The craziest thing about being productive academically is that it’s kicked my brain into an overdrive that I cannot shut off. When am I most acutely aware of this? At night as I’m laying in bed, desperately pleading with my brain to fall asleep. And it will not. Here’s how it generally goes:
Me: Ahhhh, the end of the day. Thank god I can lay down.
My Brain (eagerly): How are you going to find a job in this market?
Me (annoyed): Why are you thinking about that now? You’ve got, like two years left to go before even needing that answered?
My Brain: Well, you’re assuming that you’ll be done with this in two years…
Me: I’m done talking to you right now. I have to fall asleep because I have to get up early tomorrow. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Don’t move any muscles.
Silence for two minutes
My Brain: How much in student loans do you think you have accumulated?
Me: No. No. No. I’m not doing this right now. Sleep is good. Let’s sleep.
My Brain: Let’s see. If we round to the nearest 20 for each year…
Me: Hi. Yeah you. Brain. Shut it. No rounding.
My Brain: It’s simple addition really. I’m thinking you’re approaching six figures awfully fast which is why I initially brought up the job…
Me: [sigh.] Brain. OFF.
Silence for 2.3 minutes
My Brain: So this culture stuff is interesting, huh?
Me (getting angry): SERIOUSLY. It’s 1:30am. I have to wake up in 5 HOURS. PLEASE.
My Brain: What I want to know is how you’re sure no one’s already said this…I mean, this is a lot of reading that you’re kind of glossing over. And who do you think you are, really, writing this stuff. You don’t know. Have you read the whole library yet? And what about…
Me: SHUT UP BRAIN. YOGA, WHERE ARE YOU?
My Brain: Pffft*. Yoga. Yoga’s dumb. Like you for sitting on your ass for a whole year and not doing anything. Or maybe it would work if you ever actually did it. I mean, you sure talk about it a lot…
Me: [sigh] Brain. OFF
Silence for 30 seconds
My Brain: You missed 30 Rock tonight…and it was a new episode…and Tina Fey is cool, huh?…but what about Alec Baldwin…gained a lot of weight…hey the new scale isn’t working…and you have to go to Target one of these days to return that stuff sitting in the front hall…and ohmygod you’re moving in, like 4 weeks, and I wonder how much of the security deposit you’ll get back since you’re not repainting the old place…and did you hear that car passing?!? Holy crap how can anybody listen to music that loud…and thank god you got that Ipod finally because I like Kelly Clarkson…but American Idol…what a stupid show…I wonder who’s on The View tomorrow morning and your car is really rusting on the left side…
Me: [sigh]. Okay. Yoga’s dumb. Advil PM…not so dumb.
I get up, take the recommended dose, and return to my torture chamber.
My Brain: You shouldn’t take that stuff…it’s probably destroying your liver…but then you could have a hundred things wrong with you because you’ve haven’t been to the doctor in years wait what was that did you feel that it seemed like a pain coming from your left pinkie toe no wait it was your tooth because you haven’t been to the dentist in 5 years and there probably rotting in there and are things getting darker in here?
Me: Advil’s kickin’ in. Thank God.
My Brain: butwaitwhatifyoudon’twakeupandidon’tgetachancetothinkaboutwhatthehypotenuese
Brain fades into the distance as sweet, sweet sleep takes over.
Contrast this with the writing process:
Me: Okay brain. We’re at the library. We’ve got coffee. We’ve got chocolate chip cookies. We’ve got comfy pants and the favorite t-shirt on. We’re sitting in the best seat in the house. Go.
My Brain: [crickets].
Ugh. I don’t know. Maybe my brain and I need some counseling or a date night or something. Because right now…we’re headed straight for a divorce.
*Thanks Meghan for articulating this response. My brain does that all the time.