SUBMIT. Maybe it was the David Lynch-like surreality of the situation, maybe it was the gnawing hangover, maybe it was the physical exhaustion, but the word etched itself first into my retina and microseconds later into my cerebral cortex. my mate and i had just spent the previous week covering a rather heroic distance (when considering our complete lack of anything even remotely reminiscient of an acceptable physical condition, that is) trekking through the andes, a feat we had then celebrated the previous night at our final camp with copious amounts of pisco sour and red wine. now we had returned to puerto natales, a remote, windswept fishing town, bathing in the immensely intense light of the sub-antarctic patagonian summer sun. staggering through the empty back streets of single-story wooden houses on weary legs and in a strange disposition of mind, both of us were taken aback when suddenly a midget was walking in front of us. wearing a black woollen hat, a purple anorak and grey sweatpants, the chilean dwarf had a message for us, written in hand-size letters, across his ass, in gothic script: SUBMIT
fast forward a few years and the same word has defined my life over the past few months, kept me awake at night, gotten me out of bed before sunrise, putting me into a strange state of mind and generally taking over my personality and my life. the word "submit" hung over my life like the sword of damocles, defined my interaction with the outside world (or what little was left of it) but now the deed is done, at last. i am finally there. i have sent the final electronic version of my phd thesis to my university in durban, signed the papers, ticked the requisite boxes - i have submitted. surreal.
for all its relieving qualities, its an odd feeling. picking up my reference books from the floor, the sofa, the bed and wherever else they had ended up over the last few days of my push to finish my thesis, closing them and putting them back into the shelf had an odd melancholic air of finality about it, like when packing up your things when a relationship has ended.
and what do i do now with my life? with all the extra time on my hands? start reciting old norse poetry? learn to play the ukulele? master the art of landscape architecture? i have the creeping suspicion that my boss might already have an aswer up his sleeve to that question...