So….on Tuesday I bought a program called Tech Tool Pro.  I had seen some errors in my laptop’s system logs that indicated that my drive was highly fragmented.  I had always thought this to not be possible on an HFS+ filesystem.  I was incorrect.  Apparently, this can happen if you have less then 10% of your drive space free.  I did have less then 10% free.

At 1:02PM on Tuesday, July 17th, I began the defrag process.  52 hours and 18 minutes later, it was complete.  Moral of the story.  If you have an HFS+ filesystem, always keep at least 10% of your drive free.