Like a wet towel on a balcony railing, I was hungover. My classmates were decent enough to let me wallow in a bubble of heaving recovery as they pushed forth a generative discussion about cultural policy, the responsibility of academics, and what exactly can be learned inside and outside classroom walls. The hardest part of the CSCT program is understanding that the classroom we share for three hours every Tuesday is actually the least-productive site of learning; while it is wildly stimulating and often difficult to follow, it is only three hours. The real excitement is taking those three hours of explosion and launching tentacles from it to attach to the other 21 hours of the day, to invert the idea of the classroom and view the entire world as a venue for learning.
Except, I was hungover, and thus my tentacles were limp and apathetic.
Presented my theory that Bob Dylan fans are collectively in the position of a jilted lover, a sad character who cannot and will not have its love returned by the man of mystery that is Dylan. Try as they like, Dylan fans will never get showered with the same level of affection that they dump on the dusty folk singer.
Did a little more work at home before traveling to Ian’s for some brews and laughs, except the laughs turned violent as I purged my body of anxiety and nerves (and alcohol). I have to remember that when I’m on the precipice of excess, it is not a good idea to get caught in the whirlwind of stomachache that is graduate school.
Day 201. Waking from the first decent sleep I’ve had in weeks, I threw on some Highway 61 Revisited and revisited my reading of Bob Dylan’s Chronicles. I was also informed by my landlord that the apartments directly above, below, and beside me have been sprayed for cockroaches, which means all those little nuclear-resistant bastards will soon sprint to my apartment like it’s the yellow tape at the end of the Olympic 100-metre dash. Groovy.
Of course, as always and already-always, my mind broke halfway through the day, like a porcelain doll tossed indifferently onto a concrete lobby floor. I can’t tell anymore if I’m hallucinating because rarely am I in company of people who can fact-check. I mean, I’m always in company, but they’re mostly all in my head and therefore are incapable of objectivity, even if they whisper, “no, Jess, that wasn’t real, you really are sane.” Wink, wink.
Never before has a day at work brought me to tears of howling laughter. Sleep deprivation definitely set in on me and my boss, and we spent the last fifteen minutes of our shift dancing wildly at the front of the store. The customers missed a good thing. Spent the evening beating Super Mario World 3 and catching up with a friend.
30 hours of being awake allowed me to mark forty student essay proposals, beat Pokemon Blue up to the first gym, run two classes and office hours, watch the entire sixth season of the Simpsons, not to mention all the great hallucinations I experienced. I swear my desk drawers were steaming in the middle of the night. I wrote a verse to a friend’s jamming acoustic blues as I descended into a lucid madness, not unlike evening dew drops settling on the grass under a moonlit sky.
Barely dragged my fly-eaten cadaver into the suck shack of cash-jockeys and minimum-wage skydreamers. Wearily winding on the wind of a woman making a wish that no one hears. Slithering like Chinese dragons on the clouds, towards Avalon and a forever of orchids. Quetzalcoatl ate cockroaches from my cheese croissant, without even a ‘thank-you,’ I might add. Selfish.
Day 197. Watched Avalon in Mindworlds, which generated some great discussion about reality and its filmic representations. Got home and spiraled into a torrent of Nintendo, Giroux, creation, catharsis, narcissism, early hours, Olde English, balconies, and little sleep. Oh, what a world, what a world! To where will I catch wind and bluster next?
Wrapped in a mental anxiety that warped my highways under dusty, worn-rubber shoes, I blew through Hamilton like mucus blown through the nose of a sick kid. Luckily, Cheapies had a copy of John Carpenter’s The Thing, so I copped that and put it to work for a Mindworlds class on Wednesday. As I spent the last few days sicker than an Eminem album, the kipple in my room exploded (see Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep).
Laid up in bed, I blew through Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love, a book about standards of taste that uses Celine Dion as a test-case for the examination of aesthetics, judgement, and the finicky nature of trying to get people to like what we like. After that, I worked my way through some Pierre Bourdieu and his ideas of capital and conversion. I find it fascinating that we can convert social and cultural capital into economic capital, and even more fascinating that we have yet to discover the most efficient methods of such conversions.
Woke up early and spent the day reading Chronicles by Bob Dylan. An interesting book at times, it essentially reads like a list of every human whom Bob Dylan ever met (or heard about, or even knew existed). The book could have easily been called, “Attendance.” Other than that, I flew a little under the weather and stayed there.