“Gonna have to do my paper today”
I groaned mentally. It was raining, cold and on top of everything we have a curfew going on. Politically everything was up in flames, news were a fountain of doomscrolling, doomviewing, doom-everything.
But I was a PhD student, amongst other things, and I had a paper to write. But considering I was speaking to myself, this indicated a wonderful mental landscape.
They say that the hardest part of doing any paper is to start it. This old adage still is valid in this instance. I had my notes regarding this paper, I know what I had to write – I mean I could imagine the end product – all I needed was to turn on the word processor and punch keyboard.
“I didn’t have my coffee. I am cranky when I don’t have some caffeine molecules kicking around in my body”
I stood up and went to my small kitchen. Grabbed my instacoffee – still fighting a losing war against French presses and other healthy alternatives – poured two sugarfuls of chemically treated coffee-things in my cup and turned on the kettle.
I liked its taste – and the fact that its preparation took seconds also is an important factor. I am disgusted by the health propagandists’ inherent assumption that we can live forever if we took care of our bodies a little bit better. I am not saying we should treat it like a toxic waste dump but I am not giving up my instacoffee neither.
The weather was cold. I wasn’t wearing any socks and it wasn’t improving the situation any better. Maybe this is the worst part of living alone. When the person who is living and the person who should be caring about it are the same – you can take shortcuts. Bad ones at that. Then again, I am not making someone experience the morning breath I have probably being able to kill entire civilizations in a heartbeat is a small mercy.
The kettle did its plonk thing, informing me that the water is boiled and ready to be used. I poured it to the cup, praying to any deity that’s around for not making the cup break with the instant thermic reaction, and went back to my desk. I had my word processor open, the cursor was blinking. Awaiting for an input. Any input.
I have to say, the hardest part of doing any paper is to start it. The rest comes like a blur. But the act of starting it requires a lot of preparation, rituals and procrastination if I am being honest. For some weird reason, globally it seems, we are not wired to put out our thoughts. Previously I blamed this reticence on the educational (ha-ha) system we had, a slow realization dawned upon me that people all around the world have the same problem.
I don’t know about the others but I have this paradoxical fear of being read. It’s like “oh my God, people will find out how horrible a person I am really”. I have this mental fear of my teacher reading this for example. An epitomization of slacking off, on paper… screen rather but still!
Anyway! Onwards and upwards. I am a PhD Student and I have a paper to write. But first I need to check whether my midterm results are announced. Nope. They weren’t.
I like the second bachelor’s degree I am taking: International Relations. The never-ending battle of Idealism vs. Realism warms my heart. Because in the end neither of them could guess the fall of the Soviet Union. The newcomer, constructivism, isn’t faring any better either. We are socially complex people creating ever more complex social structures. Any scientific theory out to set out some grand laws regarding our behavior will fail eventually. Because science, positivist science, takes rationality as one of its assumptions. We are not rational creatures – this is blatantly obvious when we take a look at our history.
While writing all these I was sipping my coffee. It has a good and honest taste. Doesn’t do undertones of chocolate, overtones of jasmine and so on. This is something that boggles my mind a lot actually. Can’t get those tastes not from coffee, not from pipe. The coffee aficionados and pipe smokers have this in common. Everybody except you can smell/taste those extras. My taste buds are working class ones – coffee tastes like gruel, pipe smoke tastes like ash and makes me sick afterwards. Hence the reason why I don’t have any pipes any more in the house. I used to like waterpipe and in our modern Coronavirus days it is a forbidden luxury.
Paper! Paper to write. Need to focus. Need to punch keyboard on political economy. Let’s get it on before it slays me… but first…