I know you probably have a “Surah Ya-Seen day” once in a while, too. You may call it something else, but I bet it’s still comparable to mine. Perhaps yours is known as “The Day from Hell” instead. I've always called mine “Surah Ya-Seen days” simply because it makes me feel less pissed off that way.
Surah Ya-Seen days usually occur the day after an all-nighter. The level of stress and annoyance varies, depending on whether I have a paper due that day, or a midterm or final exam to take.
Yesterday was a great example of a Surah Ya-Seen day: I was up the night before, skimming through three cultural anthro books in preparation for a seven-page paper due yesterday (which, incidentally, I hadn’t started at the time), and racking my brain for the perfect thesis sentence. I had great quotes, a reference sheet in progress, a slick intro, and a very nice conclusion to boot, but did I have a thesis? Of course not. Come seven a.m., I tried to eat breakfast, and discovered that chewing took far too much effort. Sat there in exhaustion and stared at Shereen and our ummy for a bit, before deciding I had better get a move on. Running late, needed gas, and thus gave myself an annoyed lecture for not stopping to fill up my tank the night before, when I had had plenty of time. (I talk to myself a lot, in case you didn’t know. No, I don’t move my lips.) And still no thesis.
Once in the car, I listened to two tracks of my favorite mix CD, then impatiently stabbed at the "on" button for the radio. Listening to Michelle Branch scream out, “Are You Happy Now?” irritated me yet further, because I had already pretty much figured out I wasn’t happy at the moment, thank you very much. And I generally like cloudy days in September. But not on Surah Ya-Seen days, which is why I narrowed my eyes up at the sky in my best impression of a “Don’t you dare” look. I was actually talking to the sky, but God ultimately took pity on me and decided rain wasn’t a good idea that day after all. And I realized that my latest favorite juice (strawberry-raspberry) tastes like medicine if you drink it right after brushing your teeth. Wonderful. And everyone and their momma was driving much too slowly for my taste.
So yeah, music never works for me on Surah Ya-Seen days. Instead, I scrabbled around and came up with my favorite Surah Ya-Seen tape (recited by Shaykh Ali Abdur-Rahman Al-Hudhaify—masha'Allah, the most beautiful recitation I've heard so far), and turned it up real loud. I turned it down real quick though, as soon as I remembered I still needed to brainstorm a thesis sentence. But it was good background sound while I struggled to concentrate and mentally string together the perfect set of words.
The computer labs on campus were already full, but I finally found myself a computer. My finger raced to type up the sentences I dimly remembered from my drive. I was abrupt and visibly impatient with the guy from my anthro class who asked to borrow my mini-stapler. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he was printing out his anthro paper while I was still barely had a thesis. Plus, he almost stole my reference sheet, which printed out at the same time as his paper. “Hey, that’s mine,” I said, while he backed up a step and stared at me warily. Somehow, I’m always mean to people on Surah Ya-Seen days. I should wear a bright “Stay Clear” warning sign, no?
I rushed to my first class, only to find that we were watching a video (something about the relationship between advertising and personhood) instead of having a lecture. Shoulda just stayed in the computer lab, dammit, I muttered (mentally), and settled down to writing transition sentences for each paragraph of my paper while the video played. (Did you know that “we value humans less if we’re surrounded by objective representations of them”? Yes, well, now you know.)
Rushed to another computer lab after class. Stood in line for almost fifteen minutes, wondering impatiently why everyone and their momma always seems to have papers due right about the same time I do. Finally, I was at the head of the line, and the girl behind me asked, “Do you want that computer over there?”, gesturing vaguely. I thought she was pointing at a Mac, so I declined. Only after she passed by me did I realize I had just turned down a PC. Thus followed yet another mental lecture, which was enough to keep me busy while I waited ten more minutes for a free computer. After typing up four pages, I had to switch labs, so I wandered all the way across campus. Logged into the computer, busted out with my disk, and realized I hadn’t saved my paper and related files onto the disk. I'm pretty sure I stopped breathing for a second. I stared at the screen in horror, then put my head down in my hands, scrubbed at my face, and mumbled, “What the hell is wrong with you?” (Only, I didn’t use “hell,” but a much more profane—and less profound—word. So much for that no-cussing rule I started last Ramadan. I was doing so well, too. Sort of.) So I had to run all the way across campus, figure out which computer I had been using, walk up to the girl there, and say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry, but…” She gave me a weird look (probably thinking, “What’s up with this freak?”), but let me take over her computer for a sec. And, yes, thank goodness, all my files were still there on the hard drive. Good one, genius. Ran back across campus. Skipped my second class and worked on the damn paper some more.
I was majorly hungry throughout the day, but I had to ignore that. I missed lunch with friends at the best sandwich place in the whole entire world (no, I’m serious. It’s that good).
What’s even sadder, I missed a chance to see Dennis again. (I hear he’s been asking about me.)
Emailed my paper out to the TA at exactly 4:50 p.m.
Then I stopped by a convenience store to pick up some juice before hitting the freeway to head home. On my way to the register, I found out that Pringles now come in colors like “Ragin’ Red” and “Electric Blue.” Not the canisters; the chips themselves. I stared. I blinked a few times. I stood in the aisle, and laughed and laughed. The owner/manager dude worriedly asked me if I was alright. “Yes, thank you,” I said, and grinned all the way up to the register.
I smirked all the way home. And even though I found out, halfway through my drive, that the screws on my favorite (and only) pair of sunglasses—yes, the little, rectangular, yellow-orange gradient ones—are loose, rendering them unfit to wear until I fix the problem, and even though that meant I had to drive the remaining thirty miles with the sun in my face, it was okay. Because I was listening to Surah Ya-Seen again, and laughing about those Pringles that somehow managed to make up for the whole jacked-up day.
Es ist die Wahrheit: Pringles rocken das Haus. And alhamdulillah for all the things that make us laugh, no matter how silly—especially on Surah Ya-Seen days.