Lightbulbs

In one small section of my brain,

the door eases shut,

but the light remains.

Around the corner down the hall,

a different storage room collects dust.

The room’s old light bulb is ice cold to the touch;

frail and unused — surely unable to stay on

without blinking with uncertainty.

 

In this hall, the floors are cracked,

stained with years of

children scurrying to and from,

knowledge expanding

beyond the walls of just one room.

 

Over time the department gets smaller

and smaller.

Old lightbulbs collect inside a box.

Soon, the hall empties — boxes stack,

stored untouched.

Walls weaken with age,

doors rust unused.

 

Occasionally, maintenance is done;

a curious growing child goes back

to her roots, seeking what she once knew.  

Boxes are pried open, doors swing wide;

the hall lights up as the dust is washed off.

Each room brightens temporarily.

 

At the end of the day, the girl goes home,

and the boxes shut;

seemingly neglected still,

dust piles again.

She leaves with intentions to go back;

to revisit and clear the dust.

One day she hopes

to keep the department alive,

for as long as she can help it.

Why I have a Lack of Social Etiquette these days (or, the Absurdity that is a Student’s Mentality)

It takes me a while to remember that the world doesn’t stand still while I’m studying. It doesn’t stop because I have too much work to complete, and not enough willpower to go to extra lengths to do it properly. By properly, of course, I mean, with more preparation. It doesn’t stop when I’ve my books and stacks of papers and two binders around me and suddenly, I happen to have a two minute break (which is really just me walking into the kitchen with no aim, or going to get a ruler or some more supplies) and it’s not really a break, but hey, I’m not staring at a sheet of paper that has nearly illegible writing with creased eyebrows.

Sure, there are nice moments. Moments where I catch myself humming along to the music on the radio behind me, or when I finally understand what the hell I’m supposed to be doing – you know, those nice rare things. And then there are not so nice things where it’s an ungodly hour in the morning and I still have work to do, or I’ve spent hours at the table surrounded by book and I get to class the next morning and just deflate and blank out, brain gone, abandoning me in the dimly lit classroom.

Then again, there are both sides to this issue. And I get that the buried in schoolwork one isn’t ideal, but the other could be said as sounding better than it truly is. But that’s debatable.

I tend to forget about time passing  even when I’m farting around with absolutely no care in the world. Oh, missed lunch, damn, I’ll just have it right now because I can. In those instances, there are no brain farts, there is only simple forgetfulness and lack of moderation on productiveness, if you will, of time passing. But that’s the thing, I guess. While time passes in this sequences, there is no rush. You’re simply there.

And though one could argue that all good things come to an end, and this sequence traditionally does when it gets colder outside, I don’t really see it ending, not until you’re buried in enough work that you never ever have time to not think about time passing. I think it kind of just falters in patterns of say, five days when you don’t have a load of work that comes with having seven or more classes every ten months.

Back to forgetting time as it passes, I think it’s important to note that life goes on as these things get completed. The list of work gets checked, but more gets done too. You have two or more meals a day, you see friend for perhaps fifteen minutes while you aren’t listening to your teacher. Said teacher makes jokes and for a few seconds you feel better about the fact that as soon as you get home, you’ll pull a textbook out of you bag and lay stacks of papers around it and stay there for the next three or more hours.

And then, you have little interruptions. Dinner. A phone call. An email to send or reply to. Shirts to fold. Sauce to cook. Books to pick up. These might not seem convenient, but admit it, you can feel the weight and the tension releasing itself as you back away from that bloody desk of yours. Well, at first it kind of seems like your blood is boiling because you need to get this work done, but hey, while you’re completing those seemingly inconvenient tasks (in between the panicked watch-checking) you do feel relieved after this “break.”

Yeah, school’s a bitch. It drains you. It takes up so much bloody time. It’s reminds you you’re fucked while you’re getting ready for bed on Sunday. It plays with you; bad grade here, good grade there, awful grade here. It rips you away from old friend you haven’t seen, from social sites that you used to use for talking to said old friends (and you now use to look up local news and talk about the mount of homework you have to other irritated classmates).

Here I am thinking, man I wish next week I’m not going to so much as glance at this textbook, I can shove in under my bed or in the depths of my skinny locker for once. Maybe I’ll see my friends for more than fifteen minutes. But hey, I gotta get back to work, so I can’t even spare time to think about that right now.

What Now, Fear?

In the car after a conversation I’d been dreading all summer, I stared out the window in an attempt to calm myself. Papa cleared his throat, staring into the road quietly as if to give me time for myself.

Papa’s attempt at casual conversation had ensured that all my worries regarding school came to the surface. School was something I worried about, and the future was something I tired ignoring with near success. University was not something I wanted to talk about, certainly not when I still had at least two years left.

In my vulnerability, my worries about this school year flooded my mind. Left with only a sense of panic, I tried to calm down as quietly as possible. Papa was still focused on the road, and I hoped I would be able to clear my head without making things worse.

My eyes watered as my frustration got the best of me. Clenching my jaw, I let some of the worries surface, keeping a steady hold on my emotions. I figured I could get past these thoughts if I processed them a bit, hoping my irritation wouldn’t make it harder. I fished through the pile of unanswered questions in my head, sighing as I attempted to focus. I was worried that even with the added experience of working for a mark, my Maths grade would plummet. I was worried that I’d be too stressed to do anything other than schoolwork. That path would only lead to more stress and isolation, and I didn’t need that either. I was worried my father wouldn’t trust me to do my work, even if he’d seen my potential last year. I was worried I would have the same time of anxiety every weekend as I had the last two years.

These things – scholar anxiety, isolation, stress – didn’t help me much, but there was something worse. Worse than stress and isolation, you ask? Yes. Fear of boredom, fear of feeling alone. Every weekend, I get up, and I feel like I have nothing useful to do. I sit around, stuck on how useless I feel. Being bored only makes the thoughts in my head grow louder, makes the anxiety get the best of me. Boredom comes if I don’t feel useful, or if I can’t seem to stimulate myself. It’s a cycle of sorts I’ve been attempting to avoid for a long time now.

Every summer, I become panicked over the simple idea of having two months off. It’s like one big, giant, horrible weekend. I have to find something to do, or else the anxiety will creep up, control me. At the beginning of the summer, I’m too busy wondering what the hell I’ll do with myself to worry about anything else. Most of the time, the only other ay these thoughts are introduced is if the summer’s ending. Then it’s no longer summer I have to worry about; it’s every weekend from then on.

I think about how vulnerable I get, and one simple sentence explains it all. It’s sad really. Sad that I’d rather be tired and drained and unsocial because of school, than have nothing to do around family. It’s sad that I cower behind school and books and TV shows to cover the fact that I can’t handle boredom and mystery.

Yes, this – all this crap – came flowing through because of casual discussion about the future, but that was the thing; the future is never a casual thing.  I had no reason to be angry with Papa; it wasn’t like he would have known. I could only be thankful for the fact that when I tuned back into reality, he was still staring ahead. For once, instead of wondering – making me more anxious and embarrassed – he pretended not to notice, trusted I could handle it. Took a leap of faith to hope that someone so scared could indeed console themselves.