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The semester started here just shy of a week ago, but because my classes fall on Monday and Wednesday, today’s my first real day of teaching. Labor Day. Usually (where “usually” = about 4 out of 10 years) classes here start the day after Labor Day; when they start the week before, we still start on Tuesday, and then teach on Labor Day. Which continues to make no sense to me at all.

I wouldn’t even mind that so much — I’m really fired up about my classes, which include a seminar on Marxism and Cultural Studies that I haven’t gotten to teach in several years, and a new class on television authorship; I’ve got piles of work ahead of me, but it ought to be great fun — except for the fact that I managed to get about two hours of sleep last night due to the stupid cough I’ve developed from the lousy air quality out here in the wake of the fires to our west.

The annoying part is that I’m actually getting better, just as I’m feeling worse. Last Wednesday afternoon, just after classes ended, I suddenly felt as though I’d chain-smoked a pack of cigarettes, and my lungs griped and complained for several days after. Now, my lungs feel more or less fine, but that incessant tickle deep in the back of my throat has set in, probably a sign of healing tissue or something, but it’s driving me batty. It will not let you not cough, though coughing of course aggravates it. It will wake you up out of a dead sleep to make sure you know you need to cough. And no combination of cough drops and throat sprays will calm it down.

This is not what I want to be thinking about right now, but the combination of non-stop coughing and lack of sleep have me unable to contemplate much else.


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