02 December 2006

Perfect Day

Human emotions are a weird thing. (I know, I know, another famous understatement from Liz.) Sometimes it takes so little to swing our mood from joyous to depressed or vice versa. The wrong inflection in a voice throws us into doubt, but then a grade on an assignment sends us back up. Every little thing causes us to be tossed to and fro. At other times, a mood is inexplicably immovable, resistant to all outside forces--you could fail a test and not even notice it happened.

Yesterday was one of the latter days for me. For some inexplicable reason, I was up on a high that nothing could bring down. And strangely, everything that would have been bad turned out well. I woke up too late to purchase tickets to the BYU bowl game for my dad, but he managed to get some anyway. I hadn't finished my math homework, but then my rhetoric class got cancelled so I suddenly had time. I did poorly on a test, but miraculously the teacher decided to offer a make-up quiz. It was bizarre how everything went my way yesterday.

And then there was my miraculous timing. Since I was trying to figure out the bowl ticket thing in the morning, I was late to OChem, but I arrived just in time for the in-class quiz, which I wouldn't have been able to make up. Then just as I was leaving class, the computer repair place called to tell me my part had come in. (My power cord blew over Thanksgiving break, and I had been waiting for one to come in.) I ran into a couple of people just when I was thinking about them.

When I got home from school, I flipped on the TV to find an episode of Star Trek was just beginning! I had been dying to watch some TNG for quite a while. (It was even a Data episode, which is my favorite kind. They always deal with issues of what it means to be human--very interesting. To top off the goodness, the next episode was a time travel one!) I used the commerical break to go start some laundry, and just as I had finished loading the machines, a whole bunch of other people walked in. Had I been five minutes later, I would have been out of luck for at least an hour. All very small things, but put together, it made me feel like I had entered some strange twilight zone.

This whole experience begs the question: which is the cause and which is the effect? Does the quality of our day control our attitude, or is it our attitude that makes a day seem so wonderful? And if it's the latter, as I suspect it is, what is responsible for an inexplicably good attitude? You can try to convince yourself that today will be good, but it never seems to quite work as long as you're aware you're tricking yourself. A good day has to spring up on you suddenly.

Then again, there's something about good days that can be even worse than having a bad day. If you realize that you're having a good day, then you have to take care not to do anything that might break whatever magic controls these things. About noon yesterday when I realized things were going perfectly, I went into a minor panic. I was almost afraid to do anything that might risk shattering this mood. Perfection is a burden. When I was a kid, I would concentrate hard on making each day perfect, doing things in a ritual way to prevent anything uncertain from damaging the day. After a while, my mom used to tell me that I had to make five mistakes a day, just to keep me from obsessing about messing it up.

Like most good things, perfection only works in small doses. But when you have it, the power is intoxicating.


connor said...

And here I thought that my mom was the only female on this planet that would admit to being a TNG fan.. :)

Liz Muir said...

Um, nope. You can count in me, my mother, and my sister, plus a few acquaintances from Quark, the BYU Sci-fi club.