Wednesday, February 25, 2009

After a week of mild temperatures and sunny skies, dismal rain and insane wind has returned to Glasgow. Maybe not as dismal as in weeks past, but in comparison to the how nice it's been recently, the damp just sucks. And that is my most eloquent assessment of the situation.

I've got about four weeks to go until my Big March Trip '09. On the surface, it's a week in Belgium and then two weeks back Stateside. In reality, it's a very long initial day of travel (Glasgow to Paris, connecting in Amsterdam, and then a seven hour layover in Paris, before a train trip to Mons), followed by a train trip back to Paris the following week, a Paris-Dulles flight, then my two weeks back home, and then a ridiculous trip back to Scotland, that sees me going Dulles-Paris, Paris-Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Glasgow. It is a ridiculous, ridiculous string of connections, but this is what happens when I booked the whole trip under one big multi-city ticket for cheap with the fine folks at Orbitz.

The trip is especially on my mind today because of this morning's plane crash in Amsterdam. Just last night, in a burst of airplane geekery (which I have relatively often) I was jotting down on my itinerary the models of planes I'm flying for each leg of the journey, and got (again, geekily) excited that my AMS-CDG flight is on a B737-800, which I don't get to fly on frequently. I normally end up on the older model 737s without the pretty little winglets. But anyway, the Turkish Airlines flight was indeed a 737-800. I realize there is zero correlation between the tragic Turkish flight today and my flight next month. Hundreds upon thousands of 737s of all generations must go in and out of Schiphol everyday. And safely. But still. Flight itself isn't logical. Why should I be? I feel it's okay for me to be momentarily irrational in situations like these.

But let's face it. All of this talk of airplanes and weather is just a stalling tactic on my part. The gods of motivation have not been kind to me during Term Two and it's harder and harder to focus. Apparently though it's a disease that's contagious, because friends in postgrad programs across the spectrum are reporting the same kind of academic burnout and lethargy lately. I think that's what happens when you cram a program that should be two or three years long into one tiny 12 month period. You hit late February and want to close the laptop and just go lie on a beach.

I am being an especially bad academic this week. I signed up for a conference in Belfast next weekend, checking off the "pay upon arrival" option, and then forgot to book a flight or a hotel room. Now the flights are expensive and I have no desire to go to Northern Ireland in a few days. I am playing conference hooky. Shameful, I know.


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