It's not the reading and writing so much as the stepped-up tempo, the white heat of the end of the semester and the sizzling and popping of the synapses, the cascading flood of neurotransmitters fueled by coffee, yerba mate, and the bad food (as mentioned below).
You know it's bad when you find yourself finally in bed, the sky turning and lightening from violet to winter white, and on the flickering television is an adorable little penguin named Paz, with a squeaky child's voice, playing games and learning about life with his friends Pig, Dog, and Rabbit. The show is called "Ready, Set, Learn", and you LOVE it.
At least you love these animated shorts--kept to under eight minutes so as to not run over the shorter attention spans of preschoolers--and you realize that while the content is what some might choose to call "cheesy", it nevertheless serves as an aid to mental and emotional decompression. It's a sort of pre-sleep relaxation period. Paz and his mother, Big Penguin, have discussions over "sammiches" about the color of anger (red) and sadness (blue), as well as Paz's small stature, which we are all assured will change as he gets older. You realize that if you had a child, this is the sort of thing that you would like them to watch, as opposed to virtually everything else on the television.
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The thing is, I don't know if it's simply the fact that I'm burnt out, or if I really am so deeply touched by the subject matter (i.e. socialization, communion, our inherent need for love and companionship, our shared struggle for meaning) but I've been having a pretty visceral reaction to Paz lately.
I tend to get teary watching it.
I watched Paz "play circus" this morning, and he pretended that he was "The Great Penguini".
It was beautiful.
This is the life of the mind.