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No more freeloading

Walking home from the drama club kick-off tonight, I noticed the chicken strips’ slight burn had migrated from my lips to my eyes. It was the first tangible expression of weariness I’d experienced today, but it wasn’t a surprise.

It started Sunday, with the Easter program/party/gala/pageant/extravaganza. [Never let it be said I allowed the futility of applying an American label to a distinctively Chinese experience to stop me from doing so. I mean, it’s not as if you would understand the Chinese anyway. Or I would.] Two classes, four meetings with students and friends, my designated office hours and a couple of long overdue conversations later, and I was referring to Monday in the past tense as I headed to bed. Notice I didn’t mention the lesson planning I was supposed to get done. That was what replaced eating in the free time between my three classes and drama club today.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not looking for pity. Quite the opposite, in fact—I’m sharing my happiness. It’s been a while since I’ve felt so engaged, and I’ve missed the feeling. Finding it again recalled memories of the days when I bought a Palm pilot so I didn’t have to go back to my computer to overwrite the three weekly hours of free time I’d scheduled. The previously meandering snow globs melting into my hair probably aided my remembrance too.

Few states are as rewarding as warranted enervation. I know I’m not the first to think or say it, but I feel justified in doing so anyway. Just like I felt justified in a quiet meal at my second-favorite Xinjiang restaurant after talking the last of the drama club members out of the bookstore. It was the same state that afforded me the comfortable confidence necessary to play with and practice my Chinese on the restaurant owners’ baby, disregarding the stares of the Corner Four, who had spent their entire meal discussing mine. And to top off that meal with the aforementioned chicken strips. It was my first real meal of the day, anyway.

Plus, I don’t have anything scheduled until 3:20 tomorrow. It’s a good excuse to spurn my room’s cries for cleaning, smile at the stacks of grading sprawled across my desk,  fall asleep watching a movie, and still have motivation to get up at a decent hour and make use of the day.

I kind of like this ‘life’ thing. I think I’ll earn my sleep more often.


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