Monday, March 23, 2009

1996

I was 24 years old . The previous year had seen me secure both my degree in English from the U of S and my wife. It would still be 2 1/2 years until Leora was born. In the most cliché sense, I had the whole world ahead of me.

Of course I had just spent the last 4 months of 1995 living apart from Wen (as she tested out her first teaching job in Rosetown (wikipedia)). Shortly, I moved out of 518 Albert Ave. and into our first apartment. Small town life didn't agree really agree with me. Being an unconventional egg-head/vegetarian/freak from the big city, I felt watched and overtly judged wherever I went (but only because people were watching me).



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A perfect example is the cooking job that I got there at the Blue Baron -- a restaurant attached to a road-side motor inn. I was ´let go´ there after my 3 month probation. I challenged the owner (who was almost never in the kitchen) to tell me why I was being fired, and I was told that it was because the quality of the food had been going down during my employ. People who know me and my affinity for cooking should realize that me being fired from a job as a cook is a laughable state of affairs.

I wasn´t the head chef. He had recently quit and been replaced by a young man who grew up in town. Mark was really good at throwing the various types of knives in the kitchen, AND he knew a lot of things about cooking, BUT he hated Rosetown. His interest in his work was low and he was often drunk, though not at work, as far as I could tell. Anyway, at a bar and grill it was questioned whether or not an alcohol-abstaining vegetarian could possibly do the required job. So, I believe that I was the scape-goat for the head chef´s flagging enthusiasm. Incidentally, Mark quit about 2 weeks after I was let go. ¨no hard feelings,¨ he told me.

I put in motion the necessary cogs to cash in on my unemployment for the first and only time in my life. IE payments began just after I started my next job :) However, before that, I had a wonderful few months of unemployment. The time was productive in the classic ´Quest´ sense. Which is to say I did some fun, but non-paying, things.

During said time I finally managed to finish the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever (wikipedia). I read a-book-a-day and was done within a week. There was a quote from one character, Foamfollower, which really connected me to the story and my own sense of the physical in this world:

¨Stone and Sea are deep in life¨

Obviously ´stone´ represents permanence and the ´sea,´ change. I copied the quote at the beginning of a blank book and began recording some things about what I saw as the stone and sea of my physical being. As with all such things, I am big on concept and not so big on follow-through. So, the entries are sporadic at best. But I have managed to keep the book and it does have some really interesting facts about me from 1996 until just before Leora was born. I have physical measurements for everything (seemly) that I could think of from bicep circumference to the length of my inseam. I also recorded a progression of my personal bests in the following categories: Arts Tower sprint time (basement to 11th floor), resting pulse, chin-ups, push-ups, hand-stand duration (no walking), and center-splits measurement.

My physical goal for this year, at 37 years of age, is to equal or best each of these categories.

Incidentally, this was also the year which I began jogging. I started out with jog two blocks, walk one. March 23rd, I have it recorded that I ran from the University bridge to Sid Buckwold bridge in 10 min 4 sec (with my black book bag and wearing a long-coat, no less). Dispatching this time won´t be a challenge, but I put it here for posterity.