So today was wholly dominated by a panicked attempt to get my hands on the one reference book I needed to write my short James Joyce research paper. It’s complicated, because there’s just one book that we absolutely have to reference (as in, without it, the assignment doesn’t count), but every student in the class needs to use it. Obviously, this would be insane if the whole class needed it at once, but in fact we’re split into groups of 2-3 people. Still. Two or three people trying to get the same book sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning is a little tight.

I got up around 7.00 this morning to try to get to the library early enough to get my hands on said book, only to arrive and discover that–as I’d feared–someone had checked it out. It’s on reserve, so it can only be gone for 24 hours, but still, that’s 24 hours I don’t have access to it. All I wanted to do was photocopy the pages. That’s it. Anyway, the librarian told me the book was supposed to be returned by 3.00 (which was when I got out of work), so I headed off to catch the bus downtown and figured I’d try to grab it after that.

I keep tabs on the status of said book all afternoon at work. See, I wouldn’t have worried, but I’m still not sure how many people are doing this particular section of James Joyce’s Ulysses. (Each group is assigned a “chapter” of Ulysses to do the in-depth reading/report on. I chose Nausicaa because I’m a Miyazaki fan, even though I knew perfectly well that this Nausicaa was not his Nausicaa. I was actually just curious about the history of the Odyssey character. Plus, I like pronouncing Nausicaa like Nah-oo-sh-ka like the king in the Miyazaki movie.) ANYWAY! So I was watching the status while I was at work, and right about 11.50, I see that the book has been returned. I think at first, “well, I can wait until I get out of work,” but then I start worrying that some other classmate is going to sweep in out of nowhere, and–thinking, because it’s there on the afternoon before the report is due, no one else could possibly want it–check the book out for 24 hours, which would leave me ultimately screwed.

So I call Andy and he agrees to go check the book out for me. He had class all afternoon, so then the challenge was getting the book to me so I could take it back to the library, copy the pages I needed, and then return it so that if there was another student who needed to access the book, they’d be able to. I felt a little bad checking it out, knowing how panicked I would have been to see it checked out again and out of my grasp, but I needed to make sure I took advantage of this opportunity. So we arranged for him to leave the book by his window (he’s on the first floor of Bleeker, so if he left his window open, I could reach in and grab the book). This worked like a charm. I got out of work around 3.00 and rode the bus back to campus, swung by his room, grabbed the book, hurried back to the library, copied the 20-odd pages I needed, and then returned the book. Hooray!

Then I came back, finished reading the chapter, read the first set of notes and then the notes I’d copied from the book, and finally–at long last and with a tremendous sigh of relief–I wrote the paper. Now it’s done, and I am no longer stressed. Have to study for a quiz tomorrow morning, and I really need to do laundry, plus I’m not going to finish my Crime & Punishment in China readings, but you know what? I did well today. It may have been crazy, and I may have had moments where I thought it wasn’t going to turn out OK, but it did, and now it’s all cool.

I cannot wait to graduate.

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