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17 Hours in Van Pelt: A Diary

Wednesday morning, 8 am. My alarm goes off. I stagger out of bed, silently cursing myself for watching those two episodes of Full House last night instead of going to sleep at a reasonable hour. I pull on my comfy jeans, throw my hair into a truly hideous bun, pack up my computer and what seems like a thousand library books, and head to Van Pelt. I have 2 papers due tomorrow, and I haven't started either. It's going to be a long day.

9 am. I arrive at Rosengarten, and immediately grab my favorite table. It's directly under a light, so it's not as depressing as the rest of the floor, and it's close enough to Mark's so that I can make sure my computer isn't being stolen as I buy cup after cup of coffee.

10 am. Coffee count: 1 cup. Pages written: 0.25. Gchat conversations had: 4.

10:15 am. Realizing that I am not getting anything done, I send all my regular correspondents a threatening email. "DO NOT TALK TO ME TODAY," it reads, "NO MATTER HOW MUCH I BEG."

10:30 am. Bored, I beg my friends to talk to me. They refuse. They're good friends.

12 pm. Coffee count: 2 cups. I am collecting a coffee cup museum on my desk. The papers are coming along, but slowwwwwwly. I disable my internet so that I won't be distracted, but that doesn't stop me from playing on my Sudoku widget. Quietly, I curse myself for downloading it. Secretly, I am so happy that I did.

1:30 pm. My frequent breaks from staring at my computer to avoid eyestrain make the guy across from me think I'm staring at him. He seems flattered. But also a little creeped out.

3 pm. I have been seriously abusing the semicolon. God, I love semicolons; they're the shit.

4 pm. My papers look like mad-libs. "Bloom VERBS because of REASON, and seems to be focused on NOUN," I write. "And then he gets an erection."

7:30 pm. I decide to look through every picture I took this summer. Coffee count: 3 cups.

9 pm. Glasses on, glasses off. Glasses on, glasses off. Headache seems to be independent of glasses.

10 pm. I realize that I don't know how to cite poetry, which is a problem because I've been doing it for the last seven pages. Spend 45 minutes changing everything.

10:45 pm. Coffee Count: 4 cups. I swear I will be done with my first paper by the end of the hour, so that I can work on cleaning up the second.

1 am. I finish my first paper. My dad calls me to make sure I haven't died. I assure him that I am fine, although if I had been a plant, the lack of sunlight would have killed me hours ago. Then again, plants don't have to write papers. Lucky bastards.

1:15 am. The conclusions for both of my papers are incoherent; editing makes it worse. I am still not sure what my theses are. Everyone in Rosengarten looks dangerously close to suicide.

1:45 am. I've decided that incoherence is charming, and I should just leave my papers the way they are. I proofread them one last time.

2 am. Final coffee count of the day: 5 cups, all collected on my desk. I take a picture, pack up my stuff, and begin the long trek home. I am pretty sure that I fall asleep while walking.

3 am. I finally get into bed, and fall blissfully asleep...but not before setting my alarm for 6:30 so that I can fix the end of my papers before my 9 am class. I dream that Walt Whitman and James Joyce are trying to kill me.