the crisis of a tuesday

Today was the first of many herbal medicine exams. 1hr. Short and extended response. Open book.

I hadn’t purchased my texts yet, due to insufficient funds. I was continuously borrowing them from the library on a 7-day loan rotation. I had finally saved enough money to be able to purchase them this morning – the morning of my exam.

Was I un-organised?.. yes.

Was I prepared?.. kind of.

This morning, I needed to have all my notes printed, which I did, except one lot. Low and behold.. printer runs out of ink. WHY! Why does my printer hate me when I need it the most? Seriously. Luckily there was just enough ink in the remaining cartridges to be able to print – but instead of it being a beautiful, bold shade of black, it was in fact, a gentle lavender. Readable, but just. CRISIS 1 – resolved.

So, finally, I had printed all of my notes; my herbal table, the herbal dosage chart plus a medical conditions sheet. I also had my lecture notes in tow, and I was off to college early enough to grab my ritualistic, pre-exam coffee and head on into the bookshop to buy my necessary text books for this exam.

I walked into the bookshop confident, feeling reasonably good about the exam. I went to the textbook wall scanning for ‘Materia Medica of Western Herbs – Carol Fisher’, a distinctfully large-ish, pristine white book, of which there were usually many copies. Nil.

I then looked for ‘The Herbal Compendium – Kerry Bone’. Nil..

I was so confused. It was usually in the same spot. I was looking, and looking, and searching. I could feel the worry and fear rising up from my gut; and I was simultaneously thinking of all the reasons why it wasn’t on the shelves. I scanned the wall 3-4 times, each time faster than the last.. thinking to myself, they have just moved it. Maybe they are stacked in the display? On the table? Maybe another book has been placed in front of it? Maybe I just can’t see it?

It wasn’t until the attendant came over and said ‘Can I help you? Are you looking for something in particular?’ that I really started to panic.

Here enters CRISIS MODE 2.

I kindly told him that I was searching for both the materia medica text and the herbal compendium. He searched; opened cupboards and looked in draws. He then told me he would check on his system to check if they had it in stock.

Meanwhile, I’m pacing up and down the store, still looking while fear and anxiety are setting in deep. He then proceeded to tell me that they were out of stock, and that the particular books I was looking for were extremely popular lately. He then proceeded to tell me that the stockist is at Stones Corner and I could most likely pick them up from there if I needed them.

It was already T-minus 45minutes til my exam. I tried to rationalize how I could get to Stones Corner and back within 45minutes.

Nup. No way. Not happening.

The attendant was extremely apologetic, as I think he could see I was about to meltdown. I (as calmly as I could) told him that it was in no way his fault and that I would try the library next.

As I walked into college, the air-conditioning felt arctic against my clammy skin. I was a vessel of anxious blood and guts. I finally made my way up to the library, and I rushed to where I had seen the required text before. Nil. I then raced towards the librarian and asked her if she had either of the books I was looking for. She searched on her computer but before the search was completed, another librarian overheard, butted in and told me they were all out.


I was shaking, on the verge of absolute tears, hot, sweaty, and trembly as I made my way back down three flights of stairs that never seemed to end. I needed fresh air. I felt like I needed to scream.

I was defeated.. and left feeling hopeless.. and all over text books.

By the time I had made it downstairs, I walked outside and saw a familiar face. Ben reassured me ‘It would be fine’ and then we changed the subject. We parted ways and I continued away from campus. Where I was going was anybodies clue..? I was just walking.

After a few minutes of near hyperventilation and a cry.. I walked back into campus, into the bookshop straight up to the counter and asked the gentleman if he could suggest anything close to what I was after that could assist me in my open book exam.

He said to me that he was just thinking about me, and he had just packed a bunch of online orders for a bunch of students and in one of those was the Kerry Bone compendium I was after. He then proceeded to open a pre-packed parcel (ready for Australia Post) to be sent and inside was a copy of the compendium. I felt a wave and rush of energy, like the weight had been lifted off and I could finally breathe again. He then told me that he was getting another shipment of books in the next day, and that they could wait one more day. CRISIS 3 – resolved.

While I was there, I figured that I grab some more RescueRemedy pastilles and I sprayed myself with every calming, relaxing, focus, grounded, balance aromatherapy spray mist I could see on the shelf. Literally.

I sat the exam, the whole inadequate 60minutes.

I walked out feeling relieved, but exhausted, all over text books.

I walked back down the stairs, walked out of college, and proceeded past the bookshop. As I did, I put both my arms up, in a Y-configuration to the gentleman in the bookshop, he gave me the thumbs up, chuckled and continued on his day.

I continued on my way home, and all I could think of was the absolute kindness of the bookshop man.

And I’m still thinking about him.

So, Bookshop Man, if you are reading this,
Today, you were my unsung hero.
You are a fucking legend, and if I ever see you at college I am going to buy you a coffee!
The Anxious and Panicked Chick

PS. Please respond with what coffee you drink!


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