Sunday, April 15, 2007

Burning the midnight oil

It's 10:00 pm on a Sunday night, and I'm at the office, winding up three and a half hours of grading. Grading I've promised to give back to 35 undergrads tomorrow, a day that has become littered with meetings and obligations, after a week that did the same. So here I am on Sunday night at the office, a situation I rarely find myself in. It's both dreary and, in a way, a little bit freeing.

Dreary I likely need not explain to you: grading? on a Sunday evening? at the office, no less? But maybe freeing needs a little more explaining.

Oddly, since Miss Baby's been born, I've been feeling nostalgic for the wacky student lifestyle--you know, where you can roll into work whenever and wherever, come and go at will, and stay up until the wee hours working on something if the spirit moves you? Even though I'm back at work now, and free to be in the office between 9-ish and 5-ish, I still sometimes wish I could, say, stay until 7pm, or leave for dinner and come back. Or sleep in and start late and stay later. So tonight, with this grading deadline and no other way really to meet it, in I come, with Pynchon graciously agreeing to feed, bathe, and put-to-bed Miss Baby. And I've been amazed at how much I have got done tonight. How virtuous I feel being here after hours, as though my incapacity to do my work during regular hours qualifies me for some kind of award because I'm doing it on Sunday instead. The award would be for poor time management, likely. Anyhow, someone should do a study on why coming in on the weekend seems to be so darned productive--my sister and father say the same thing. You?


I'm actually too old for this now, I think. I like to be asleep by 10:30 and grading until 10 is not the best way to wind down for the evening. I can fell myself getting sleepier and stupider as the evening progresses. I've probably written something in excess of 2000 words of comments on various final projects tonight, and I'm all worded out.

Sunday night at the office. Dreary. Freeing. Huh.


crazymumma said...

A little bit of time doing what you could do pre baby is so....refreshing, yet so unfamiliar.

Mad Hatter said...

I sometimes think that I feel like such a failure in my job these days preceisely b/c I don't have the luxury of time to come in at odd hours any more. It's not that ever did it often but the knowledge that I could was always mentally freeing.

Denguy said...

I know what you mean about "freeing". I often pick one night per week to stay up late (11-ish) so that I may do whatever I like without ANY interference.
I need it.

Beck said...

I'm always amused by what I consider a late night these days - ALL RIGHT! I'm up until TEN!

slouching mom said...

some nights i go out to the supermarket or on other errands just to be out at night.

i miss seeing the night. the only time i see the night lately is when i have a meeting to go to or when we have a sitter.

so if an outside chore pops up, and it can be done at night, i leap at the chance.

how sad is that?

bubandpie said...

I feel MOST nostalgic for those lazy, crazy pre-child days when I'm swamped with marking and I catch myself imagining what it would be like to have the mental alertness to stay up until 1 am finishing a stack of papers off, and then sleep until 10 the next morning. Even the three-hour hiatus between 5 and 8, when no work can be done, starts to feel oppressive when I'm swamped.

I rarely work at the office because I share with about six other profs and thus can't really keep anything there, but I did spend a whole Friday there a few weeks ago, blasting my way through a whole set of essays, and you're right - it felt so freeing to have that long stretch of uninterrupted time to get stuff DONE.

Mimi said...

Slouching Mom -- me too! I miss nighttime, but (like Beck) my definition of 'late' is radically altered now. But sometimes I do errands just to see the dark, too.

Denguy -- did you see the Drabble comic this w/e? It's on our fridge: the dad tucks everyone into bed and then gloats that he has the whole house to himself ... and falls asleep in front of the TV. Just like Pynchon does, every single night.

B&P -- it's something about a) working hard and b) getting rid of essays. Gah. The best part of April is finishing all the grading, and handing in the sheets.

nomotherearth said...

Uninterrupted time to work is amazing, isn't it? I can get so much done. I have thank my parents and Mr Earth for being able to write 2 papers in one weekend.

NotSoSage said...

I always get more work done when no one else is in the office. No distractions. Strangely, I find it hard to get work done at home when no one is there. My first instinct (which is never my instinct when I have company) is to clean!

I am still a night owl, though. It's rare to get to bed before midnight or even 1:00 am most nights. Apparently I function (most likely not optimally) on 5 hours sleep and I just love those moments of "freedom" where Joe and I can just be Joe and I again.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Like Slouching Mom I miss the darkness. And I do like Denguy -- pick a day when I can stay up until midnight doing whatever the heck I want, and then acknowledge I'll be suffering for it the next day!

The first time I really missed my pre-baby freedom came one late afternoon when Blake was about 7 months old. I watched a group of people riding mt bikes down my street toward the trails and thought, what a good idea! I'll go too! And only then remembered the wee babe tethered to me.

Omaha Mama said...

Poor time management - my biggest weakness. Amazing how high I feel when the motivation finally hits me to get stuff done. I wish they made a pill that would make me feel that way every day. Well, they probably do, I'd just have to buy it on the street and I'm so not a junkie.

Ah well...good for you for getting your work done and making good on your promise. Hopefully your comments were coherent.

Jenifer said...

Agree! When I was working in an office there was nothing as productive (or smugly satisfying) as working on a weekend. You just get so much more done somehow.

And I agree with Denguy...when my "jobs" like putting the photos in the album or sorting the kids clothes gets too far behind I stay up until 1-2am and just do it. It feels good, even if I pay for it the next day. Sometimes I just need to get something "extra" done for my own sake.

Totally get this.

Mad Hatter said...

Like Sage, I stay up until about 1 every night but then my girl doesn't go down until 9:30 and sometimes as late as 10. Nope, there are no night-time errands for me.

gingajoy said...

I know *exactly* what you mean. There is something really liberating about sitting in front of a glowing screen while the rest of the world sleeps--especially in an empty building. It's quintessential Splendid Isolation.