And Now...The Twilight Zone Brought To You By UALR

Yesterday was a weighty day for me. I felt the weight all day bearing down on me as if I were caught in a vice grip and that it was continually being tightened.

Starting from the beginning, I was supposed to write my financial aid appeal letter weeks ago. I just got around to doing it yesterday. Not because I've been busy or anything, but because I've been avoiding it. As a matter of fact, I've been doing a rather excellent job not thinking about anything regarding school.

*Cue Scarlet O'Hara-Stage Right*

So, I wrote it-the dreaded letter, which turned out to be indescribably easier than I thought it would be. I guess it's in those times of anxiety and procrastination that I don't trust my verbosity. I have a tendency to write very long letters, very long blog posts, and when I'm excited or completely jacked on caffeine-talk. A lot. So much so that at times I've felt the muscles of my mouth actually getting fatigued. Usually, though, I don't talk very much. (I know that's hard to believe, but it's true.) I make sarcastic comments here and there and I can hold a decent, intelligent conversation on most topics, but I am generally introverted.

I digress. Imagine that.

After I finished writing the appeal letter, which included two pictures (I figured the pictures would really bring home my appeal) I was proud of myself for rolling out a 4-page letter with pictures in about 30 minutes. I then tried to print it with my fancy all-in-one printer/copier. The problem was that it was printing the pictures in black and white. I wanted them to be in color. So I figured I would just poke around on Microsoft Word and the printer software on my computer. I was confident that I would find something that would show me how to keep the text of the letter black, but print the pictures in color. No dice.

Panic rising.

I cursed to myself and thought, "I've printed color documents with this before. Why can't I do it now?" As I look back on it now, I realize that the color documents I've printed on my printer before have been images, not images with text.

Bugger me sideways.

All of this added to the fact that my printer must either not like me anymore or it's pre-menstrual. I say this because it repeatedly had paper jams. I would have to pull the back plate off the printer and wrangle the jammed paper out. (I felt like I was trying to grab one of my cats out from under the couch when they were pissed and hissing at me.) Then, I would press the Resume button on the printer and hear a little ding-like sound coming from my computer. I would look at the screen to see that the printer had so kindly sent a message to my computer that popped up in a little window, that "The printer is out of paper."

The printer was not out of paper.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out why this cycle kept maddeningly repeating itself. (Was my printer someone I had pissed off in it's former life? Was it possessed? Maybe I should have laid hands on it.) Also, to add to my panic and frustration, on the odd occasion that the printer did actually print something, it's paper feed would draw like 3 or 4 pages of paper at a time.

More panic. Lump in throat threatening to loose Niagra Falls. More cursing.

As an aside, I never cease to be surprised at the coarseness of my language in these sorts of situations, I believe I could make the most dedicated libertine blush and shy away from me.

Digressing again. Back to my world going to Hell on a greasy Slip-N-Slide.

What I finally wound up doing after trying and failing to rip large chunks of hair from my head was to transfer the whole document, pictures included, to a disk. I thanked Jesus profusely that I even had an empty disk on which to transfer this material, despite the fact that a gaggle of "Goddammits" had proceeded from my mouth just moments before.

Fresh and bitter water from the same spring? Nevertheless, I plundered onward.

In addition to the letter I had to give to the Financial Aid department appealing their canceling of my financial aid for this spring semester, I had to get a letter from my psychiatrist and find a bill from UAMS to prove that I indeed was seeing a psychiatrist. One would think that by now, since this is my third financial aid appeal for the same reason-emotional instability due to severe emotional disorders-that they would have figured out by now that I'm not joking around about this. (They got a letter from my psychiatrist included with my last appeal too.)

I started calling my psychiatrist's office the day before, freaked out but trying not to sound freaked out, and bugged the office staff to death trying to see when or even if my doctor was going to write the letter for me. She finally called me. She said she would write the letter and leave it at the front desk for me to pick up.

I took a Klonopin and went to bed after that.

Back to yesterday, before I left the house, I had gathered up my disk with my financial aid appeal letter on it (hoping that it really did burn onto the disk because I didn't have time to check that it did), my purse, my cell phone-then I remembered I needed the bill from UAMS. The Financial Aid office said they needed a recent bill, but all I could find was one from last January. Besides that, I needed one more thing: the form from UALR that I got from the Financial Aid office that had to be with all the other paperwork.

*Cue chicken running around with head cut off-Stage Left*

Full-on panic attack. Emptying of entire contents of purse. Destroying the top of my desk and the contents of it's drawers. Hyperventilation. More cursing (when I could catch my breath). Entire body shaking uncontrollably.

On the millionth time that I checked the previously dumped out contents of my purse on the table and praying at the same time, "Please Jesus let it be here or let it be in the car." Amidst my panicked shuffling of papers, I finally found it.

....and the heavens opened and the angels sang

I breathed what evidently was a very loud sigh of relief because my dad heard it from his recliner in the living room with the tv on. He said from his recliner, "What are you doing?" Sarcastic and irritated that he was even thinking of speaking to me while I was in this state, I replied a bit too loudly, "I'M HAVING A PANIC ATTACK. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

*insert two Klonopin here*

After which, I opened the garage door with a grandiose swish worthy of the best B actor and slammed it so hard when I went out that I felt the walls of the garage tremble.

I drove to Kinko's in Little Rock (unbelievably there's not any sort of place in Benton or Bryant that I can find that offers those kind of office-y-type services) to fax my precious, hardwoneventhoughIpanicked, documents. When I got to Kinko's, I told the guy at the front desk that I needed to download a document from a disk and he pointed me to their self-service computers. Keep in mind that it is only about a 10-15 minute drive from my house to Kinko's so I was still in full-on panic mode. I foolishly thought that I would find someone there who would empathize with my obvious distress and help me. I was wrong.

But, I wound up successfully downloading my document with the pictures looking excellent by the way. So, I made my way over to fax machine sort of in a daze (panic attacks always leave me feeling like that commercial they used to show where they show an egg frying in a pan and say, "This is your brain on drugs."), managed to fax all of my 7 documents successfully and pay for them. I thought I was done and yes I was relieved, but still shaking. Then, this little voice in my head said to me, "You should call the Financial Aid office to make sure that they actually got what you just faxed." So I called. The lady who answered the phone had the most monotone voice I've ever heard add to that her freaky tendency to keep repeating herself to me. Let me explain. I asked her to verify that my fax had arrived. You know, to make sure that they got it and that they got all of it. She said, "I'm sorry I cannot access that information for you right now". I thought I was talking to an automated voice thing. You know, the ones that talk to you when you're on hold? I said, "I just need to know whether or not it's there." She said, again, with the same automaton voice, "I cannot access that information for you right now". I asked, "Why?". Surprisingly, the automated voice changed it's reply and said, "There's only one person who gets the faxes and distributes them. I can't do that."


So, a bit weirded out, I said, "Sooooo, you can't get the faxes because there's only one person who does it?" The automaton said, "Yes." Incidentally, this is the only time she said 'yes' during the entire conversation. If you can call it a conversation. I think it was more like talking to a pod-person. Anyway, pod-person kept repeating that same phrase to me, "I cannot access that information for you right now." Finally, I gave up. I mean, what can you do when the pod-people have come and taken over the Financial Aid office?

Later on that day, at about 5:30 (the FA office doesn't close 'till 6) I went to campus and actually gave them all the hard copies I had faxed a few hours earlier. The thing is that the whole point of faxing them my information was to not have to go up to the campus because I've been sick (today is the culmination of the headacheysnottysneezyachiness) and didn't want to have to trek all the way across the freakin' campus just to give the pod-people 7 pages of paper.



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