February 18, 2014
For the conference I attended in San Diego this weekend, I traveled with a long-time colleague. When we got to the conference, she ran into an old friend she hadn't seen in about ten years. They fell back into immediate familiarity, and the three of us spent a great deal of time together over long, comfortable meals full of food, drink, and lots of conversation. As new friends often do, we shared quite a lot about our backgrounds and histories, tossing about the stories and anecdotes that shaped our particular paths in life. Seriously, get three articulate, passionate, creative writers and storytellers together--the entertainment just keeps going. We often think our own lives to be fairly mundane and pedestrian because we were there, of course, so it seems matter of course to us. However, as I think back on the memories and situations that came up in the course of the conversation, I am struck once again that if seen by the objective eye, my life might not be quite so mundane as I often think it to be.
I shared stories, to name a few, about...
--the stream of illegal immigrants my parents hired as nannies when we were young in order to give them a start in their new country
--the morbid fear of knives I developed--and still have--because a babysitter (not one of the illegal ones) chased us to our neighbor's house, threatening to kill us
--the time my brother nearly blinded me as a very young girl
--the time my brother nearly blinded my sister as a slightly older young girl
--the time my brother smashed through our patio door to prove he had 'learned' karate
--the time we blindfolded and tied up my younger brother and left him, forgotten, in our attic for several hours
--the time I was homeless for a short while in junior high
--the time my parents bought a private school and we tried to make a run of it for the blink of an eye before they had to shut it down for financial reasons and we were shuttled back to public school
--the private investigator my father hired to spy on us during high school
--the time a party at my apartment (thrown by my roommate, who just happened to be my brother) very nearly ended my teaching career before it ever began
--the time I found nearly $4000 worth of drugs in my apartment
--the last time I ever saw my dad alive
We did, as I said, a LOT of talking. My counterparts shared just as much of their own histories, which were fascinating and as foreign to me as my experiences were to them. At the end of the weekend, we came away with two things: we all really enjoyed each others' company, and we all quite possibly have a book in us somewhere. I mean, I could write a whole book on my brother alone! Someday...