Another fall break spent wasting time

Will McCull

Invariably everyone has already dealt with, or will deal with, the question of their fall break. It usually comes in some form of the following: “Hi! How was your break? Did you do anything?” This year these conversations have proved, and I assume will continue to prove, painful for me.

Please, I implore you not to misunderstand me; I am grateful to talk with my friends again. The pain comes when I realize exactly how badly I failed the break itself. “Fail break? Preposterous!” you may say. Allow me to convey to you the contrary.

At the beginning of break I had a few simple goals: fix my bicycle that has been broken since the beginning of the year, spend some time at home with my family and try to organize any and all prospects for life after college. However, procrastination had already made other plans for my break. It has struck everyone at one time or another. Although nerve-racking at times, procrastination usually turns out to be quite harmless. That is not the case here.

I opted to delay my plans until Monday, deciding instead to visit some high school friends at a nearby college over the weekend. However, the consequences of this brief reunion severely deterred any manual labor when Monday came. I took a long look at my couch, knowing the enticing power that all couches posses. After a few minutes, I finally succumbed to its power and plunged into the depths of sloth. That first afternoon I horizontally watched Maury Povich announce the shocking results of paternity tests. The talk show was followed by some cartoons and a movie starring Topher Grace and Dennis Quaid.

“I’ll take one day,” I told myself. After all, it had been a tough semester so far. One day wouldn’t kill me. What would kill me was my decision on Tuesday to move my blankets and pillows downstairs, adopting the couch as my habitat for the remainder of the week. Sleeping was only interrupted by Maury, cartoons, other mindless television and Facebook. It was even a struggle to walk to the nearby Wawa for sustenance. I believe it was around 1 a.m. that I fell asleep, when even cartoons had ceased to entertain me.

By Wednesday, the floor had been painted by the waste of the previous days. Quite predictably, this day was filled with brainless television. Most memorably, Maury confronted cheating partners with the results of lie detector tests. I started to have limited contact with the outside world.

Around 5 p.m., I had a brief online conversation with a friend. During the conversation, I found out that she had actually been traveling abroad and was currently in Florence. I thought to myself how insignificant my break seemed in comparison. It moved me to do something: pick the garbage off the floor. After this monumental task was complete, I decided that enough was enough. “Tomorrow, I am going to be productive!”

I woke up around 9 a.m., walked to the nearest bookstore and purchased Vonnegut’s latest book. I moved swiftly though the pages until I came to a sentence that shattered my psyche, “How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something.” There I was, back on my couch contemplating just how little I had done. The line could have persuaded me to fix my bike. However, I resumed my horizontal position and watched the Grace/Quaid movie for the second time.

This routine continued, and the next few days were a blur. My disillusionment continued to increase as people started coming back from their various locales. I started hearing interesting stories of Rome, Las Vegas, Guatemala, San Marcos, Dublin and Barcelona. Even a local “Courts” apartment resident’s pet turtles died. Learning of the death of these pet turtles was the most exciting thing that had happened to me all week.

This may have seemed like a self-piteous rant, but please use my tale. My break was a failure due to procrastination. I feel ashamed to have spent hours mindlessly wandering Facebook while a television droned on in the background. What is worse: I know I am going to do it again. It probably won’t be as long or horribly profound, but it will happen again.

And I fear it has, or might happen, to many of you. Please do not turn into the senior who, after break, does not have a working bicycle or any sense of physical, mental or life organization and has not seen his family. For you, it probably won’t be a bicycle. You may just decide to take that extra step from not studying for a test, to not taking that test at all.