William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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papers, Volkswagens, and late-night tv

Signs you’ve been up too late working on your paper:

“Gee, the sunrises here are so beautiful.”
“Wow, I never knew we had a Natural keyboard! … Oh, I’m just seeing double, never mind.”
“Man, I never knew I had so many Chinese e-friends.”

The worst was getting the British Novel paper, the last paper, finished. I am very happy to be finished that class; the less said, the better. But the paper wasn’t particularly onerous just because of the class; it was just that I was burnt out from all my other papers (in my other courses) leading up to it. It was 2am Thursday before I could even bring myself to start typing, and I finished at around noon.

The original draft of the paper had this line, “[Herbert] improves his station, yet all the while stays true to himself, to his eventual-wife Clara, and to Pip. As the admired 21st-century thinker J. Lopez would put it, Herbert is still ‘Jenny from the block.’” I wisely chickened out and deleted that line 30 seconds before printing; this particular professor has no sense of humour and such a remark probably would have meant an automatic C+.

One professor who does have a sense of humour once remarked that she prefers to read in her bathtub, so I paid homage to that with this: “[Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake], like life, possesses a tension between the duo of science and reason, and the trio of art, emotion, and imagination. Like Atwood, SSHRC also seeks to erode the boundaries, and they hope to bring science-style research and collaboration techniques to the humanities.[link] The days of bathtub-based erudition are numbered.”

Ugh. It’s painfully obvious that I put more care as a writer into my blogs than my papers. The problem is that I’m not really enthused when I write papers. I wonder if anyone is.

Not that this will ever happen in English, but I’d happily exchange writing papers for writing more exams. I’m the kind of student who gets As on tests, but Bs on essays. The only A+ I ever got in English was in Recent Science Fiction, back in Fall 2003-04. I might have an outside chance at another one this semester. I’ve got one grade back so far: A- in Literature of the Fin de Siècle.

As you might imagine, I’ve just about had it with the privilege of writing papers in exchange for a king’s ransom, but I got a small bursary from Saint Mary’s for financial hardship. I kind of feel a bit guilty about it, and I hope I’m not taking money away from single mothers who live on their own and work 50 hours a week. Anyway, I’m going to be hard pressed next semester with all the applying-for-things and whatnot going on. I’d better craft a plan, and soon.

* * *

A funny thing happened to me on the way back from handing in a paper on Tuesday. I was at the Spring Garden and Robie bus stop, and there was this blonde professional-class woman trying to push her late-model shiny black Volkswagen. I sauntered up, and she said she was out of gas and just wanted to get it out from in front of the driveway of an underground parking garage.

So we kneeled into the slush and pushed. And pushed. The car wasn’t moving, but neither were we getting a good hold on it. The woman opens her driver’s door, and then pushes on the doorframe. I do the same on my side.

We’re still not getting anywhere, heave as we might (and at this point I’m desperately hoping that nearby single girls are not watching, because this is NOT turning out like the quick, slick, finessed rescue that it ought to have been).

The glistening silver shift knob inside the car catches my attention. “Are you sure it’s not in gear?”

She gets in.

She puts it in neutral.

And we roll effortlessly down the street. In fact, we roll too quickly; I’ve still got the passenger door open, and now it’s ploughing over the snow on the curb. “WOAH WOAH WOAH!!” I shout, and we get the car stopped and the door closed before it snaps off.

Well, that was funny.

* * *

You know Halifax is too small when you’re watching Kink, and you know two of the people on the show. (NSFW!) I worked with R--- for four months – he was on the night shift way back when I was a remote key operator. He was a really nice guy, although it’s kind of weird to see people you casually knew from a job now trying on leather apparatus on late-night cable. The other girl I knew I don’t really know, but she went to my high school and used to be one of my LJ friends! ZOMG. I probably should have changed the channel; is it morally right to watch 18+ television shows featuring people you know, even casual acquaintances? Especially if she happens to be shown topless?

The episode made me laugh a lot – not because of the content, which was sensitively handled. It was not a smut kind of show. What made me laugh was the Maritime accents. Do we really sound like that? You get so used to hearing this generic “TV accent,” and seeing these young people share their intimate stories with us with their full-blown Nova Scotian pronunciations is a bit of a jolt.
Tags: anecdotes, papers, school, tv

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