Of all the naive mistakes I’ve made at Stanford so far, my assumption that I would have no trouble getting myself together for a flight home at 6 a.m. stands out in terms of complete and utter miscalculation. By the time the clock ran out on the Big Game, I found myself unpacked, uncleaned and unprepared for the SuperShuttle that was headed my way at 3:20 a.m.. The following is a minute-by-minute playback of how I spent the hours between Stanford’s victory on the field and my departure for Thanksgiving Break – kids, don’t try this at home.
8:45 p.m.: I open my door to reveal several piles of clothes heaped around my bed. I decide laundry should be my first move.
8:50 p.m.: I haul an overstuffed hamper down to the basement, planning to spread the load across the dorm’s three machines. All three are in use. The Laundry Alert poster mocks me on my way out.
9:15 p.m.: I remember my plan to write a seven-page final paper on the plane in the morning and wonder if I can’t just grind it out now and then pack. I sit down at my laptop and begin to write.
9:28 p.m.: The paper reads, “Frederick Douglass’ speech,” and nothing else. I decide to nap until 10 p.m. and then try again.
10 p.m.: I decide to nap until 10:15 p.m. and then try again.
10:15 p.m.: I decide to nap until 10:40 p.m. and then try again.
11:36 p.m.: Someone messages the dorm’s GroupMe to allege that there is hot cider in the kitchenette, the product of an RA’s on-call activity. This finally rouses me.
11:43 p.m.: On the way to the kitchenette, I run into a friend outside her room. I plop down on her floor to continue our hallway discussion and by the time I check the time, it’s 12:50 a.m.. I think about my looming deadline, my undone laundry and the apple cider that has certainly disappeared by now. I tell her I have nothing but time.
1:16 a.m.: I trudge to the dorm’s kitchenette, surprised to find that there is still some room temperature cider on the stove. Things are looking up!
1:17 a.m.: I realize I forgot my mug.
1:22 a.m.: I find a sleeve of small plastic cups in one of the cabinets. I fill two of them with cider and microwave them in my mug once I get back to my room.
1:30 a.m.: The cider is gone. Only darkness and dirty laundry remain.
1:35 a.m.: On my second laundry trip, I find one empty machine that I stuff to capacity, setting a timer to retrieve it in half an hour.
1:43 a.m.: I wonder how much of my paper I can finish before the laundry timer goes off. I delete the first three words and prepare to rewrite the opening line.
1:55 a.m.: I still can’t figure out how to open the essay, so my net essay growth is negative three words. Instead of hunkering down and forcing the paper out, I Snapchat my friends asking if I should just drop out. Most say, “probably.”
2:07 a.m.: I flip my laundry and remember the bagel I heisted from Wilbur at brunch. On my walk back upstairs, I debate eating it versus keeping it for sustenance during the flight.
2:09 a.m.: The bagel lasts about 90 seconds after I open the door to my room.
2:15 a.m.: With an hour left before my flight, I figure I should get started on packing. This process mostly consists of me shoving every clean article of clothing in my possession into a duffel bag and calling it a day.
2:32 a.m.: I browse Netflix for movies to download for the flight, just in case I actually finish the paper on the first five-hour leg. I know full well that this will not happen.
2:35 a.m.: I cannot figure out how to download movies from Netflix. To quell my sorrow, I eat the remainder of the junk food that I had packed for the flight.
2:41 a.m.: I drag my laundry from the laundry room back to my own. There’s no time to put it away, so I hide the hamper full of clean clothes in my closet. This is now a problem for Next Week Jackie.
2:55 a.m.: After a few minutes of cleaning, all that’s left is to finish up a few final tasks. I fill my water bottle, unplug all my electrical cords and take out the trash. I am finally ready to leave.
3:07 a.m.: SuperShuttle texts that my driver is five minutes away. Suddenly, inspiration strikes. I know exactly how to write my paper. Perfect timing.
3:12 a.m.: By the time I locate the SuperShuttle and hop into the backseat, I have completely forgotten how I planned to phrase the first paragraph of my essay. I consider whipping out my laptop and trying to revive my vision. I decide against it and instead shuffle through Justin Bieber’s Christmas album on Spotify. It’s going to be a lovely flight.
Contact Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’ stanford.edu.