Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Case of Nerves

The clock on the upper righthand corner of my screen says that I have roughly 70 minutes before class begins. Today, at least in my mind, marks the crux of this semester, my make-or-break moment, and this is just the calm before the storm. I'm trying to focus on the time after class ends, or what I'll be having later for dinner, anything to take my mind off the impending doom that is my presentation. I'm not sure why I'm so nervous - it's taking me longer and longer to deal with the nerves, even though I ran today and my stomach is full and my bladder is empty. I think it's because I know I won't measure up to what I'm expecting of myself, and to disappoint one's self is worse that disappointing other people.

I'm here right now at the Peak Point inside the Central Library. It's kinda like a lounge-type of place where people can hang out and talk and have group discussions without bothering the rest of the people in the library. There's a vending machine at the far corner of the room, and curved couches and arm chairs in various shades of autumn are scattered around the space. The halogen lights are spaced apart, providing illumination without an irritating glare. Across from where M and I are seated is a Caucasian couple sprawled on the sofa, the girl draped over the boy's body like a particularly soft afghan. He has his arm around her shoulders and his cheek pillowed in her pale hair, and she is gently, absently circling his stomach with the flat of her palm.

I suppose that there's a part of me that needs to write all these things down just to relax, to take my mind off what will happen in the extremely near future. I think I'm afraid of this presentation because it requires critical analysis that I'm not particularly adept at; just when I thought I had finally abandoned the habit of reading between the lines, this class now requires me to go back to such a state of mind, and despite a month of research and narrowing down all my points and all that, there is still a part of me that knows that things are not iron-clad, that this is not foolproof, that there is a chance I will fall flat on my face and freeze and just...fade. And I'm trying to remember that I have been through worse situations, that I have been in other, more pressure-driven moments, and that I have survived.

So this should be a piece of cake. It ought to be a piece of cake.

There is now an Indian guy sitting in front of me. I think we have one f the few spare armchairs in the room. His red polo is exactly the same shade of red as the upholstery of the chair; it seems like he is wearing the chair, or perhaps the other way around. I won't be surprised if he walks out with the chair cushion firmly attached to his upper body. Since this is the only place in the library where one can eat, he has a toasted sandwich in his hand, which he is devouring rather eagerly with a book resting on his lap.

Across from us, the Caucasian couple is sharing a long kiss. They're like characters in a story I have yet to write.

And I have to publish this entry already, haphazard as it is, and take a deep breath and start focusing. I have an hour before the show begins. I have to be ready.

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