It amazes me how the brain decides it’s done working. I’ve experienced this countless times, being the sleep-defying person that I am. Let me set up a few situations, because I’m sure you can relate. These are all things that actually happened, the evidence of which I have kept for laughs.
1. Reading late at night
We’re all familiar with this one. You read a book or article for class the next morning, and you’re super tired, fighting to keep your eyes open. Your book eventually falls off your lap, and when you pick it up, you have no idea where you were when it fell; flipping through the pages, you don’t recognize anything until you return to the very first page, which you realize you’ve read about eight times. I’ve seen some curious highlighting jobs, too.
2. Making notes to study
I distinctly remember a time during sophomore year when I was making notecards for a French test the next morning. I was really tired, so I ended up going to bed. I woke up early the next morning to finish studying and, to my shock and dismay, found notecards with random tangents about football quarterbacks and carrots amid conjugations and sentence structure. Another set of notes for an advertising class included random, tired, barely legible sentences like, “I’m not gonna try it though… I won’t get THAT tired.” Yet another set of advertising notes included this random interjected nonsense, which I now put in brackets: “It’s amazing how [sometimes you just don’t pay attention to how tall someone is] you start, and then all of a sudden midterms are upon you…”
3. Taking notes in class
This semester, while studying for an exam, I discovered a particular gem in the midst of class notes about Brahmans, Ashrama, and Buddhism. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seeds for sowing, will doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” It was barely legible, but I was able to recognize it. I’m glad my brain knows Psalm 126:5-6, even if it should have been writing about Veda rejection and paradox. At least I got back to taking notes on the next line, though some of those are completely illegible even now. I’m sure that will be particularly helpful when the test rolls around…
5. Writing papers
I wrote a two-page paper this morning between the hours of 6:00 and 7:00. It included various delicacies such as “easter border,” “their are,” and “the dynasty’s Kind[King?] Ashoka” that I discovered as I reread it this evening. However, I do not really remember the action of writing the paper, so I felt like I was reading it for the first time. This is not the first time this has happened. One time, I repeated two full paragraphs (my half-asleep brain must get copy/paste-happy). I’ve written “laugher” for “laughter,” “one” instead of “once,” and “she girl” instead of “the girl.” I’ve repeated the phrase “on Wednesday” twice in the same sentence. A rough draft of a paper had a particularly gripping closing sentence: “This semester is home, and I wasn’t Sister to some back. Sometims was long butt I’ve learned a nplot.” Thankfully, my grammar is good enough to where I can get away with a few “typos”…
Do you remember anything funny like this happening to you? I’d love to hear about it. Usually I’m able to keep my mind on track, but sometimes I’m just so tired that my poor brain starts shutting down without permission. It’s such a curious happening, and I’m always fascinated to see the results of these instances. Maybe one day an essay will write itself, and I’ll wake up the next morning with the week’s homework completed. Until then, I’ll just have to be satisfied with random, illegible musings of football and tall people.