19 July 2010

Time to test the water again

I was one of those good children. You know: the ones who don't get caught.

Truth was, most of my childhood misbehaviour was of the anemic sort. About the worst thing I did was read ahead in the textbook while someone else was struggling along sounding out words 16 chapters back. Other than that, I think I was a bit inclined to be bossy and take charge of everything because others' lack of discipline tended to annoy me.

By junior high, when it was harder to find ways out of boredom, I worked out all sorts of legal ways to get out of class. I was always ahead in my work, so there was no worry in falling behind, and this was where Catholic school really proved to be a boon: you could always go hide in the church! I'd grab my rosary and sit in the dark sanctuary where it was cool and quiet, and I could actually think about the novel I was writing without fear of interruption by something as mundane as diagramming sentences. Because I'd been sentenced by the nuns to planning the school masses, I could legitimately take a notebook with me to make notes on the scriptures that were being used during ordinary time. That took as long as it took me to write "Hosea 5: 3-6," and then I was daydreaming about formals of emerald satin with a lace overlay and moonlight shining on auburn hair. The inevitable downside of all this was that everyone believed I was actually praying, that I might have A Vocation, and I ended up being named Christian of the Year upon graduation, which was one of the great humiliations (not to mention ironies) of my young life.

By high school, of course, I was blowing up the science lab. With impunity.

Miss GuerrillaGirl. In the Biology or Chemistry Lab. With the Bunsen Burner.

Trust me, I was careful. I didn't want to lose that with impunity status, and I certainly didn't want anyone to get hurt, including me. Also, I didn't want to pay damages. I only broke one crucible, and that was an accident. Well, and I sent a lot of spinach onto the acoustic ceiling tiles. But I did a really good job of looking innocent and apologetic about that.

(That poor Biology teacher. It was his first year teaching, and I was successfully blowing up his Bell curve at the same time. He pleaded with me to stop doing all the extra credit work because I was hundreds of points ahead of the person with the second highest score, but I was on a mission to see how many points I could amass. Because, yes, I can be from hell that way. It's nothing personal, meaning that I'm not trying to embarrass other people. It's more looking for a personal best, trying to keep things interesting.)

College was sufficiently interesting that I didn't engage in too much miscreance. But why would I when my math professor also used to write TV shows with his wife and had a wealth of interesting stories? He made differential equations fun! When your lit prof decides to buy everyone coffee and then you loll in the grass talking about Aristophanes for the rest of the afternoon, what is not to love?

Getting my master's degree was a bit different because I was bored out of my mind and I amused myself by taking twice as many classes as the university allowed a graduate student to take, which meant that I finished a two-year program in 10 months. While holding down a job. Master of Science in Bad Dog.

My personal flaw has to do with boredom. Can't stand it. I'm not particularly interested in busy work, and fortunately, most of my early teachers recognized this. Rather than giving me make work, they'd give me puppets and let me write puppet shows. Or give me the run of a huge cabinet of books. I was happy. It kept me out of mischief, or at least kept the mischief small.

I like mischief, but only the non-malicious sort. I just want life to be interesting, though not at the expense of others. Even blowing things up was more of an intellectual exercise: it wasn't just about making a big bang, I wanted to know the tipping point. I never wanted my classmates to think I was holier-than-thou-art; it was just that I'd figured out diagramming sentences in three sentences, and if everyone else was going to take three weeks, I could be writing sentences.

And so I did.

So here we are.

Getting back on the airplane was a little...unnerving. I hate flying. Oh, how I hate flying! Every bump between here and Phoenix, and Phoenix and Albuquerque, and Albuquerque and Denver, and Los Angeles and Vancouver, and Calgary and Los Angeles had my undivided attention. But planes get me where I want to go.

Still planning. A lot of people don't realize that the planning is part of the fun. Stuff's been on my radar. New stuff has appeared on the horizon.

I've been hampered by so much that I've been a bit tentative. It's been one step forward and two steps back. DO NOT WANT. Now I'm off the fence.

Gotta go.

Go listen to some good music: "Valentina Way" from the album Year of the Cat by Al Stewart. This song was one of those that I'd mess around to in the studio. Pirouette, pirouette, pirouette...and crash. Now you know how I broke all those toes. Really, it's been enough with all the nonsense. In delay there lies no plenty.

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