In Which Ella Reads The New York Times A LOT

Since most of my classes at are school aren’t meeting anymore, I spend a lot of the day in the library doing homework and projects. So whenever I get anxious, I take a five minute break to distract myself and to do some deep breathing. It’s a very effective method, but it has some drawbacks. You see, I have been systematically maxing out the number of free New York Times articles you read a month on the computers.

As of right now, you can’t access the paper on Computers One, Three, and Five*, and by the end of the week, Computer Two will be out of commission as well. Now, I know that this is the sort of thing that I should feel guilty about. I mean, anyone who gets on those computers and tries to do legitimate research for a class will be straight out of luck. But I kind of makes me proud. I always say that The New York Times is my favorite things ever, and now more than ever, I have quite a bit of proof.

On a completely unrelated note, I have been biting the heads off of gummy bears for the last ten minutes, so as to put them out of their misery before my molars crush them to bits. I like to think that this means that I am being humane, but it’s really just because it makes me a tiny bit powerful. A psychologist would have a field day with that tidbit of information.

*To be clear: I have not read 60 articles. Whenever anyone accesses the paper on that computer, the website counts it.

On Homework, Coffee Shops, and Putting a Girdle Round About the Earth in Forty Minutes

So once again I find myself at Starbucks doing homework. And once again, this method is mostly working.

I was writing my journal entry on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I adore; I’ve got my pencil in my hand, and it’s the nice  mechanical type, with lead so thin it never wares down to a dull, flat edge; I’m writing; and it’s just easy. There’s the pencil, the wide-ruled notebook paper, the neatly organized binder, and me. Of course, Cecelia is on the other side of the table, typing away as she works on her French Lit assignment to design a Facebook profile for one of the characters in a Molière play. But I felt undeniably alone–not lonely, just happily alone–and calm in the crowded, loud, coffee-aroma-filled Starbucks. I had all the answers and they were just flowing down my arm into my hand and marching across the paper as my pencil moved, creating words in my neat handwriting, as the bottoms of the letters slurred together because I couldn’t be bothered to fully pick up the pencil in between letters.

Of course this perfection didn’t last forever, it never does, but I live for moments like those. Because there are only so many of them, and they are rare for me. Suddenly, I had the reigns for once, and the horses were walking at a nice, dignified pace. But the horses soon spooked, and I freaked out. Partially, this was the result at looking at the grades I got on the multiple-choice parts of my midterms and the stress of trying to write an essay with the added nerves of medication changes, vast loads of make-up work, and my post-graduate application sitting in an admissions office.

But I calmed down again after emailing Cecelia (who, yes, was just sitting across from me, but I didn’t want other people to hear us talking about it) and got back down to business. I didn’t feel the same way that I did when I was writing about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I did getting things done without tears or hyperventilating. So, you know, I think that, all in all, it was a job well done.

(Oh my goodness, commas. When will I figure them out?)