Quarter ends in symphonic finale

May 7, 2008

by Meredith Maines

It’s 4:30 a.m., and the garbage truck begins beeping its warning, picking up the dumpster behind Dudley. I’m still awake rewriting a research paper due at noon.

Thankfully it’s not often that I witness the garbage collector’s debut performance at ungodly hours. But this morning, the noise becomes an overture for other sounds I wouldn’t normally hear on my regular sleep schedule.

For almost another two hours, the only peep is the intermittent firings of the big air conditioner units outside.

Then, as if by a conductor’s signal, the sonata begins again at 6:14 a.m. in the form of a boisterous alarm clock. Another lets loose on its snooze setting at 6:41, forming a chorus in canon.

Just as I can finally close the lid of my laptop and those of my equally exhausted eyes, my neighbor’s TV clicks on.


The muffled murmurings of a morning announcer weasel their way in through uninsulated walls. Just this once would I prefer sleep to the voice of Early Show’s Harry Smith.

This orchestration, however uninvited, has become my collegiate theme song, an anthem to all-nighters. The quarter is almost over, but summer may still sing the same tune. I’ll still be living in a dorm, except not on Tech’s campus.

Come June 1, I’ll pack up and hop a plane to Columbia University’s internship housing in New York City. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep my journalist geek in check while serving on staff at Seventeen Magazine, a position I was grateful to receive thanks to Tech’s very own Julie Miller. I don’t think I’ll be mentioning to them that their publication was almost the topic of my journalism research paper this quarter. Can we say Ugly Betty?

Unless I get sent home early for too much enthusiasm, I’m planning to camp out for nine weeks in Midtown Manhattan with an unnamed roommate I have yet to meet.

Hopefully she’ll be okay waking up to Harry Smith and falling asleep to the voice of Anderson Cooper.

But for now I’m still pecking away at this paper. Procrastinating, I observe the sky jump a few notches on the color spectrum. Maybe lack of sleep has brought out my philosophical side, but I decide I should witness it more often. There’s something refreshing about watching the sun arrive, something calming knowing everyone sees the same one. And although soon I’ll be greeting it one hour before a sleepy Ruston, I hope it will have the same effect one time zone away.

Keep me from getting homesick and keep tabs on my blog, www.mm-ny.blogspot.com, or through The Tech Talk’s Web site, www.thetechtalk.org.

Meredith Maines is a sophomore communication design major minoring in journalism from Shreveport. E-mail comments to mhm015@latech.edu.