Last semester, I discovered a nifty trick to beat both the monotony of grading and my attention deficit tendencies: I went out to the coffee shop to grade. I had my iPod going against a backdrop of coffee grinding and chatter. Too distracting, you say? Well, not really. I'm a millennial, if you recall.
Most of all, being in a public place took away the distractions that really interfered with my grading: those little tasks like tidying up or washing dishes or feeding the cat or even simply getting up and pacing restlessly. Yes, my messy room is distracting when it boils down to either grading or cleaning. Coffee shop is downright spartan by comparison, especially since I'd hardly go and volunteer to wipe down the counters or tidy up.
So that was the plan today: go out to the coffee shop and grade. It was a brilliant plan, considering the amount of grading that's piling up. There was one teeny tiny itty bitty really really small--OK, you got me--ginormous hitch in my plan: The Bookstore.
They sent me coupons in the mail, the last of which expired today. Naturally, I had to use it. Want not, waste not. The plan was simple. Go to the bookstore, find a book, pay, leave, and head next door for coffee and grading fun time.
Oi vey. I can go through a mall in half an hour. I can be in and out of Wal-Mart or a shoe store in five minutes (without talking to a single soul, no less). Craft stores, department stores, and computer stores I can clear in, oh, somewhere around 15 or 20 minutes on a good day. I possess the ability to be efficient in my shopping. Except where books are concerned. And it's even more pronounced in a used bookstore where the inventory is always changing and they have an ample selection of clearance books. Egads, I know that store like the back of my hand but it never ceases to fascinate me. There's always something new, whether it's a book on cremation or a children's book I remember fondly or even a cheap Norton critical edition (lit geek; I freely admit it)... I never leave with what I planned to buy. Most times, I don't even bother actively looking for a specific book, instead letting serendipity take its course.
I lost track of time. I was there maybe an hour, probably a little longer. That time's gone. Pfft. Disappeared. And what do I have to show for it? A few books, a couple CDs, and roughly 10 bucks squandered. I could've used that time to grade; I average about 3 essays an hour. Considering the number of people not turning in essays, three essays is a significant chunk.
Oh well. It'll get done eventually. In the meantime, I've had my coffee and done some grading--an hour's worth. Guess they balanced out.
In unrelated news, this humble blog's gotten 400 hits. Shoot, I remember looking at the hit count a month or so ago, when I only had 86 (precise number, I know), wondering how long it'd take to get to 100. Pretty nifty.
Wonder how long it'll take to get to 1,000...