Just taking a moment to chill before classes tonight. Finals are next week, so lots of studying on the agenda this weekend, after work, of course. This weekend work schedule doesn't affect me until I have to get up and go to classes on my two days off, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I start cursing and grunting, you know, acting like myself. I absolutely cannot wait until this semester is over, even if I will have to start paying my own way to work since my student bus pass will expire. I'm just too tired to enjoy any free time I have. I'm already sad because not only will I miss attending the Kentucky Derby this weekend, but things have been so crazy this year thus far, I had not even had time to watch any of the horses competing this year. So no Derby, no wild weekend in Louisville, not even an official pick. I'll just have to pick up where I left off next year. I'm so tired that I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago sweating and trying to catch my breath, afraid to stand because I was so dizzy. The lady I visited in Memphis says that those could be symptoms of a mild heart attack. I don't know about that, but it wasn't a pleasant feeling. At least a couple of people who irritate me at work are off this week, so that's some peace. I will be finding a new apartment come June or July, I just haven't decided which ghetto I'm moving to since I can't afford to go back near the lake on this salary. But my ladyfriend has heard me killing spiders while talking to her on the phone several times, and she has indicated that she's staying her ass right there in Memphis until I get out of that basement. Can't blame her one bit.
Finally, I haven't decided if I think all of the attention that the kids going for the spelling bee title have received in the last few years is frightening or cute. There's the movies about spelling, as well as a play running here in Chicago. There's the national media focus on the most, um, unique spellers; they played that clip of the boy fainting last year so many times that I can see it in my mind's eye clearly as if I just saw it aagin. Today, I just read that the National Spelling Bee finals will be televised in primetime on ABC this year, following the ten years or so that it has been televised live in the afternoon on ESPN2. I guess that's not so bad. I didn't have cameras in my face when I misspelled "somizdot" in the 1990 National Spelling Bee, but I was already nervous enough in that auditorium full of people staring at me and my 14-year-old manboobs, so I don't know if cameras would have mattered. What sent me reeling a few years ago was finding an online gambling site with posted odds for each speller. I don't know how the hell anyone can handicap a field of over 200 8th-graders (actually, whatever grade each happens to be, but 8th is the limit) from all over the country, but absolutely any method is wrong. If you go by the stereotypical name of the contestant--i.e., making the favorite a girl named "Patel" because those India natives sure are smart--then that's ignorant and racist. If you go by location, then that's dumb because the best spellers don't come from the same city or area every year. If you go by past experience--some spellers have competed in the Nationals before, maybe even three or four times--then that's somewhat understandable, but then how do you rank all the ones that are rookies? And of course, you can't go by age because they're all about the same, with maybe ten or twenty outliers age 11 or younger. I don't understand it at all. It's enough for the kids to deal with just to have made it that far. Do they need Uncle Willie having a secret talk with them before they fly to Washington about how they really have to do their best because there's a C-note riding on it? Do they need Vito and his henchmen approaching them outside their hotel rooms offering special favors if they slip on a word in the 4th round? Or threatening them if they don't slip? Seems silly, but when you talk about gambling, stranger things have happened.