Monday, March 27, 2006

A Brief Reckoning....

Via Done With Mirrors, I was directed to this post on Michael Reynold's blog, The Mighty Middle. In belatedly recognizing his own blog's one year anniversary, Michael Reynold's given a brief reckoning of where he's been:

I've lived an unusually fractured life. I attended 12 different schools -- and I dropped out after 10th grade. Three colleges, dropped out of all three. I've lived in California, Florida, DC, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, Massachussetts, Virginia, Maine, Illinois and North Carolina. Also France and, briefly, Portugal. And multiple locations in each of those states: six cities in California, three in France, five in Florida, four in Virginia. Often I live in more than one place within cities. I had three different apartments in Crockett, California. I'm on my second house in Chapel Hill, and I've been here just under three years. Three places in Minneapolis, two in Fouras, France, three in Ocean City, Maryland.

I couldn't put a date on any of the above. When was I at Urbandale High in Iowa? Hmmm. When was I in that apartment in Portland, the first one? Not a clue. How about Waldorf, Maryland? 1975 maybe? Temple Hills, Maryland? Ocean City the second time?

I've been a waiter, a janitor, a law library clerk and a law librarian, an editorial cartoonist, a bowling alley pin-jammer, a stock clerk, a restaurant manager, an antiques dealer, a property manager, a restaurant reviewer, a house painter, a political media consultant, a writer.

This put Callimachus in a mind to try the same, but not right now:

It got me thinking about what my life would look like if I inventoried it. Bus boy, meter reader for the electric company, assembly-line worker, ran an observatory, taught high school, wrote ice hockey, wrote porn, ate lunch with Reagan in the White House, ... yeah, I'll have to sit down and make a list sometime.

This idea of making an inventory of personal details is kind of interesting to me, at least at the moment.

I've lived in three different cities: Orlando FLA (1968-1994 & 2003-present), Gainesville FLA(1995-2000), and Baltimore Maryland(2000-2003). I lived in one house in Orlando through that first stretch in Orlando, and one house (so far) during the second stretch. One apartment in Gainesville (1995-1998) and one townhouse (1998-2000). In Baltimore (Reisterstown, properly), we lived in a three floor townhouse the whole time.

In the past I've been (in succession), a nightshift switchboard operator and alarm baby-sitter at a hospital, a construction worker (roads, to be precise), a cashier in a grocery store, a bagboy, a tutor, an I&D guy (putting together and disassembling booths at tradeshows), a tutor again, a bagboy again (excuse me, front service personnel guy), a tutor again, an exam proctor, a graduate teaching assistant, a retirement actuary, and a benefits/financial analyst. A fairly boring set of jobs, but I do what I must.

I went to one elemetary school, one middle school and one high school, which I dropped out of midway through 11th grade. I went to the local junior college (Valencia Community College) over a span of ten or eleven years (depending one how you want to count it), and dropped out several times for various reasons. (Only one of those reasons was any good.) After getting my shit together (or rather finding the right person to kick my sorry ass into gear), I attended the University of Florida to get my BS in Mathematics, and then continued on at UF to study mathematics at the graduate level. I dropped out of that too, eventually, when I realized that I had no desire to actually go through the pain and suffereing it would take to become a tenured college professor. I was too lazy for that path, and I disliked the idea of perpetual poverty.

I have one wife, and it will always remain so. She has told me that if I leave her she will kill me! That's not really a problem, since I will never leave her, but it makes very clear that she doesn't believe in no-fault divorce! We met in February of 1994, went on our first (and she insists only) date on March 14, 1994, moved in together at the start of 1995, and married on December 26, 1996. We have hypothetical children (number unknown), and actual cats (two). After 7+ years together, the cats have decided that they just might be able to tolerate each other, as long as the stay on opposite sides of the house.

I've been in 10+ car crashes, one of which I prophesized. (Really, at some point I lost count of the number. Also, being Cassandra sucks.) I was only driving for one of those accidents, BTW, and alcohol has not played a role in any of them. The severity of the accidents has run the gamut from minor fender-bender to one which makes me laugh scornfully at most tales of "heroic recoveries". When you're lying in a hospital bed, peeing through a tube, and dreaming of the day you will be able to eat something as solid as sherbert, you have two options: lie there and wait to die, or get on with your life. Which is to say, you really have no options at all.

An interesting pair of dates (for me): May 13, 1988 & March 15, 1991. The first was the day they put me back together, using talent, skill, training, experience, several pounds of stainless steel, and some bone from a cadavar. The second is the day they removed the steel from the first go-around. That's right, Friday the 13th and the Ides of March were good days for me! Ain't no luck like bad luck, and for a contrarian such as myself that's the best kind.

Currently, I'm 17 years, 10 months, 15 days, 22 hours, and approximately 16 minutes into borrowed time. And people wonder why I don't mind debt?


reader_iam said...

Just curious: Do cars make you nervous?

Icepick said...

Nope, although for a long time I didn't drive. These days I love to drive, especially on long trips or late at night.I love the highways late at night.

My driving history is just kind of weird. Maybe I'll write about that someday. Maybe.

reader_iam said...

Nice to see you regularly bloggin, 'Pick, btw.

Icepick said...

I've just about decided to try regular blogging. I've got a few subjects I would like to write about, but writing is hard. I've got one or two posts I really want to write concerning education, but I fear they will either take forever to write, or I'll skimp on them, and I don't want to skimp on those posts.

And yes, a reasonable person would take a large writing project in steps, perhaps even starting with an outline. But I am not a reasonable person! (My wife could confirm this if she was a commenter instead of a lurker.) One of my defining personality traits is an all or nothing attitude about pretty much everything. This has always impacted my writing: when I write, I tend to do everything in one session, whether it's a 500 word paper, or a 3000 word paper, or whatever. I suspect that this was in my subconscious when I dropped out of grad school: I know I lack the brilliance to write a doctoral dissertation of 20 pages or less, and anything more than that would require a systematic kind of approach that is completely alien to me.