This past week, I slept a grand total of eight hours. With a research paper worth 40 percent of my grade due Friday, I had low prospects for the week before it even began. But I'm a firm believer in procrastination, the lifeblood of American society.
We procrastinate all the time. Global warming? We'll deal with that one later. World hunger? Maybe after dinner. Social injustice and corporate greed? But… ""American Idol"" is on!
How about me? I just procrastinate on schoolwork. But the effects seem just as terrifying when it's 5:30 a.m. and you're watching the sunrise from the depths of the quiet room at College Library. If you've ever prepared for an all-nighter by preparing for another all-nighter by pulling an all-nighter, you can probably relate to the state of mind I was in last week. If you've never pulled an all-nighter, I've provided an overview of the process for beginners.
8 p.m. You arrive at the library and beeline it to the vending machine so you can buy two 16-ounce cans of Red Bull to compliment the two-liter bottle of Diet Coke you've packed. You then scavenge each floor for a table near an outlet, only to end up awkwardly asking the kid with smelly food if you can share his table, praying that he'll leave soon.
8:15 p.m. Go on Facebook.
8:30 p.m. Now check Twitter.
8:45 p.m. OMG, someone re-blogged my photo of a cat that looks like Ron Swanson on Tumblr.
8:55 p.m. I wonder if someone e-mailed me? (Nobody ever e-mails me, but I always check anyway).
9:00 p.m. You open a blank Microsoft Word document and stare into its emptiness. ""‘Awesome Title,' by Stephanie Lindholm.""
9:10 p.m. BREAK TIME! Quickly check every social network for updates.
9:15 p.m. Is that Charlie at the table across the room? You walk over to say ‘Hello,' because you're a genuinely nice person, but ‘hello' soon becomes a 45-minute conversation about the multi-faceted uses of weed and the history of cheese.
10:00 p.m. Write the introductory paragraph of your paper and underline the thesis. Congratulations! Progress has been made—you deserve another break.
10:30 p.m. Hashtag #winning on Twitter, because you're awesome.
10:32 p.m. Write three paragraphs. Stare obnoxiously at the cutie in the back until he makes eye contact with you, then divert your line of sight immediately.
11:00 p.m. Bathroom break. This is your opportunity to gain some real insight on life. You read, ""Don't forget to be awesome!"" on the bathroom stall walls and roll your eyes at the lack of creativity on in the ladies' room. In the men's room, they have grout humor. ""Congroutulations,"" ""Alexander the Grout,"" ""The Grout Gatsby,"" —clever shit, you know. Not that I've been in the men's room, but I hear rumors from slutty people.
11:05 p.m. You just grew wings from that Red Bull and whipped out two pages so fast that everyone in the quiet room was giving you the stink eye for a solid 30 minutes at the sound of you punching each key like you were punishing the keyboard.
12:00 a.m. Good morning! It's now officially the next day. Go into the bathroom, lock yourself in a stall and have yourself a good cry—you're going to be here for at least six more hours.
12:30 a.m. You're paper is a quarter of the way complete, which means now is a good time to make sure you don't have any new notes on Facebook.
12:35 a.m. It's time to YouTube videos of cute animals. Watch ""Hamster on a Piano (Eating Popcorn)"" 15 times in a row. You're pissed you didn't bring popcorn to the library now, aren't you?
1:00 a.m. Get your shit together, you fucking blazed-eyed slacker! It's one in the morning and you've got shit to show for your time here. What the hell have you been doing this whole time?
1:50 a.m. This is the ideal time to order food, especially since you've eaten half a granola bar all day, because most delivery places close in ten minutes. Don't forget to order caffeine—you'll need it.
2:20 a.m. Delivery is here! This is where you nom your food like no one's watching. Food on your face? Just wipe it on your sleeve or rudely lick it off with that Gene Simmons-sized tongue of yours.
3:30 a.m. You're losing touch with reality. You think to yourself, ""Have I died? Is this what hell looks like?""
4:00 a.m. The cleaning lady who listens to absurdly loud music on her Walkman just walked in the quiet room. As she starts to clean near you, she actually dusts your foot with the feather duster, as if you've become a piece of the furniture at the library.
5:00 a.m. You've finished writing your paper, but now you have to do citations, which means you're having just about as much fun as I have camping. I'm never a happy camper.
6:00 a.m. And so begins the somber walk home. The sun is so bright it's melting your eyes, the birds are chirping so loud you want to shoot them with a BB gun, the crazies are all awake and there are actually people exercising. If you're like me, you thought morning runs were just a myth—lies perpetuated by Richard Simmons and anorexic sorority girls.
The irony of it is I've been following this ""schedule"" of events while I write this column, which would make this my fourth all-nighter in a row. Is it possible for your heart to replace blood with Red Bull?
Comments? Send them Stephanie's way at firstname.lastname@example.org.