This morning in Computer Science lecture, we used our cell phones to demonstrate the way web applications can be queried by SMS. And in the simplest yet most terrible of possible mistakes, I left my iPhone somewhere in lecture. Six hundred dollars, quite likely down the drain. Money that I spent months saving. A device that, even for the incomplete way in which I mated it to my daily life’s workflow, completely changed it.
There’s nothing to do but wait and see if my e-mail to the course staff will produce any fruit, if any of my 296 classmates deem it a worthwhile thing to do to return so expensive a device to its owner. I hesitate to deactivate it and report it stolen in the hope that someone will call one of my recent numbers and try to make contact. There’s absolutely no other way to palliate the situation, and yet I worry.
Anxiety is proof positive that the evolution of the human nervous system lags far behind the logical, rational veneer that education and modern societal norms impose on us. Ex ante, for sure, it can give us that extra edge we need to complete an important task looming on the horizon, or the necessary awareness of our own impotence and ignorance to interface with the unknown. But what can it do after the fact? What does it accomplish?
Well, it makes one miss one’s Dutch class, at least. Having checked the lecture hall not five minutes after I left it, a reasonably thorough search turned up nothing; I felt compelled to try again after Latin composition was over. And at 12:15, when one is already feeling unprepared for what is by all accounts a more challenging language class than anticipated, anxiety doesn’t offer a lot of incentive to going. It starts downward spirals.
Fundamentally, it helps to inhibit rational prioritization of problems — most of these “lizard brain”-type emotions do, really. And it’s on occasions like these that I wish I could patch the ol’ firmware to eradicate such contradictions in interest and feeling. It’s legitimate to claim that doing so would rob us of many of life’s irrational pleasures, like the joy felt in a cosmically insignificant job well done, or frozen yogurt at Berry Line when it is categorically not what one should be doing with homework looming, or the “honeymoon effect” in a new relationship.
But damn it if it doesn’t sometimes add that many more miles before I can sleep.