Monday, November 20, 2006

Time Out

I can get up at 6 a.m. and start grading papers right away, but I'm pretty much stark raving mad by around 2:30 p.m. I start hopping up and down out of the chair, looking for excuses or naps or distractions or snacks. It usually takes an afternoon movie to keep me in my seat, but the movie has to be very carefully chosen. It is absolutely critical that I have seen it many times before, or I will end up actually watching the movie and not grading.

I usually pick Gigi. I'm sure, given a bit of time, I could do some sort of feminist reading of Gigi, but I never ever will. Cad that he is, Louis Jourdan makes the perfect Prince Charming. I willingly suspend all disbelief. Seeing Gigi open the door in that gorgeous white dress makes me catch my breath every time. I love the ice rink, the smoking jackets, the parks, the donkeys, Maxim's, the jewels, the place settings, the bathtub, the ortolans, the motor car, absolutely everything. Gigi, however, makes my husband nervous. If he opens the front door and finds it on, he slowly backs out, knowing that the playing of Gigi is usually a bad sign about my stress level.

This weekend, therefore, I was forced to pick another film to grade by and was somewhat successful with Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. I've seen it a few times before and there are enough passages without speaking that I can make my way through a few paragraphs. The subtitles are a drawback though, as they demand my attention on the screen and not on the forty fascinating essays about the differences between high school and community college. I was more successful with the commentary tracks as the narrator spoke generally about Cocteau, French film making during the occupation, the fairy tale, and more. It worked like a charm and I managed to grade about 50 papers plus several homework assignments.

Even with the help of a movie though, I absolutely have to stop grading by about 5:30. It's like a switch gets flipped, which is totally arbitrary of course. I had no problems watching more movies: The Thomas Crown Affair (the original), Dummy (on whatever they call UPN now), Always for Pleasure (at part of the St. Louis Film Festival), and Prime Suspect 7 (how is it that I never saw these before!?!). Yet grading stopped cold at a certain point, waiting to be resumed at 6:45 this morning.
I never have this problem with knitting. Other than that my hands would go numb, I'd get shooting pains in my elbows, and my left hip would ache from knitting with my legs curled under me, I would have no problems knitting from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. And those are just teeny problems, really.
During all that movie watching, I decided the first lacy sock was too tight in the foot, finished the second lacy sock by switching at the heel to a larger needle (during Thomas Crown), frogged the first lacy sock back to the heel (during CBS Sunday Morning), and reknit about half the foot (during Always for Pleasure). I wore mismatched socks to the film festival because I could not wait to have two done.
Depending on movie selection and grading progress, I may be wearing mismatched socks for some time to come, but I'm guessing the socks will win out.

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