Clare Sheehan: Deadline at dawn

It’s 2 am and I’m beginning to get delirious. My essay is due in 10 hours and I’m only halfway through my introduction. Since 10 PM, I’ve used 3 pounds of […]

It’s 2 am and I’m beginning to get delirious. My essay is due in 10 hours and I’m only halfway through my introduction. Since 10 PM, I’ve used 3 pounds of skype credit, drawn two pictures of cats (don’t ask), and have near exhausted my 72 minutes of Megavideo, none of which are helping me understand the political ethics of Chairman Mao. While I pace around my room, underlining my short loans with red ink and gnawing my nail beds into oblivion, the rest of my flatmates are snuggled in their beds amidst the throes of peaceful, stress-free sleep.


This seems painfully unfair to me. I know I’m disorganized and have a set of procrastination skills that make me a shoe-in for the Slacker Hall of Fame, but must they insist on mocking me with their dulcet snores? I plunge down the stairs in a huff, making sure to throw all my weight on the steps that squeak the most. Two can play this game, I think to myself, as I barrel into the kitchen. I raid every last one of my flatmates’ cupboards, scouring for the supplies I’ll need for the long night ahead. Naturally I have no food of my own to add to the pool, as I finished off my last pack of Cool Ranch Doritos this afternoon and Marmaris closed 30 minutes ago. At the end of my pillage, I’ve acquired half a leftover veg pot and a container of mango chutney. Who eats that shit anyway? They probably won’t even notice.


It’s 2:30 now, and I figure it’s time to hunker down. I copy a quote into a word document and hit the thesaurus button a few times to make it sound like my own. Progress made. Only 1,800 words to go – take that flatmates! Your snoozy heckles will not deter my academic brilliance. I decide to reward myself with an impromptu dance party. Before long, I’m belting P!nk’s ‘M!ssundazstood’ album at the top of my lungs. It occurs to me that the rest of the house may not appreciate my volume, but the lyrical harmonies in ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’ have always been more of a lullaby to me than any verse of ‘Rockabye Baby.’ Surely my flatmates feel the same, right?


1,500 words left – I should probably pee. Stumbling into the bathroom, I’m amazed at the assortment of toiletries my flatmates have. I’ve always been a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner kind of girl, so I’m marveling at the sight of all these lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics. Now is probably as good a time as any to give myself a make over. I pocket a palette of eye shadow and a tube of lipstick I recognize as the color my flatmate applies to her mouth on nights out. Once back in my room I use the lipstick, an eyeliner, and tips from a Youtube ‘How-To’ video to paint a Spiderman mask over my eyes. The makeover may not have upped my word count, but boy did I look badass.


I pass out sometime around sunrise, my essay unfinished and my face sticky from the mango chutney I attempted to use as eyebrow wax (Caution: this method does not work). Around 10 am, my flatmate knocked respectfully on my door and asked if she could borrow my computer charger. ‘Sure,’ I say, ‘What’s mine is yours.’ As I handover the charger, her eyes fixate on my desk. ‘Is that my lipstick?’ she shouts in disbelief. Guiltily, I turn towards the desk and see the remnants of her nearly full lipstick smeared across the surface. ‘What’s mine is yours, remember?’ I joke, trying to make light of the situation.


Funnily enough, I don’t think she agrees.