Thursday, March 17, 2011

Old Habits


Last week was spring break - a much needed break from my crazy daily routine and a chance to get out of dodge and visit my parents for a week. Not the glamorous beach vacation so many of my students had planned, but man was I looking forward to it. You see, I had felt that I couldn't take a trip for break because there was just too much work I needed to get done, but a couple weeks before break my mom called and suggested that I head home. It was perfect - my parents would still have to work, so I could just work during the day as if I had not, in fact, taken a vacation, but then I could relax with them in the evenings. Mom planned to take a couple days off at the end of the week, and I planned to take those days off as well.

And so, I packed my suitcase with clothes (which were far too warm), 70 exams, 70 homework assignments, and dissertation materials, and headed off on my grand spring break adventure.

Rather than sit at the house and work while my parents were at their offices (because let's face it, I would have snoozed and watched TV all day, since we don't have cable at our house), I went to work with my mom that Monday. I spent a few hours in her office that morning, and in the afternoon I headed up to my dad's office to have a grading party. It took no time at all to notice I'd fallen back into my old habits.

I did an internship in my mom's building when I was finishing my BS. This seems like a weird thing to remember, but bear with me - I had a favorite bathroom stall when I worked there. You all probably do too. I bet 9 times out of 10, if you walk into a bathroom you use regularly, you go to the same stall. Well..that Monday morning, I realized I had chosen the same stall all over again.

When I walked up to Dad's office, I went to cross the quad in the same spot I always used to...except the sidewalk wasn't there anymore! I went around but I swear to you, it made me twitchy. The next day, I walked across the grass where the sidewalk should have been.

The first time I walked into Dad's building, I walked in the same door I always used to, up the stairs to the second floor...and when I opened that door, I smelled the same old smell. I marched myself right to his office, knocked on the door, and expected the squeak of his old desk chair. Turns out he has a new chair, and I was a little sad not to hear the squeak. Anyway - I walked into his office and told him the smell was still the same. Of course he asked what the smell is and I honestly haven't the slightest idea. Books maybe? No other floor in that building has that smell, it's only his floor.

When we walked home from campus that day it wasn't my habits I noticed, but my dad's. He walks the same route (don't we all?), crosses the street in the same spot every time. It made me think of the neighborhood I used to live in, during Grad School - Part I. I always got off the bus and headed home, crossing the street in the same spot (and not at an intersection) each time. Once, when D and I hadn't been together long, I tried explaining to him why I do it. He laughed at me then...but he does it now too.

The last one isn't related to spring break stuff, but I thought of it while thinking about the rest of this stuff. My hair is now officially long enough for a pony tail. Upon coming to that realization, it took me about half a second to fall into the old habit of wearing hair bands on my wrist and pulling my hair back most of the time.

We're all slaves to all those old habits...

Stay tuned for another post soon. No time to write it now (sleeping would really be smart), but I had some wonderful therapy time in the forest yesterday. Coming soon!

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