South Park Self

the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to

I am the victim of my own efficiency and general student-centred empathetic wossnames. Today is the last day for applying for leave of absence. In a rush of all of the above, first thing this morning I sent a general email to the Humanities undergrad list to remind all our students of same, as a result of which I have had a continual stream of LoA applications through my office since about 15 minutes after the reminder went out. This has concentrated into one intense period a whole array of medical, psychological and personal ills which have cumulatively been saddening beyond belief. Apparently student levels of depression and anxiety are at an all-time high; I have also seen chronic headaches, seizures, cancer, and that poor lad whose teeth are so painful he can barely speak.

These kids are struggling so hard, and some of them are in such distress, I've spent most of the day consciously emanating a gentle, soothing and empathetic calm which does seem to be helping, but which is exhausting like whoa and dammit. It may also be hard-wiring itself as we speak. If you try to talk to me in the next few days about something perfectly benign and neutral and I pat you gently on the hand and say "I understand, you're doing exactly the right thing," you'll know why. Also, I propose to totter home early to a stiff gin, because I am slightly disintegrated and may actually burst into tears if someone looks at me squiffy-eyed.

My subject line is Hamlet, from memory, because Hamlet was my A-level set Shakespeare text, and it's burned into my backbrain. It's also my favourite Shakespeare, mostly because language, and charged Oedipal scenarios and what have you. The Barbican Cumberbatch stage version is on the cinema circuit here in November, incidentally, through Cinema Nouveau, and by all accounts it's a kick-butt production. I have my ticket already. Gloat.
That title part of the 'To be, or not to be' speech?

Didn't do English A level, did do O level - Richard II, 'This England'!

Hope the large gin hit the spot. At least you'll have the weekend to recover.