The first boarding school I went to -I’m looking at you, OLV Ledeberg- was nothing short of a well-constructed prison and you will never hear me say a good word about it. It’s a place where childhoods come to die.
But lock up a group of individuals long enough and somehow, someway, they’ll start to build a small community. One with a hierarchy, a culture, and norms. In its dynamics, it rewards certain character traits (in this case, for example, an unhealthy dose of sadism) and punishes others. Given enough time and social skill, you learn to play the system and rise through the ranks.
So I grew up with a certain sense of community and I caught myself being sensitive to it. Growing up, I always wanted to learn some useful skill that would allow me to be of use in such a group, and given time (not so much social skill), grow not only accepted, but respected.
I am a big proponent of electric vehicles. I pushed the company towards selling our old diesel truck and buy a share in our local electric car sharing cooperative. It was our collective decision but I brought it up and did the research.
Similarly, I am doing the same for a change to LED regarding our theater spots. I am hoping to bring down our stage power consumption down by about 3/4ths.
I love the idea of clean energy, of short-chain economy, of lab-grown meat and biofuels but I strongly believe none of these things is going to save our planet. None of them will put a stop to our current trajectory until it’s too late. (more…)
Riding a bike in a kilt ain’t easy, I know that now. I learned it in the American deserts, where stoner rock was born, and dust eaten for lunch. But I was enjoying myself to my full capacity, taking a break in the literal middle of nowhere. I had spotted a tent in the distance and wanted to check it out. Now that I could see that it had ‘ADVICE’ written on it, I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to approach. But what the heck, I figured. It’s what we’re here for.
He didn’t look up when I set my dursty bowler hat on the table and sat down, as if he didn’t care what I looked like. Not as much as the sight of the mountain range in the distance. I mirrored his look until he greeted me. Hey.
“I got a special one for ya,” I began without the frills of an introduction. I noticed I was picking up the local accent. I didn’t mind. He laughed, but only a little. I’m sure he could see that I was dead serious. (more…)
Good day, gentlemen. Have a seat. Let’s talk. And by that I mean stfu and hear me out.
We were born in a world with expectations of us. Even before then, when our penis was spotted by some person with a sonar poking our mothers’ bellies, an enormous cascade of assumptions were triggered that interweaved with the rest of our lives. A role was designated for us and deviating from it would be met with prejudice, and punishment.
As men, we would be the caretaker. The leader. The fixer. As we grew up, we were trained to be just that: Whenever we needed help, people (generally) would not only help us, but explain how we could do without their help next time. Know-how and handiness were strongly encouraged. Figuring things out for yourself rather than stop and ask for assistance was the way we were taught. Because we are men, and men don’t ask for directions. Men read their map, point, and say ‘this way’, regardless of how sure they are of their conclusion.
I think I get it now.
In a previous life, I was once trained to be a camera salesman. I figured my passion for photography and technology would overcome my anxiety enough to push me and become a more social person. I was wrong.
But what they taught me there was, “If you want to reach a parent, talk to the child.” With how everyone agreed unanimously, I felt like I had missed a meeting somewhere. Like I often do.
Even though it didn’t fully make sense to me then, it got me on a train of thought that has now reached a new station. I think I get it now.
I get told that I am an asshole quite often. In some way or another, people like to drop me a hint that perhaps I should reconsider my behavior and quit acting like a douche.
This information isn’t new. It’s something I’ve known for a long time and in some sense, something I consciously decided upon.
I think we can generally state that life is harder than we imagined it to be when we were little. We could blame society or capitalism or politics but when push comes to shove, we are the ones now responsible for our own existence and it gets surprisingly complicated. (more…)
I’ve been diagnosed with all kinds of abnormalities, by professionals and not-so-professionals. Psychopathy, ADHD, I had one girlfriend pushing me to consider the possibility I was somewhere in the autism spectrum. Another friend called me a juggalo. I took well to neither.
Perhaps they’re all wrong, or maybe right to some degree. I just like to call it my warm and cute personality.
If there is one thing I might be leaning towards, I think it might be sociopathy. Especially when I was a teenager and young adult, I had the hardest time caring about how other people felt. It served its purpose well, keeping the influence of teachers and educators to a minimum while I walked my own path. Many thought I was lost.
I have grown sensitive with age. Give me a couple years of wine and roses to let my guard down and now that we’ve arrived at this point, I either forgot how to turn it back, or I am not willing to pay the price. I haven’t figured that part out, yet.
I haven’t been this afraid since I was bombed with the news that I was going to be a father. That all-encompassing feeling of the world and everything you took for granted, crumbling while there is nothing you can do, is enough to ignite a blind panic if you let it- and occasionally if even if you don’t. (more…)
Change is the name of the game. If you went from art schools to boarding schools, squats to an army base, freelancing stagehand to technician in a city theater, you’ll know what it means to adapt to the situation. One survival strategy will not work in another environment and unless you get to changing your behavior, you will start moving in the opposite direction from where your goals are supposed to be.
Friends who know me long enough often mention that I’ve changed in just about every way, several times over. And when I thought I was finally comfortable in my skin, a baby boy was born and I had to start all over again.
One of my current colleagues happens to be an old classmate of mine, from when I was 12. We get along quite well and that’s funny, because we couldn’t stand each other in school. I’m pretty sure we got into a physical fight at some point, though I’m not sure- it’s hard to keep track.
We have spent a little time raking up memories, wondering what came of our old friends. I look back on that period with mixed feelings, it was a tumultuous time. From there, we talked about our educations. We only knew each other 2 years before we each went our own way, that’s how long our ‘freinet’ school took students. She, with most others to a nearby school. I, to a different city, to learn photography. And from there, to boarding school.
She perked up with surprising interest and asked which one.
Ledeberg. The catholic school behind the church, discernable by its high, featureless walls.