Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The nonexistence of the word Diahemeral, and what's been going on the past week or so

[Not sure if there's anything of interest here, actually.]

Last week was finals' week, it was also the week when I finally got on the books as being in classes, it was also the week I got sick, though I didn't realize I was sick until a few days in as at this point extreme tiredness and never-ending headaches don't really register as symptoms anymore, they're just part of the way things are. So it was only after I finally took notice of other symptoms that I was able to realize those were in fact beyond normal and date the beginning of being sick, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Diahemeral, meaning “(lasting) through the day” (from dia- through or across and hemera meaning day [-al is an adjectival suffix]) is not, in fact, a word.

Look it up in the dictionary and you will not find it. Search on google and, as of me writing this, it doesn't exist. Presumably once I publish there will be two results: this post and the main page.**  But the point is, even in the wilds of the internet, where things don't have to be even close to being actual words to be used, diahemeral does not exist.

I made it up on a test I took on Friday in hopes that it already existed.

See, I seem to have this hole in my mind where words beginning with the prefix dia- should be stored. I can hold onto diameter, but nothing else. Part of this is that, as diameter demonstrates, the i in dia is an “eye” sound where when I think of the prefix I think of it as an “ee” sound. I think of it like the i in diem. (Yes, I'm crossing Latin and Greek.) So I tend to be fishing for the wrong phonetics anyway. That can't possibly help with memory. But even when I get the right vowel sound, the right words, like diatonic, always seem to be forced out of view by the wrong words, like dichromatic. I end up with “two” words instead of “through” words.*

So, since the test asked for two dia words, and since I couldn't think of any other than diameter, I tried to think of something that might be a word. I tried to think of what one might want to stick a “through” on and it seemed like “through the day” ought to work.

I could see it applying in medicine, a diahemeral headache is a headache that lasts through the day.  I could see it being used about things outside of medicine and less annoying than a headache as well. Consider, “The morning went so well it left him with in a state of diahemeral euphoria.”  I could see it being used to describe events, "You can show up any time of day, the concert will be diahemeral."  And so on.

But it's not a word.


The test wasn't supposed to be on Friday. I screwed up and thought it was on Thursday for no apparent reason (my notes had the right day, I just never checked them because I was so sure) when in fact it was on Wednesday.

Oddly, I was worried that I had the day for another test, which I correctly believed to be on Tuesday, wrong. I double and triple checked that before showing up on Tuesday. That was also the day that my enrollment this semester became official after spending the entire time attending classes while having no official existence.

Back to the main story, I was convinced the test was on Thursday. Wednesday night, just before going to sleep, I realized my mistake. There was much profanity. I did not get a good night's sleep. I'm not even sure if I got a good couple hours sleep. Looking back, I think I was already sick at that point, but the lack of sleep probably didn't help.

Thursday morning was spent in frustration and attempts to rest.

I came into school because I didn't want to say, “I thought it was today, but no, I can't take it today,” so I wanted to be available to take it when I had thought it was. I ended up having to say that anyway because I could only be contacted by email, my computer was low on charge, and I forgot to bring the cord. I also forgot that at school I was surrounded by other computers that could be used to check my email.

I was definitely sick by noonish. I didn't quite realize it yet. I couldn't eat food, at least not much, and didn't know why. This would continue for three days.

The afternoon was spent with dentistry.

Friday I invented the word diahemeral. I also checked in with another teacher, and was told that I could drop off my late work on Monday, which gave me a whole weekend to get it done. What could possibly go wrong? (Here's a hint, karma apparently doesn't like putting things off until the last moment, at least that's as good an explanation as any for me getting sick.)

Friday during the day was when the aches and pains were the worst. I don't remember exactly which, but either Friday night or Saturday morning was the worst of the sickness from the standpoint of my digestive system.

Saturday my mother and I had hopped to climb a mountain, it was a beautiful day, perfect really. I wasn't feeling well enough. My mother had Monday off so we figured we'd climb the mountain then, and I thought I could get the schoolwork done on Saturday since we weren't climbing a mountain, thus being sick wouldn't be too much of a problem. Unfortunately I wasn't really able to do much in the way of thinking. The symptoms, recall, included extreme tiredness and constant headache, which I didn't identify as symptoms at first because they're not unusual for me when I'm not sick.  Anyway, neither of those help with thinking.

It was beyond just not being able to think to do work, when would have liked to have written some quick fiction as a diversion realized I didn't have it in me to do that either. Understand that writing Snarky Twilight is not a difficult thing for me. I read an excerpt of Twilight, generally brought up by Ana Mardoll, I recognize that it is horrible, which Ana Mardoll tends to help with, and then the words tend to flow.

It does not require much in the way of intellectual discipline or refinement or whatnot, I just go with what comes. Sometimes there's more to it than that. Sometimes I research something, for example checking the hours of Forks High school, or looking up a quote from Blade Runner, or checking which translation of the Bible is being used, or something like that. But for the most part, I just write whatever comes to mind. Not being able to do that meant that nothing was coming to mind, at least nothing coherent.

That's a pretty serious lack of ability to think. If you apply that lack of ability to reading comprehension and analysis, you do not end up with essays. I know, for I tried. That same day.

Sunday was mother's day. No progress on anything, but I was noticeably more able to eat, which I took as a sign I was finishing up on the whole sickness thing. Also time spent with family.

Monday was rain. Depressing side: No mountain. Well, no mountain worth speaking of, we did drive to a “mountain” that you can walk up in almost no time. Somewhat less bad side: Time to work on schoolwork and this time my brain did work to some degree. Slowly, badly, to the point my teacher might lose all respect for me, but stuff got done. Just not enough to turn anything in.

Monday was also, I think, when the sore, sore, incredibly unbelievably sore throat stage set it. Definitely it was there by Monday, and I don't think it was there Sunday, so it seems natural to label Monday the first day of that.

Then we reach today. Got a ride in to school. On the way over saw that the sidewalk on the bridge I'd prefer to take (for walking over it is an hour shorter than the other one) had finally opened. At least on one side of the bridge, but we'll get to that later.

At school I read and typed and worked and thought and finished the long overdue things and then brought them over to the place to drop them off and I was done with this semester. Er, maybe that should be: ! Whatever. Enthusiasm, I don't really have it. Trouble is, this semester isn't the only one I'm on the hook for.

I got an incomplete last semester. An incomplete gives one an entire extra semester to finish work. (I've mentioned this here before.) Trouble is, if you don't make use of that time, when the extra semester ends you fail just like you would have had you not gotten it. I have not made use of that time. Most of the time when I remembered it I was either not in a position to do anything (most of the times that I remembered it were in cars) or under a lot of stress, or just fracking busy. It tended to come back to me when I was cataloging all of the many things I was ill-prepared to deal with and yet needed to deal with.

So I was planning on trying to achieve the impossible goal of somehow writing the paper that was due last semester in the next day or two. Maybe. I sent off an email to ask if an extremely rushed, and thus very low quality, paper would even be worth it. Is the difference between failing and failing less badly really worth trying to cram weeks' worth of work into a day or two?

Haven't gotten a response, but it doesn't matter. (And I've sent off an email to the person I asked telling her it doesn't matter.)

See that whole walk home thing didn't work out quite right. Maybe it would have been exactly the same regardless, but what happened is this:

I got to the bridge to discover that while the South Portland side of the bridge's sidewalk had been clearly and undeniably opened, the Portland side had not been. It wasn't just labeled as closed, it was labeled as closed with a sign so big it obstructed the entire sidewalk.

Which meant that instead of a shorter walk I had a longer walk. If I'd known that the right bridge were closed I could have taken my usual route to the wrong bridge (which is also, coincidentally, the left bridge) instead of walking first to the right bridge then to the wrong bridge.

So a longer than usual walk, an exhausting walk. It takes a lot out of you even when you're not sick. And as the thing stretched on and on the weather got warmer and brighter and generally made my choice of clothing more and more inappropriate. (I had prepared for a cooler rainy day.) By the end of the journey -worn out, baked, and somewhat sunburnt- my mind was back in too-sick-to-think mode. I just don't have the energy or the lack of headache.

Plus, the other stuff I had to write about was, mercifully, English prose. And not just any prose, articles made with the intent of being clearly understandable.

For the long overdue should-take-weeks-and-I-would-have-but-days paper: Latin poetry.

Writing I can do, I offer all of these words as evidence. Reading and analysis not so much. Reading and analysis of Latin poetry, definitely not. I tried looking at an English translation to give me ideas on how to attack it, and I've lost the ability to grasp that too (though, the translation does suck like singularity.) Tried looking at other papers (in English!) that have been written about the work in question, not working there either.

I don't like giving up. I really, really do not like giving up. But I don't have it in me. Even if it weren't on a nearly impossible timeframe, my brain isn't there.

So, the semester's over. I'm going to need some rest, I'm going to need to stop being sick, but after that who knows? Maybe I'll actually write more.

Certainly couldn't do any less than I've done in the past week.

And someday I'll write a brilliant paper on something about the Silvae by Statius because I really don't like giving up.


* Dichromatic is clearly not a dia word because before non-vowels dia retains the a, however confusion between dia and di isn't quite as absurd as it first appears because in some cases dia does lose the a. *Gets up and checks* Crap, that includes when the first letter in the word it's attached to is an “H”. Vowels and h are the things that make dia lose the a. I don't care. Dihemeral sounds like something involving two days and it isn't a word either so no one can claim it is the correct version. I'm sticking with diahemeral.

Anyway, getting somewhat back on track, dia loses its a before vowels, so a diocese is not two oceses because the di there is in fact dia with a hidden a, not di. But if you did want to say that there were two oceses using the prefix di the result would be confusion. And thus if you don't already know the etymology it can potentially be unclear whether a word contains dia or di.

I forgot to take into account the fact that I put the word into the post title, meaning that a result doesn't need to include the body of the post to contain Diahemeral.  In other words, there are a lot more than two results now.

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