Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The 2 a.m. Brain


Though I’d beat the system by flying out one day early to Korea and having an entire day free before teaching. But alas, I’m awake on my second night at 2 a.m. with a full day of teaching ahead in six hours and things are not looking good sleepwise. It’s a perfect time to slog through all those e-mails lined up in Procrastination Lane or update my mailing list or plan my year’s curriculum at school. Instead, I’m lying around thinking random things like:

• Do birds get jet lag when they migrate?

• Do dishwashers at Korean restaurants earn more? (We had a dinner with some 25 bowls per person, each an enticing addition to the rice.)

• Visiting the palace with the king’s quarters and servant’s quarters, should I be nostalgic for hierarchy in human relations? After 38 years at one school, couldn’t I be given a reserved parking place?

• Do my colleague Sofia and I really have room in our luggage for the two large Korean Samul Nori drums we bought? Will the airlines charge more than the cost of the drums?

• Will I get points in heaven for not turning on the air-conditioning in my hotel room in the midst of a humid 100-degree heat spell?

• Do such acts affect butterflies in Kentucky? (According to Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Flight Behavior, the answer is “Yes.”)

• Though I think I’m constantly inventing new material, I noticed that everything I thought about teaching in this upcoming course I had already done two and a half years ago. I also noticed in a photo someone brought from a course 10 years ago that I was wearing the same shirt that I had on now. Am I in a rut?

• If you like the rut you're in and the people you share it with enjoy it, is it a rut?

• If you think about it, is the word “rut” really weird?

Welcome to my 2 a.m. brain. Fascinating, huh? If I could only be bored as you are reading this, maybe I could get back to sleep. 

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