Friday, January 25, 2008

7 Weird Things About Me

I have been tagged by Julia for this one.

1. I had such a crush on Star Trek's Captain Kirk from age 11 through 16 guys my own age would not even register on my radar. Or should I say tricorder? I spent my allowance to join the William Shatner Fan Club just to get the photos and one life sized poster of Kirk on the transporter.

2. I also bought his much lampooned record The Transformed Man and listened to it over and over until my family begged for mercy. Whatever you want to say about The Transformed Man, I fell in love with Shakespeare due to his readings of Hamlet, King Henry the V and Romeo and Juliet on that record. I still had that LP when I got married and until I lost it in a move in 87. About ten years later my sister-friend Jamie got me a CD of it and I still have it.

3. By the time I was 13 I was equally enthralled by all things Star Trek. (and continue to be) I spent babysitting money on the paperback books that adapted the episodes into short story format until I'd collected the whole set. I wrote Star Trek stories all through Jr. High and High school. This was before anyone was publishing novels based on the Star Trek universe. I even bought and put together a plastic model of the Enterprise.

I once had a dream that I was piloting the Enterprise through space and then brought it in for a landing on our driveway and right on into the carport. I think this had something to do with the fact that I was learning to drive and the sense I had that my Dad's Buick Electra was as big as a spaceship. Which also may have had much to do with why:

4. I didn't get my driver's license until I was almost twenty

5. Then the first year I had it, I was in two accidents nine days apart. They both involved peripheral vision issues so I suspect the RP had played a role but in the first one a huge RV was parked on the corner to my left at the intersection I was stopped at and it blocked view of the nearest lane and in the second one a new pair of heels got caught at the base of the accelerator pedal so that my foot continued to press the accelerator even as I was shifting my foot toward the brake causing me to accelerate through a four way stop. In the second one I was alone in the car but in the first one I was driving my 13 year old sister to a doctor's appointment.

That poor 65 Mustang. The first accident took out the driver's side rear fender. The second one took out the front bumper, grill, hood and radiator. I was still paying off the repairs when I got married in 1978.

I didn't learn that I had inherited my Mother's RP aka Tunnel Vision until 1987 the year I turned 30. But I had stopped driving by the time I was 24. This may have had as much to do with the fact that the cars we had in the eighties were stick shift and I'd never learned how to drive stick shift. Ed tried to teach me how on the logging roads in the hills above the Rogue Valley around 1985 I think and I did learn to handle shifting into the low gears but I never got comfortable enough to go take the driving test again.

6. I've been such a night owl all my life. As child I waited for my parents to go to bed and then turned on my bedside high-intensity gooseneck lamp and bent its neck down til the bulb was only an inch above the plastic mat it sat on. I would read by that sliver of light for hours. Once I fell asleep without turning off the lamp and my Mom, who had just happened to get up and thought to check on my sister and I, found it like that with a scorch mark forming. She woke me up and showed me how close I'd come to setting our bed on fire.

That cured me of abusing high intensity lamps but it didn't cure me of being a night owl. Throughout my teens I would often find myself still awake an hour before my Mom was due to call me for school so I would just stay awake--until bedtime the next night. Throughout my twenties and thirties I would often stay awake for 48-72 hours. I would get some of my most productive and creative writing done during those marathon sessions. These days 24-36 hours is common and 48 occasional.

7. All through 7th, 8th and 9th grades, whenever the weather was dry enough, I would race the school buses down the hill. Because the bus had to stay on the road that looped around the hill and I could take a trail that cut straight down the hill, I could often be at my back door before the bus pulled to a stop in the high-school parking lot behind our house. And that was even if the bus caught up with me and passed me near the bottom because it then had to go around the block and compete with dozens of other buses to reach its drop off spot.

Now this may not sound so weird if you are picturing a modern middle school girl running home from school. But I wasn't allowed to wear pants to school. Other kids were wearing them by then but my parents wouldn't allow it. So I was in a dress and school shoes. And always carrying at least five books and a big fat binder in one arm and my clarinet by the other hand. And usually my coat as well unless I had its hood tie tied around my neck with the rest of the bright yellow nylon coat flapping behind me.

I hated riding the bus that much. It was the noise and the jostling mostly but it was also the anxiety over the possibility of being harassed by the kids as had been common through grade school.

This running paid off in eighth grade when I wowed my PE teacher and the whole girl's gym class by beating the school's girl's record for the 440 by 9 seconds. It was just a regular everyday PE class and I was clueless that anything out of the ordinary was going on until I rounded the last curve and could suddenly hear the rising chorus of "Go, Joy! Go Joy!" I learned later that the teacher had told the class that if I kept the pace I was going to beat the record.

She later told me that she had never seen a girl my age run the 440 like that. She said that I ran it full out like a sprint just like the Olympic runners. She said that I had the potential to be an Olympic competitor if I had the right training. When I told my parents that night they smiled much the same way they smiled when my baby sister pronounced 'fur' as 'foo'.

I should probably make this number eight: Of all the things I used to do and don't anymore I miss running the most. I would like to run again. If I could find a safe place for a legally blind person to run. If I could get healthy enough again which means lowering my blood pressure enough that heart attack or stroke wasn't likely to be the finish line.

I tag Jamie and anyone else who wants to play.

1 tell me a story:

Julia Phillips Smith 1/26/2008 5:43 PM  

That's so amazing about your running, Joy Renee! Perhaps if you looked into the running for vision-impaired people, you'd be surprised. There might already be something in your area.

The writing 'Star Trek' fiction when that wasn't really done is the same for me, too. Except I did 'Star Wars' fiction. Tons of it.

Captain Kirk crush - me, too! But what does it say that my favorite episode is 'Amok Time' when he gets into the duel-to-the-death with Spock? Already as a little girl (we're talking first-run of the original series on TV, now) I was beyond thrilled in a massive way when it looked like my hero was in a little too deep. I suppose it says that I have complete faith that my heroes are so amazing, they can take the worst that can be dished out.

Thanks for those YouTube links - I've always heard about this record and now I can enjoy. Shatner's Stratford training led you to Shakespeare - now that is sweet!

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