Thursday, October 20, 2005


Written by Lauren Mead

Sitting in the International Students’ House bar, eating the greasiest nachos I’ve ever seen, it suddenly dawns on me that I have an article to write for the week. “Shit,” I say, simultaneously spilling nacho goo on my pants, “what am I going to write about?” It’s midterm week, ladies and gentlemen and although I am currently living in London, England a week of hell is still just what it sounds like: that is, jam-packed with exams, essays and, oh yes, procrastination.

London has to be the most distracting city on the face of the planet. Every time I hermit myself away in my room, adventure calls me once again to the outside world and I’m hurtling away on a train to the British countryside or to Westminster Abbey for a late night viewing of Edward the confessor’s tomb. Despite my attempts at diligence, procrastination is no different across the ocean. If I had five pence for every time I heard someone say: “I should be studying,” I’d be rich. Instead, I’m not rich, and I’m not doing my homework either. So why do we do it? What is so appealing about procrastination when we know that in the end we are going to be sitting in front of our computer three hours before a very important engagement typing madly to Billy Idol and straining at coherence?

I don’t have a story for you this week. I haven’t been yelled at by any rude store clerks or been down any streets full of interesting people and stories. And believe it or not, my inspiration came sitting in the bar, when Laura said to me “you could write about everything you’re not doing” half jokingly. And so I did. The funny thing about procrastination is that as bad as it is, it feels really good. As soon as the prospect of doing something that I should not be doing presents itself, my heart starts thumping madly. I can feel my whole body beginning to twitch in anticipation of rebellion, no matter how tame it might seem. In its’ own way, procrastination is exciting. You’d think that by now, with six essays, ten million “to do’s” and not enough time that I would have been curled up in a little ball on the floor. Actually, I’m flying to Italy in three hours.

Maybe I do have just one story to tell. On Thursday, I went to the Glyndebourne Opera House. I spent the whole day there, sitting in on a rehearsal of a new opera called “Tangir Tattoo” and not once did I think about the one thousand-word drama review that is due. (Or this article, for that matter). Lewes, the town nearby the opera house is surrounded by towering white cliffs that dissolve slowly into rolling green hills dotted with sheep and cows. It’s a beautiful area. And, of course getting to meet the conductor of the orchestra was exciting too. My story begins with the end of the day at Glyndebourne when it began to get cold and dark at five o’clock and our taxi had abandoned us. Here we were, a group of six procrastinating Canadians, standing at the side of a winding, countryside road, surrounded by unhelpful cows and hedges with no way to get back to the train station. (Glyndebourne is quite a hike from any town). As the conductor was driving out of the opera house driveway, he popped his head out of the window: “are you folks all right?” Shivering, we all nodded, even though we weren’t entirely sure if we were. Being stranded when you know that you have to catch a train back into civilization is not quite as exciting as going to the opera house when you really should be writing a paper.

And there it is, folks. Procrastination is only fun because I know that in the end, I can control when I sit down to do my homework. Maybe we procrastinate because it is a means for us to gain some control over the masses of homework being thrust upon us without a choice during midterm week? Either way, no matter how many midterms you have to write, my advice is this: if you want some excitement, go out and find adventure. Just make sure that you know the right time to catch the train back to reality.

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