On Wednesday, I had a really bad day. Nothing really brought this on and nothing could seem to make it better. I felt a bit put upon, having to go to school to meet with my advisor, who is a supremely kind man but lacking in some essential social skills (such as how to signal that a conversation is completed). I was frustrated that it was only November 1st and already sitting around -8° C. I was pissed off about having to buy a bus pass for the month, which was part of the larger irritation that I don't have a car here. I had a headache. I signed into my online course to see nearly 200 messages I was supposed to read, knowing full well I didn't care about 86% of them (I'm not entirely convinced schools need librarians. Oh, and librarians may be the most undereducated profession in the world). I had been at work until midnight the night before, feeling completely unnecessary after about 9.45. Oh, and on Tuesday I turned in what may very well be the worst assignment of my library school career, which is saying a lot if it outranks some of the other inane things I've done here.
All these are the typical worries of my days (after all, my foundational narrative is "my life is so hard"), and therefore don't get me down too often. But something about the day just really laid me out. It registered in what my friend termed the "constantly disgusted face" I kept making. My mood also became clear after I saw Running with Scissor and called it funny while my colleague thought it was "so depressing". I was definitely a tourist in Schadenfreudeland (the papers for my resident visa have yet to come through).
At any rate, all this whinging is adding up to something. I was doing dishes later that night (doing housework always makes me feel slightly better. how creepy 50s-wife-of-an-abusive-alcoholic is that?), and came to my cheese grater. I was soaping it up and got a flash in my mind of the scene from The Backslider where Frank takes the skin off the back of his hand. I momentarily considered scraping my thumb the against the holes to draw blood. I stopped myself because, well frankly, I'm not crazy. This flash, though, reminded me of Frank's vision of the cowboy Jesus and the question He asks the flesh-is-weak protaganist:
"Why can't you believe my blood was enough?" Jesus said. "Why do you have to shed yours too?"
I'm not suggesting that everything was ok after remembering the Expiation. Far from it. I still have to face another semester of library school. The winter will still be cold. And I'll still fall short of the glory of God and so on and so on. But, I like remembering good books. And The Backslider is definitely one of those. Oh, and I really like what Jesus did, blah, blah, blah.