Difficult To Be Really Present With a Headache
ORIGINAL VERSION: GENRE: NONFICTION
I'm currently sitting on the third step from the front of the fountain at taft garden. I have never noticed these peculiar bugs before but they are tiny, tiny flies or mosquitoes of a creamy tan color. They are floating so gracefully, so carefree, gliding around in circles. I wonder if they have any agenda or if they are simply enjoying themselves, enjoying their life. They don't seem in pursuit of anything but rather just trailling around and around in a random motion. But of course I'm not certain. The sun is peeking through the clouds, trying to force its way through so that although the light around me is a grey-white, I still cannot comfortably look up because the sun is still bright. Maybe I could find a deeper meaning in that. I wish I could but at the moment, it is difficult for me to be truly present because all I can feel is either
a) a headache from nearly four hours of intense concentration and running around in Organic Chemistry laboratory
b) a headache from the acetone fumes I accidentally inhaled while washing my glassware with it
c) a headache from swirling things with dangerous and corrosive solutions (I was extracting caffeine from tea).
d) all of the above.
NEW VERSION: GENRE: TRAGEDY
Sitting on the third step from the front of the fountain, I notice diminutive flies of a brown color gliding through the air. I cannot imagine where they are headed or what they pursue however I intuitively suspect they are not headed towards any particular locale. It is difficult to keep them in eyesight because the light reflecting the environment wavers between being too bright and too dim for my eyes. Suddenly the past flickers before my mind.
The Erlenmeyer flask before me was empty. It waited patiently to be filled with dichloromethane, a corrosive chemical that is dangerous when inhaled and even more dangerous if allowed contact with human skin cells. The task that lay before me involved swirling a container of dichloromethane with concentrated black tea in order to begin the process of isolating caffeine. I walked over to the chemical fume hood to obtain thirty milliliters of dichloromethane in a graduated cylinder. I firmly held the squeeze bottle of dichloromethane and began squeezing it into my graduated cylinder. I could smell its strong smell - similar to that of fresh nail polish still drying. After completely filling my graduated cylinder, I walked as slowly as I could back to my own work area where the Erlenmeyer flask awaited. Suddenly, glass flew everywhere and a loud sound of breaking glass ensued as the graduated cylinder filled with dichloromethane collided with the floor. A postbaccaulareate premedical student running across the room with flailing arms had just crashed into me, causing dichloromethane to envelope my hands and arms. I could feel my life span shortening by a few decades.
After washing my arms for three hours with cold water, I finally regained emotional and mental wellbeing - leaving only a physical headache to deal with. I proceeded to clean up my work area and left for contemplative observations in Taft Garden.