Today was fun. I have my first class, Celtic Literature, at the decent hour of 10:00 in the morning. Unfortunately, I managed to get such a late start that I ran out the door without consuming any breakfast. Those of you who know me are already shaking their heads and preparing a severe lecture for later. Believe me, I know it was not brilliant. I did have hazy, optimistic plans of getting a bite at the library cafe between classes.
Herein lies the problem: there is no “between classes”. Celtic Literature runs from 10:00 to 10:50. Technically, I have a ten minute break between Celtic Literature and Modern Gaidhlig, but since the building for the class was across campus, I had to spend those precious minutes rushing from one building to the next, making sure I arrived on time. Of course, it turned out that the room was double booked, so we all ended up trudging back to the original building. I could have actually gotten a snack if I had had some mysterious powers of foresight. Where was that useful fairy when I was born?
At any rate, I had my second class, in which my brain was quickly overwhelmed with a massive amount of spelling, grammar, and ridiculously difficult pronunciation. I learned so very much and so very little all at once. It is without a doubt the most difficult language I have ever come across, living or dead, but I take that as a challenge. I will not let it defeat me!
Straight after that lecture (we actually ran late), I rushed downstairs to my next class, Bibliography and Study Methods. Since we were late starting, we got out just in time for the seminar, in which a professor would give a presentation on the sixty years that the Scottish Studies department has officially existed.
That’s when the headache started. I knew it would be bad. An intense morning + zero food = migraine-infested Melissa. So, I did the most logical and yet dumbest thing I could possibly have done. Right as the lecture began, I took one of my prescription painkillers.
They are marvelous little pills, not as heavy duty as some that I’ve been on, but very effective in wiping out a migraine, especially if I catch it right at the onset, which I did. Go me, right?
There was just one tiny little problem. These pills have this side effect written quite explicitly on the bottle: “Intoxicated feelings.” I learned the hard way a few months back that, as per usual, I always get the funnest side effects of whatever medication I’m on. This one makes me extremely woozy and incapable of walking the traditional straight line that police used to be so fond of. I don’t become some sort of giggling idiot, but I certainly lose the ability to think properly.
For a while, I was forced to take it quite regularly and the effects became milder as my body became used to it. I also discovered that it was essential to take it with food to keep the effects from being too strong.
Remember that whole “I hadn’t eaten all day and it was after noon thing”? Yes and I hadn’t taken one of these pills in a few weeks. Scotland has been very kind to me as far as migraines go.
All this means that about fifteen minutes into the seminar, surrounded by about thirty professors, PhD students, and other postgraduates, I began to have trouble operating limbs and focusing my eyes. My head felt like a bowling ball and several people around me began to diverge into multiple, blurry specimens of humanity. I quickly propped my head on my hand and adopted an interested expression as I gazed hazily at the speaker. I copied down notes which make absolutely no sense, now that I look at them. I had a feeling that if I stood up, my legs would turn to jelly.
It was fortunate that I didn’t have to move or speak for the next forty-five minutes. When it was time to get up and hurry to my final two hour class on Middle Welsh translations, I tottered off and managed to avoid falling down the stairs and found the room, both of which are nothing short of miracles. The effects lessen after about an hour, so I knew I would begin to think, speak, and move a little better soon.
My final class has five people, plus the professor in it, so there is no real way to blend into the background. I had to explain exactly why I looked like I was about to fall over and was squinting confusedly at the professor as he went to explain word order, lenition, and all those delightful basic language elements such as nouns, articles, and verbs. Explaining why you are intoxicated by a medication, that no, you are not going to share, and no, they do not need to perform CPR if you pass out in a heap of incoherence is rather difficult when your brain is drifting in a happy cloud of drug-tinged Gaidhlig weather vocabulary and basic Middle Welsh grammar.
But at least I was allowed to eat a granola bar during class.