This week has been Zombie Week at work. It has been Zombie Week elsewhere, too – I was on the phone with my fellow historian friend R last night and she described falling asleep with a pile of papers in her lap. There is something about the last two weeks of April where everyone seems to wander around glassy-eyed and we seem to talk about nothing but students and paperwork. (The students are a bit stressed too. I have one in particular who always looks like she’s about to be tipped over by her own backpack. Every time she hands me a quiz or a paper she gives me this pitiable look, as if this is a terrible, terrible situation we have found ourselves in and while she wishes the best to everyone concerned, she does not have high hopes. I want to give her a protein shake and a stack of US history flashcards.)
So, we will be doing US HISTORY TERROR DRILL REVIEW SESSION OF DEATH this week. I feel as if I ought to incorporate Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” into it somehow, just to inspire a sense of the urgency of the situation and also the promise that however terrifying it seems, the nightmare will end, but I suspect that this would 1. perhaps raise everyone’s anxiety level unnecessarily and 2. sow confusion. Inevitably, someone would tell me on the exam that the nullification crisis in the early 1830s was about South Carolina’s refusal to countenance federal regulation of mountain-top demon things. Although it must be said that John C. Calhoun would not be much more terrifying if he did unfurl himself from the top of a misty peak in eastern Europe.
Under the circumstances, beer, Lieder, and opera seria are in order. I have been happily absorbing the Met’s 2006 Idomeneo in little pieces over the past few weeks (they’ve got some German soprano singing Ilia, and she’s really rather startlingly good) and I think I may go back and watch the DVD version from Salzburg again. I haven’t seen it in ages.