This morning I showed up in the wrong classroom, planning to teach my 12:00 class at 10:00. Melissa and Rob finally straightened me out and I got to the right place only seven minutes late. And what a great class -- they were discussing their homework while waiting patiently for me to arrive.
Excuses for absurdity are always nice -- so here's mine.
I had been putting together the handouts for the 12:00 class (the 10:00 was already planned). A student came in to talk about an essay; when she left, about 9:20, I turned to my computer and saw strange lights on the screen -- the kind you see if you've been staring at a bright light and then look away. But I hadn't been staring at a bright light. I blinked and closed my eyes for several seconds, but the odd light remained. I got up, walked out into the department suite, and the light came with me: that was when I knew what it was.
The first visual migraine I had was terrifyingly amazing. It looked almost exactly like the top simulation at this site, except that the lines were all jagged instead of blocky, and the colors seemed a little brighter. It happened in the summer, sometime after we had moved here ten years ago. When it faded away, within 30 seconds it began again. Overall, it lasted nearly an hour. When it finally stopped, I got up, stumbled outside where K. was working, and wailed to him, "I'm going blind!!!"
Since then, I've had three or four, none so spectacular, thank the Lord. They've lasted about half an hour, and look more like the "Scintillating Socoma" at the same site I linked above, or the "Optical Migraine," except with color. The simulation half-way down this page captures the shimmering nature of the phenomonon quite accurately. This clock figure shows how they typically grow and begin to fade.
I've been blessed that these visual migraines are not followed by full-blown migraine headaches; for some people they are a headache aura. But still they wear me out, making my brain feel tired and leaving my body a little shaky.
So when the migraine started this morning, and the last thing I'd been doing before was preparing for a class -- that's the class I went to. The migraine itself finally faded out as I entered the wrong classroom. And when I finally got to the right class, I felt like I was slogging through deep sand to pull a thought up and put it into words.
And that, boys and girls, explains why I was more weird than usual this morning. Thanks for your patience and for laughing with me. And may you never experience migraines of any sort!