Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ten Minutes

It took 10 minutes to set the course for the rest of my life.

One afternoon in 1998, I had to sign up for classes at Super-Awesome School, a program that combined students from all the high schools to take classes not offered in Normal Hellish School. For three years I had planned to follow in my brother's footsteps and sign up for a goverment/economics class that included a county gov't internship. However, that afternoon I found out I couldn't take that class, for some forgotten reason. I browsed the list of courses and picked out my required gov't/econ and two science classes that looked exciting, given my proclivity to geekiness.

That's the 10 minutes. I had NO CLUE it would be the butterfly's flapping wings to the hurricane in Brazil of my life.

No one from NHS took any of the classes I signed up for. No one knew me. It was such a fantastic feeling. I noticed that in all 3 classes, this interesting looking girl (by interesting looking I don't mean unfortunate looking. I mean she looked nice and smart and other positive adjectives. After I met a few more people like her, I discovered she was one of the Shiny People). I figured she was too cool for me, but I took a chance on talking to her on a day that she was wearing a Sue the Dinsosaur shirt and I was wearing a Kokopelli shirt. Oddly, she didn't think I was pondscum and kept talking to me, which was exactly opposite of what happened on any given day at NHS. Her name was Velocibadgergirl.

Even odder, her friends talked to me. And then, I was friends with these people. Note the plural, because it was a whole new chapter in my book. So far, signing up for those classes helped me form friendships that are active to this day. That alone changed me.

But wait! There's more!

Since I couldn't get that internship, I found a way to have it that summer, at the morgue. Which was my favorite job ever. The coroner was a black belt in taekwondo, and he spoke highly of it, as did VBG. Because I had planned on taking a martial arts class in college since my dad forbade me to learn judo in high school, I went with taekwondo. If my path had forked to the right instead of a left when I was checking boxes for SS, I would have been in judo, and I wouldn't have met Touchstone. He was my taekwondo instructor first, then my friend, and later my co-worker. He suggested I take a neuroscience class with the lesson involving a picture of mating hamsters. So I did. And, I loved it. And, the teacher's assistant suggested that I pursue it, and the teacher suggested I join a lab.

It turned out my favorite psych prof ran a neuroscience lab, and she let me in. I spent three years as her research asistant, and it became my second favorite job ever. She taught me to think differently and to really question what people tell me. Some weeks I spent 20 hours in her laboratory. For a while I did research from 9pm-10pm in my pajamas, just to get an extra hour in that day, and I did it happily. My prof was/is one of my biggest heroes, and one year after Touchstone had joined our motley crew, we snuck into her house and made her broccoli manicotti and cake for her birthday. It was good times.

Also worth mentioning, I met my husband through VBG. MacGyver is her cousin and we met at her 19th birthday party. The backstory is kind of longish and weird, so I'll talk about that some other time. But the important thing is that he is mine, and I don't know if I would have met him without VBG. Sometimes MacGyver and I speculate that we would have met at the rock climbing gym, so in my alternate life he is still mine and I could have met VBG though him. At least, I'd like to think so.

To recap, going to SS brought me to VBG who: hooked me up with her friends that I still love today, gave me an interest in taekwondo that led to a friendship that influenced my direction in college which gave me the prerequisite degree for my current job, and threw a shindig where I met a guy that I dated and eventually married. So basically, my whole adult life can be traced back to deciding to go with the science classes rather than that internship.

If I think about this too much, I start to wonder what little thing will affect every big thing. On a whim, will I will I attend a monster truck rally where I will meet a woman who will help me get my next job that will require me to move to Siberia? Will I think a book cover looks interesting, causing me to read it and change my mind about key issues which will affect my world view and inspire me to join a cult? Will I decide to go to the Chinese buffet instead of the gym and get hit by an SUV because I went through the light that I would have turned left at had I not given in to the Siren song of House Special Potatoes?

And if I had never gone to class and met VBG, who would my friends be? Who would I have fallen in love with? What kind of job would I have? Would I be any happier? Would my soul feel the loss of what could have been?


rabidmonkey said...

well, that does help explain why you seemed so very happy/excited the first time i met you.

Danger said...

Remember that field trip we took with Velocibadgergirl? It was probably the happiest I'd been in two years.