There’s a scene in The Office where the manager, Robert California, tells Erin, the receptionist, to describe her day so far.
”Well, I woke up,” she begins, but Robert immediately cuts her off.
”Never say you woke up,” he says. “It’s a waste of your time. That’s how every day has begun, for everyone, since the dawn of man.”
Erin, desperate to impress her new boss, nods and starts over. ”Suddenly, I was awake…”
I woke up at 8:30 this morning. My first thought was, “I need to change my alarm tone.” After I hit the snooze a couple times, I got up, kissed my husband, Drew, good morning, and then got ready for school.
To get to Columbia, I take the 1 train from West 72nd Street. The subway station is about a six-minute walk from our apartment. Today it took eighteen minutes because I didn’t realize that I had forgotten my wallet until I was reaching for my subway card at the turnstile.
Every time I forget something and have to return to the apartment, Drew says, “Well that was fast.”
On Mondays and Wednesdays, my first class is Introduction to Statistical Reasoning. I’m a creative writing major, but as part of Columbia’s “Core Curriculum” I’m required to take a quantitative reasoning course. “What if this class is my undoing?” I wonder frequently.
Stats class is on the seventh floor of Hamilton Hall. There’s only one elevator in Hamilton and it’s the size of a coffin, so unless I’m able to beat the line, I have to take the stairs.
It’s awful. I spend the first five minutes of class fanning myself with my folder. Somehow I associate fanning oneself with femininity (because real men never let on that they’re hot?) so the whole ordeal makes me feel really self-conscious.
This morning’s lecture, which included fifty-eight PowerPoint slides, was about Chi-Square formulas (pronounced “KYE”) and a bunch of other mathy type things. The word “Ho” appeared on the screen A LOT. At one point, at the end of a long formula, it said “REJECT HO.” I almost took a picture but my professor would have noticed, and he’s the sweetest old man.
After class I walked to Butler Library, which from the outside looks like if the Parthenon and the Kennedy Center had a baby.
You know those college brochures that show students sitting outside on manicured lawns, reading books and throwing frisbees? That’s literally how it is here. People even bring their dogs.
In Butler, I grabbed a coffee from Blue Java Cafe and headed to the large Milstein Reading Room on the main floor. It’s where I usually study. I like that it’s quiet, but not to the point where you’re afraid to clear your throat. And they allow food, which is vital.
At 2:25, I was back in Hamilton for Muslim Masculinities. Also on the seventh floor. This time I took the elevator.
Muslim Masculinities is DEEP. Right now I’m working on a paper about using queer theory to comprehend specific sexualities and genders in the premodern Muslim world. I spoke about it with my professor after class and he was like, “It sounds like you’re putting together something really interesting,” and I was like, STRESS! (MUST. LIVE. UP. TO. EXPECTATIONS.) I did really well on my first paper, about the compatibility of Islam and feminism, but I feel like I’m starting to run out of brain power.
This semester has been… honestly, I don’t know how to classify this semester. My courses are interesting (minus Stats)—Muslim Masculinities, Masterpieces of Western Music, and a fiction workshop. But I’m trying to ease up on myself a little bit. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend ten hours a day on schoolwork. I just can’t keep going like that anymore.
Besides, The Office isn’t going to watch itself.
P.S. The picture below is of a very exciting purchase that came in the mail today. I hung it just outside of our bedroom. Since I tend to move about our apartment like a bowling ball in a bumper lane, I anticipate knocking it down a lot.