It's Wednesday, July 25th, which means we have hit the half-way mark of Hell Week, otherwise known as the Midpoint Malaise. The Midpoint Malaise is that painful stretch of time when Loafers are drowning in essays, finishing essays, or turning in essays. Often the Loafers are beset by other concerns that compound their essay-writing woes: they are tired of the food, or fighting off sickness, or missing their off-Mountain lives. And while a fair number of Bread Loafers carry on, availing themselves of Fun(!), the signs of the Midpoint Malaise are everywhere.
|Paper? What paper? I scoff at thee.|
Sign #1 of the Midpoint Malaise: ominous, gloomy, weather. The nights are cold and rainy, the days are the epitome of unpredictability--torrential downpour one moment, blindingly sunny the next. Sometimes both phenomenon occurring simultaneously, which is a real goocher. The point is, for the Bread Loafer, they never know when their sunshine might be vanquished, and with it, their joy.
|A Real Goocher.|
Now, the rest of America may not make much of the gods' meteorological hijinks, but the English Nerd is different, folks. They are trained to see the weather as a symbol of their inner lives. They see their Midpoint Malaise reflected in the grey heavens above and the soggy landscape below. That's me, they murmur, standing on the Inn porch, overlooking the southern meadow, gazing upon the falling rain, as a single tear glides down their cheek.
|No one understands what it's like to care about penis imagery in Proust.|
As for the Front Desk Mavens, we are busy playing our part in the term-paper economy of Hell Week, the academic business cycle of essays. First, students seek out MacNair, looking for comfort after Edward has told them to burn their essays in the nearest fireplace. Somehow, they push forward and finish the essay. Soon, they approach the Front Desk, looking hopeful, hand us their essays to turn into their professors, and walk away. Edward looks at the essay titles, reads a few lines, shakes his head, chuckles, walks four feet to other side of the office, and puts them in professors' mailboxes, from which they are often retrieved in a matter of hours. Next day or so, professors show up to the Front Desk, looking grim, return the essays, and walk away. Edward takes them, checks the grades, shakes his head, chuckles, walks four feet to the other side of the office, and puts them in the students' mailboxes. Shortly after, we listen for the inevitable gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. Then MacNair comforts them. Cycle complete.
|Maven Overlord Edward refuses to accept an essay from one Bread Loafer that interprets Paradise Lost as an allegory for being dumped by Clair McCaskill back in the 11th grade.|
|To comfort you, Maven MacNair will knit you a beautiful wool sweater. It might take her 22 years to complete, like this one did, (seriously, no joke, it did), but as you can see, it's well worth it.|
|Sometimes, in the event of receiving anything less than an A-, it's necessary to bring in a higher authority.|
But as we round the corner on Hell Week, there is hope, oh yes, indeed, there is. For you see, folks, bubbling below the surface of the Midpoint Malaise are the fevered dreams of the Bread Loafer, dreams of the carnal delights they hope await them Saturday night at the Suppressed Desires Dance. The Loafers minds are like stainless steel Cuisinarts of Desire, as gaudy images of cleverly costumed Nerds dancing in a Nerd frenzy percolate at a low boil, goading them on, prodding them forward, urging them towards the finish line, the mountain top, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yes, yes, yes
|The vehicle of desire, circa 1963.|
Christian Patrick Clarke
Front Desk Novititate, 2012
Hic et Ubique