It's funny how the smallest things are the ones that decide our day to day mood. Case in point: there are some big forces at work in my life, at moment. Dissertation-wise, there is regular writing, and a sense that I'm moving forward. Workwise, there's that First Person Scholar launch, which I mentioned previously. On a personal level, I tried out speed dating last Sunday, and the results of that have been... interesting. And I'm heading back to Saskatchewan in a little over a week, and I'm really looking forward to seeing my family again. So yes: some big things.
And yet, at this exact moment, it's the little things that are having the biggest impact on my mood in the here and now. In the here and now, I'm at a coffee shop, after spending the morning in my office, working. So the first big effect on my mood is the small thing called "drinking a cup of coffee." I pretty much never drink coffee except when I'm at a coffee shop, and so the caffeine has a big influence on me; if I stop typing, I'm pretty sure I can hear myself vibrating. So that's one. The other is much more related to this particular coffee shop. It has two washrooms. In one washroom is a sink. Are you with me so far? Great. Now, this sink has a single knob faucet. It looks like this:
And, even though I've been coming to this coffee shop for about a year now, for the life of me, I could never figure out how it worked. We had a similar looking faucet at my childhood home in the upstairs bathroom. Turning clockwise was warm, counterclockwise was cold. But this faucet didn't turn clockwise or counterclockwise. For the longest time, I assumed it was broken, and darted into the other washroom to finish my ablutions. Then I noticed the sink was often wet, which meant that it was not broken--I just couldn't figure it out. Didn't turn left, didn't turn right. Can't push it forward, can't push it downward. My lexicon of faucet manipulation was exhausted. It was only today, in some perverse pique of perception, that I pushed it backward, water streamed forth, and I felt disproportionately proud of myself for figuring out how a sink works. That's small thing two.
And three. Three is about a door. to start, it's important to note that a university locks most of its doors on the weekend. Special locations, such as libraries, often have some hours, but most of the buildings are locked when it's not a weekday between 9 to 5. So if you're a student with offices in such a building, you're out of luck getting in. Or, to phrase it personally, I'm out of luck. Except for That Door. There is one door to the building my office is housed in that is almost always unlocked. (I will note that there are a lot of other doors between the would-be enterer and the rest of the building that you must have keys to in order to progress further; this isn't a "how to rob the grad student buidling post.) And that unlocked door means a lot to me. It means I have access to my office at any time. It means that, whatever is happening in my personal life, there is a place for me, a professional place where I can dwell. A place for me. (And for my very nice office mate.) This week, I lost that: they're doing excavation in front of the doorway, and they've roped off the door. And every day, I go to leave campus, I go on my usual route, I see the door, roped off, and I am infuriated all over again. Honestly, who starts an excavation in December, anyway? Yes, it's been unseasonally warm, but still. Still. There hasn't actually been a weekend between the excavation starting and now, and I don't work most weekends anyway. It's the lack of the option to do so that gets my goat. You took my door, universe! I want it back! That's small thing three.
Three small things. And yet, at this moment in time, they matter to me as much as any large thing. People are funny that way. Or at least I am.