Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Tale of One Dissertation Chapter

The morning started out like any other Thursday. I ate breakfast, worked out, walked the dog. On our walk I noticed that the recycle bins were in front of other people's houses. I made a mental note double check and see if David had put ours outside. And of course I promptly forgot about it.

Got home around 11 and showered and flitted away the rest of the morning grading/e-mailing/etc. Finally I ate lunch and decided it was (at last) time to start on the revisions of this last chapter based on the comments I'd gotten from my advisor. Went to pull out the copy with her comments on it.

Couldn't find it.

It is Nowhere to be found. Distinctly remember having it in a specific pile on my desk. 45 pages, double spaced, blue-ink commentary in the margins. No sign of it. All other items are in pile. Chapter is gone. Not in my bag. Not in the living room. Not underneath laptop. Not sitting on printer ready to be reused by printing on the other side. Not in any one of various folders I frantically rifled through looking for it. This probably took about five or ten minutes but it felt like YEARS.

I suddenly couldn't remember if I have really seen it since I got back from my conference. Could I have lost it before the conference? I know I didn't take it with me. WHERE could it BEEEEE?

(At this point my face is hot and my hands are cold and I feel like I could barf or cry except that would be too distracting and I HAVE to find this chapter.)

The dogs start barking their crazy heads off because the recycling truck is outside, which reminds me that we never DID put out the recycle bins and so far this day is adding up to a total FAIL.

In desperation, I dig through the recycle paper bin next to my desk. And there at the bottom, under the newspaper and catalogs and advertisments and the paper shreds my cousin Angie used to cushion the pumpkin butter she mailed to me... THERE is my dissertation chapter with my advisor's blue inked scribbles on it.

It must have slid off my desk and into the bin at some point when I was scrambling to revise my conference paper or hurrying to tidy up my desk before leaving for the weekend. And by all rights, it should have already been picked up and on its way to become gray notebook paper or 7th Generation paper towels.

IF David had remembered to put out the recycle bin this morning... IF I had remembered when I got home from walking the dog to put out the recycle bin...

Call it what you will--good luck, predestination, providence, our forgetful morning was obviously meant to be.

Yesterday, my chapter revision was handed in. I anticipate one more serious revision before this thing is officially completed!

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