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What I don't understand is why it was necessary for the Top Care workers to have 3 huge 4- by 4-foot lawnmowers all roaring within 15 feet of each other as I came walking up to the dorm this afternoon. It was like a friggin' monster truck rally or something: "Let's see how much noise we can make, how much dust we can kick up, and how damned annoying we can be." The lawnmowers in question are your industrial-strength, so-tough-the-paint-is-wearing-off kind, massive, insectile things that look like they'd mangle your arm if you so much as went near them. They aren't pleasant in the least, unlike your typical brand of droning suburban bagging mowers.. Those are nice to hear on a warm day, when you can smell fertilizer seeping into the groundwater and cars whizzing by on the street with their windows cracked wide enough to let out a bit of tinny music. The Top Care lawnmowers spread fear in their wake, screaming massacre like ringwraiths...

As I was walking back from Argumentation today, I noticed three or four of those awful SUVs they're making nowadays. I didn't see any Azteks, but there were a few that were quite similar—boxy, overgrown hatchback-type things. I got this great urge to just wave frantically at every SUV driver who went by driving one, pointing at their vehicle's tires as though it had a flat. Then, when whoever it was would roll down their window, I'd smile sweetly and call out, "Oh, I just wanted to let you know that your car is ugly. I figured you should know that. Have a great day, OK?" I'd wave happily as she or he burned rubber getting away, massaging his or her upper-middle-class ego. I'd also relish doing that to some BMW driver, too, perhaps to someone driving one of those boxy, '50s-looking BMWs.

Y'know, Thanksgiving break, just like Fall Break before it, is a lie. It's not a break. When you've got classes until Tuesday afternoon, meaning "break" proper doesn't even start until Wednesday, that gives you little more than a five-day weekend. That's nothing new, folks. That's hardly time enough to do all these adventures people plan without making a horrible, rushed time out of it. People travel vast distances, spending all this money, all for what? To see their families for sometimes no more than 48 hours, only to leave again?

While I understand that many people are closer to their families than I am, it still seems like such a waste of time and money. Plus, it's not really a break at all when you have to spend a good fourth of it or more getting rides to the airport, waiting for the plane to get there, getting on the plane, sitting on the plane 'til it reaches your destination, etc. Then, when you get back, you realize—just as you realize every break—that you didn't do nearly as much work as you thought you would and that now you have to cram all the work into a little one- or two-day window of time.

Sure, sure, you justify it to yourself, saying, "Well, but it was a really awesome time—yeah, I had to spend all that time in the airport, where the weird guy almost threw up on my shoes, and yeah, Aunt Martha was a real bitch again, like! Yay!" Guess what? That's cognitive dissonance at work. You put a lot of time and effort into planning your little jaunt, so to realize how pointless and boring it was would be a huge letdown to your entire world view. I understand that, but don't expect me to praise you for being self-deluding.

Further, unless you were wonderfully organized and caught up before you left for break, you're still going to have to deal with all the stuff you left behind as soon as you get back. Personally, I'm glad I don't have the pressure to go home—I live in the area, for one thing, and for another, I don't get along well with my father. Hence it's all well and good if I don't bother to head home, leaving me free to finish the three-plus major papers, annotated bibliography, symposium research, etc. that're due after break. We all know I'm not going to get nearly as much done as I should, but at least I'm going to sit here a good bit of time browbeating myself about the work I'm not doing, rather than pretending to be having a good time while sitting miserable in some airport or, worse, in a bouncing car on a major interstate in the snow...

5:20 pm, November 25, 2003 :: the jablog years

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