Here is a literary contribution from my daughter, Emily. The assignment was to “make a ‘to-do’ list’.
To Do: Find the least-dirty pair of jeans in the hamper and run them twenty minutes in the dryer to give them a semblance of freshness. Do the same, if necessary, for a T-shirt. Check off everything needed for the day and check at least three times, an exercise in futility since there will be a crucial item missing at the most inopportune time. Start the car five minutes prior to departure to give it time to warm up. Use profane and abusive language when it dies anyway.
Drive 45 miles and arrive at parking lot; drive around looking for a space. Wonder if the drivers of compact sports cars who double-park will make it into heaven. Settle for the spot furthest from the exit. Board the shuttle bus and try to ignore the couple occupying one seat, joined at the lip.
Dig around for student ID at the HPER (Health Physical Education and Recreation) Building. Find it in the last pocket searched and enter. Ignore the sign in the restroom saying “This is not a dressing room” and change into workout clothes in there anyway. Begin workout. Fifteen minutes in, begin worrying about the possibility of a healthy twenty-two year old woman dropping dead of a heart attack, however remote it may seem. Sweat profusely.
After workout, change back into street clothes. Finish essay. Print out copy and check for spelling errors that have to be there, no matter what Microsoft Word is saying. Realize that the entire document is crap from start to finish and begin debating whether to write a “mercy e-mail” to the instructor, pleading sickness, emergency or just plain stupidity to get more time to write it better. Curse a basically honest nature and turn it in as is anyway.
Eat something in the convenience store: popcorn, Soup At Hand, a Nestle Crunch, an Adrenaline Rush and spend the next half hour trying to convince your stomach that it’s had supper. Fail miserably and chew gum.
Try to stay awake in class. Attempt to contribute to the discussion and pay attention when the instructor’s mouth is moving: intelligent, important words might be coming out. Fail miserably and spend the next hour texting your friend you never see anymore but makes you laugh harder at nothing than anybody else can.
Make discovery in the women’s bathroom that your hair is an unholy greasy mess. Comb through it with fingers and curse the shortsightedness that led to the abandonment of your hairbrush in favor of a lighter purse.
RUN across campus in an attempt to be on time for the next class. Do a last skim through of the assigned reading and try to ignore the rumblings from your stomach. Try not to wonder if the instructor will fail you for what you just wrote. Fail miserably. Go buy M & M’s from the vending machine; it’s been a long day and everyone knows that calories from comfort food don’t count.
Drive 45 miles home in the snow. Sing along with the radio to stay awake, pinch yourself, chew more gum, and when all else fails, turn off the heat and open a window, because this is one time miserable failure isn’t an option. Make it home and try to be quiet upon entry. Peel the contacts off your eyes. Change into forgiving pajamas with long sleeves and a blessedly loose waist. Lay awake for an hour, trying to figure out how you could’ve done better. Make promises to do better tomorrow.
Sleep. Dream; no list required.