps aplenty. Now I'm just wondering if the post-graduation cookie and punch social is cancelled due to the Swine Flu, too...

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