All entries for October 2004

October 29, 2004

The Pit and the Pendulum, or The Essay That Never Got Written

One night I had a dream….

I thought I woke up in my bed and I lay there for a moment, wondering why there was such a strange, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Then I remembered. It was that day…yes, that very day, that I had an essay due in. I cannot now remember the title of the essay – it is irrelevant. Doubtless you will be able to substitute a title of your own. And I had not even begun it, had not even thought about beginning it. I stretched out my hand to switch on the light, and as I moved there was a sinister rustle. It came from close beneath me. And there was no light switch. I opened my eyes but it took a few moments for them to become accustomed to the lack of light that there was. I realised then that I was lying in a pit. I moved my hand and took up one of the pieces of paper.

Adjusting my eyes to the dimness of that sinister cavern I could just make out that it contained the words of the essay…the essay that I should have written. On investigation I discovered that I was surrounded by papers that, had I been able to utilise them, would have been invaluable to me in the writing of my essay. But I seemed to be seized by some mysterious form of paralysis. I literally was unable to move, far less to write an essay. And then, even as I thought that my position was the worst I could be in, an even more terrible circumstance was revealed to me. Not too far above me I caught a gleam of light. It seemed to move from side to side in a slow, regular motion. As my eyes followed its every motion I strove to discern what it might be. After some time I found that it was a piece of metal that swung backwards and forwards like a pendulum. I watched it for some time, wondering what its purpose was. It was after quite a period that I suddenly realised that it was slowly but relentlessly coming towards me. And as it neared me I could see that the edge of it was sharp and curved. Deadly. And now it was close enough that I could read upon its side the single word "DEADLINE".

It was the deadline of my essay. I knew that now. It was coming closer, nearer, towards me, slowly but relentlessly. It was quite unstoppable. Panic rose in me. I must write that essay. I must write it now. I knew too that I was in the pit of my own folly, of my laziness and apathy. I had carefully and deilberately lowered myself in, and now I must get myself out. But still I found that I could not move. Paralysed by my own stupidity. And all the time the DEADLINE came closer….and closer….and closer. Its sinister gleam swung just above my neck and I knew that unless I wrote that essay, it would touch my neck…slice slowly into it…very slowly.

I woke up, trembling and perspiring. It was half past eight in the morning. I realised that I still had a chance to write the essay…. But then, I had the whole day to do it in, after all….

by Abi Chuter

Work avoidance system

Does anyone else find that they seem to have some kind of built in work avoidance system? For example, I should now be writing a talk that I have to perform the first 5 minutes of on Wednesday. It seems that suddenly things like cleaning my desk become enjoyable passtimes!

If I could just persaude myself to work, I could get the task done, and then spend my free time doing something far more enjoyable than cleaning my desk! It appears I am a hopeless case. My sister wrote a rather amusing thing on this topic, which will be my next entry…

October 2004

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