[On the Saturday night before class begins, the blue skies are slowly fading along with the sunset, casting a long shadow against the windowsill. Tonight, Don’s room is illuminated by a strong yellow, and together with the album “Evermore” by Taylor Swift playing softly from a phone on the nightstand, it invokes an ambient atmosphere. Don is furiously scribbling on a blue binder full of papers with blank musical staves and scales.]
Don: “UGH! How do I keep doing this? I corrupted my previously blank Google Calendar for this week of Fall Break with 2 reminders a day, flawlessly separating my homework into manageable bits per day. Because I like to read (what’s not to like about confusing Upper and Lower Egypt for the millionth time and learning about the intricate societal ramifications of dance I never thought were a thing?), I got those readings done! But when it comes to actually doing work, I can’t progress past putting my pencil on the paper and then calling it a day. I expected to get so much more done with all this free time; how am I here grinding on Saturday night for the sixth week in a row?”
(Don’s writing slows down, his pencil now finishing the last stroke on Page One of his workbook exercises. He sighs with a whiff of frustration, looking tired and guilty. With a perpetual frown, Don closes the binder, and he half climbs, half hops into the striped black and white bed. Don promptly reaches over to his right and turns off the yellow room light.)
(With his back resting on the wall to the side of the bed, Don picks up his phone and again swipes right endlessly in four-second intervals. The whites of his eyes are red against the shine of the phone screen, but his pupils are unnaturally still and look almost glazed).
Don: “Isn’t it funny how I said last week that I didn’t need to post pictures of me posing with friends or upload a stream of stories about my everyday life to prove that all my attempts in my life are yielding results? Here I am, a week later and still pretty behind on work, taking a ‘break’ at 10 p.m. to again ride the waves of Instagram’s notifications. I’m pretty disappointed in myself, not gonna lie. When you know what you shouldn’t do and you still do it.”
(Don suddenly turns towards a random direction, seemingly on impulse. The bed creaks as he makes the abrupt shift in his sitting position towards the end of the bed closest to the room’s door.)
Don: “Hey, is the ‘camera’ in position? Testing … testing? Yes, I know you all are eavesdropping on my personal conversations. I’m definitely not just imagining that I am speaking to a crowd who all happen to fit within one cubic foot of hardwood floor a couple inches from the end of my bed. Anywho, now that I finally gave you formal permission (you guys sorta did sneak in without pre-registered authorization, but it’s fine) … Wait, never mind. I already gave everyone who reads the Campus Journal section of The Phoenix permission by sharing the Google Doc in which I definitely didn’t just write a conversation with myself for the purpose of getting feedback of my editor bosses (In every sense of the word “bosses,” I mean that with a note of appreciation and dare I say affection. They give me too many edits, but the fact that they care so much to really fill up every page with edits; I’m very appreciative.) Anyways, moving away from the chills left by he who reflects and shares way too much sometimes, what do you guys wanna know about me or just talk about?
(Whatever Don is seeing, he nods slightly and holds up the index finger of his right hand up in the air. )
Don: “I’m gonna stop you right there, let me get out of bed and practice my Tap Dance routine. No, I don’t actually get out of bed to practice dancing (usually with my sneakers because tap shoes make too much noise) routinely at 10:10 p.m. every night. I get to say I do, however, because everything I’ve written so far has been entirely up to my discretion and I need to include some ‘background action text’ to prevent these paragraphs from becoming an immovable word block of needless length.”
(Don proceeds to scooch towards the edge of his bed, subsequently climbing down. After fitting his feet into his bedtime slippers, he walks over to the part of the room that neither he nor his roommate can claim complete dominion over because it’s on the border of each of their territories. He wants to let you know he is at a loss for enough varying onomatopoeias to truly capture all the magic rhythms and sounds of tap dancing. Don does his thing, possibly annoying his neighbors while also hoping that they are all deep sleepers.)
Don: “What’s that? You guys can’t answer because you’re behind a mile of Parrish Beach, too many trees, and the bastion of walls known as your residence hall buildings? No? Oh, you’re saying it’s because you all are characters in a narrative featuring me as the only perspective? Good point, I forgot. Well, this is quite awkward. In a panic that I will not describe, I propose an alternative plot progression here! I’m getting tired and am about to nod off. It was simply delightful having diligent, nosy spies like you all to keep me company tonight, whether you sprang from my brain as I drafted my future autobiography or collectively tried to solicit my uncomfortable feeling at always feeling watched by no-good eyes. Of course I won’t end my conversation so abruptly at the end of the next period. Hence, I will say that I’m quite enjoying this experience and am probably about 51% likely to piece together Act 3. There, you’ll meet a familiar warrior and [I ran out of pseudo-spoilers that don’t spoil the upcoming plot].”
(Don, satisfied that Google Docs automatically saves your progress, begins to turn off his Windows laptop. The arrow cursor moves gingerly to the Punnett square start button. The author definitely didn’t include this sciencey reference just to look smart to his audience. Look, my defense is that writing is like acting: you must live the soul of your character’s truths and stretch the drama a bit sometimes.)
(He slowly clicks on the … and … down … )