Tonight, I feel like a warrior. Not the knight in shining armor kind, but the kind who drags his tired, bruised body back to his tent to recuperate as much as possible before the battle begins the next day. However, my battle is not against people, or even something interesting like ideas or philosophies, but rather against an inanimate object without thought or feeling that scrambles my brain and makes me question my eyesight. What, you ask, provokes such a struggle and such weariness? A machine. Specifically a microfilm machine. And, I must add, poor handwriting, and blurry images of said poor handwriting.
And after a hard-fought battle, the day ended in a draw. I remained at my post, doing my duty until the final call, only breaking for a lunch half as long as usual. Today, no profound thoughts struck me as I squinted at the hieroglyphs that appeared to laugh at my attempts to form French words out of them. In the past, I have contemplated the metaphor of blurry words: how just when I bring one side of the screen into focus, the other becomes fuzzy, much like bringing certain priorities to the fore makes others fade into the background. I have considered how sitting in the microfilm cave develops perseverance for other activities, like running. And then I went off on a tangent on all the lessons I’ve learned from running…
Not today though. However, I did take a break to consider what I had found so far and how it fit into my larger project. Even though it was still a cognitive task, just getting out of the dark room, grabbing some water, and taking a moment to reflect woke me up enough to return to my station and finish the afternoon. It wasn’t my strongest finish ever. I walked out of the archives, bleary eyed, and fuzzy-headed, but I finished, nevertheless.
Tomorrow is a new day and a new battle; I will return to my post, energized by a morning run and armed with an optometrist’s number in my pocket.
Top Image: Wilhelm Lehmbruck, “Seated Youth (The Bowed Figure, The Friend, The Thinker, The Weary One, Tired Warrior).” 1916/17. Cast imitation Stone. Inv. No. SGP 28. 104 cm.
Last two images: Indiana University, “Chapter 2- Graduate Student Guide: Hardware, Software, and E-Nightmare.” http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=6953