To Live and Die in Lab

The thing of it is, readers, is that I am a writer.

I do my work in an abstract way; I work by myself, in my head, in my room in the middle of the night. I don’t have to put on pants or get out of bed. I’m my own austere boss (with a secret heart of gold), my own horrifically lazy employee (who, to be honest, is an embarrassment to the company most days). I have writer’s hands. I cry . A lot. Like, so much. Like an awkward amount of crying, usually over nothing more serious than that commercial for Denny’s where the employees help a really old man build his own Grandslam. It just hits me deep, readers. Anyways, I’m a writer. That’s how I work. But, this year, I seem to be having a tremendous difficulty keeping up with my lifestyle.

Let me explain.

Two of my classes this semester—two completely different, polar-opposite classes—are forcing me out of my lifestyle and making me be an actual human on an interacting level. It’s disgusting and horrible and I love it. Like I said, the classes are complete 180 flips of each other; class one is my introductory Stagecraft class for the theatre department and the other is my Geological studies class in Boone. Their overlapping characteristic, besides being graced with my lofty sarcastic asides and Denny’s Grandslam tears on a daily basis, is the fact that they both have a lab attached to them.

In Stagecraft lab, we build sets for the theatre productions and hang out in rafters in attempts to woo opera singers with our quirky charm and tragic backstories. So far, we’ve been unsuccessful. But I shan’t be abandoning hope, readers. There’s cleaning, painting, and that thing where you have a hammer and you use it to hit things and it works… I guess? Yeah, that. There’s a ton of that.

My Geology lab is a little bit rock, a little bit of roll. There’s fieldtrips to geological sites, rocks, map making, rocks, studying earthquake ramifications, and rocks. We also look at the occasional rock too, if there’s time. We’re doing experiments with data and statistics and bottles of chemicals that could do something bad if they were opened. Which is always just good fun, readers.

These labs are so far outside my comfort zone, they actually managed to circle back around and land right in the middle of it again. I’m not use to any part of them—they are incredibly hands-on and crying is generally frowned upon. But they are important in the way that eating vegetables is important…except vegetables aren’t fun…or extensively hands-on usually…nor is there homework for vegetables…

Okay, ignore that. Vegetables were a bad example. Let me try again.

 I’m not use to any part of the labs—they are incredibly hands-on and crying is generally frowned upon. But they are important in the way that going to parties are important. See, I hate parties—I hate putting pants on, I hate loud music, and I hate people judging me for crying whenever Denny’s commercials come on. I know these things resolutely and I’ll go to the party bitter, cantankerous, and annoyed at the general proceedings. Most times I’ll leave even more bitter, cantankerous, and annoyed at life, the universe, and everything.

But sometimes I won’t. Sometimes I’ll go and the music that is playing is still loud enough to cause glasses do that Jurassic Park thing, but it’s actually…pleasant. I don’t mind it. I’ll find that the pants I was forced to put on are actually getting more and more comfortable as the party goes on, I’m better at wearing them than I had anticipated. Maybe that Denny’s Grandslam commercial will come on and everyone will cry, not just me. The party is awesome, I leave content, good-natured, and happy. And you don’t have to eat vegetables.

That’s lab. I went into both of those classes so completely expecting to fail miserably because I’m writer, I can’t do things. But I’m actually doing great. I love both those classes, both those professors. They are forcing me to try new things, to work outside of my head and meet new people. In the end, they tricked me into liking them. But, damn. I’m not even mad.

Until next week,


Ashley is a Junior Creative Writing from Payette, Idaho.