Summers are (as you, oh faithful readers, know by now) my work period. Part of my mental preparation for this work period is to slowly get myself acclimated to the sound of partying and volleyball-playing undergrads frolicking in the frat-boy-hell apartment complex across the street while I'm in my office, chained to various pieces of scholarship-in-progress. Sometimes, it takes all my inner fortitude to not run out and join them. Then I (1) remember how I feel about the average fratboy dude/bro that lives at said complex, as well as (2) remember they likely consider me to be around 187 years old.
The secret is, I have found, to expose one's self in increasing doses to younger people having fun when you are in fact working on something. If one is careful to build up one's tolerance, eventually, the fun-receptors in one's brain can be completely disabled. Yes, it's a type of self-flagellation, but it keeps the working part of my brain somewhat focused.
I started this training regimen today by going to and fro the library by walking across the green on campus instead of taking the (more direct) back way. This way, I would pass a multitude of people both younger and more beautiful than I (which is, admittedly, not all that difficult). Furthermore, since a certain percentage of said good looking kids would inevitably be sunbathing, playing frisbee, or just plain goofing off, it would adequately crush my own internal fun circuit.
It worked kinda sorta, but not as well as I would like. Sure, it reminded me that there are people who have the time to goof off. Yes, it reminded me that the world is full of people considerably more attractive than I. However, it did not make me feel as old and decrepit as it usually would.
Why not? I blame a colleague, who earlier commented "you're a young guy...what are you, 30?"
This shook me. I don't think said colleague was trying to be nice...because it's me, after all, and people just don't ever try to raise my spirit. Did she seriously think I was that young?
Now I'm sitting in my office, but I am mentally torn. Am I ancient or no? Should I sit here and start work on an academic manifesto? Or should I go play beer pong with Natty Light?