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.