OK, so I’ve been tagged by both Rodd Lucier and Angela Maiers in the “7 Things You Did Not Know About Me” meme, so I guess I’ll give this a try. OK, where do I start?
1) I have walked away from three major car accidents in my life (not the driver in any of these).
a) The first was a roll-over at about age 16. Luckily, none of us were hurt.
b) The second, at age 23, was a roll-over on the daily, 1 hour commute on the way to teach in small town Saskatchewan. The driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and broke his back, but I believe he is fully recovered today. I felt especially lucky at the time because I remember sitting in the back, before the crash, trying to retrieve the seatbeat. At one point, I just gave up, and figured I would go to sleep without. A few minutes later, the passenger beside me tapped me on the shoulder, and had taken the time to pull out the seatbelt for me. I acknowledge this act of kindness as having saved my life, or at least, from severe injury.
c) The third was the most serious, and happened in Greece in 2005. I was in a taxi with another occupant when we hit a large truck that was backing up. The taxi driver was killed instantly, and the occupant in the back lost part of his leg. I walked away. The crash was difficult for me on a number of different levels. The taxi driver had taken taken my fare after several other drivers tried to overcharge. I remember him speaking about how such drivers gave Greek taxi drivers a bad name, and that they were crooks. I remember him speaking fondly about his family. He was a good man. And then, that was it.
Incidentally, I took a photo of the driver before the accident and for some reason, it did not pick up the proper EXIF date data. Whenever I open up iPhoto, he’s the first photo that comes up. All of the other photos I took during my trip formatted correctly.
2) My middle name is Valintino. No one else in my family has a middle name (not a Greek tradition), but since I was born on February 14, the doctor that it would be “cute” to give me that name.
3) I never wanted to teach. I went into the B.Ed program for lack of better options. Even when I was done, I didn’t want to teach. Then, I got my first job at St. Michael’s College, a First Nations residential school near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. It was the biggest challenge of my life. I was threatened with violence, had my car vandalized, and felt that it would be impossible to relate the least bit to my students. And this was just in my first three months of teaching. But, right before Christmas break, in my first year, several of my students came to see me. They wanted me to know that I was making a difference. I won’t get into the details, but it was what I needed at the time. And, more importantly, I think it was what they needed as well. Needless to say, I fell madly in love with teaching that year, and I have never looked back.
4) Similarly to
Angela Barbara, I am deathly afraid of heights. However, I can do amusement park rides, gondolas, and that sort of thing. But, I fear heights when I am not secured to or inside something, where I have the ability to fall. I cannot get on my own roof.
5) One of best jobs I have ever had was as a ride operator at Kinsmen Park Rides in Saskatoon. I spent four summers operating a mini-train (I considered myself an engineer), a ferris wheel, and a merry-go-round. The pay was good, the hours were great, and it was stress-free. Hmmmm …wondering if they are still hiring?
6) I was once a very skilled percussionist and pianist. I quit both. I remember my music teacher crying because I quit. I’ve always regretted it.
7) Although I am not what you would consider a religious person, I have had two distinct spiritual experiences that I cannot explain.
a) First, the night before my grandfather Aleco died, I recall him speaking to me in a dream, telling me goodbye, and that I should take care of my mother (his daughter). I had never dreamt about him before that time, or after. I remember the dream, and then my mother waking me up, telling me that she had just learned that he had passed away.
b) After a very late night in Saskatoon during my undergraduate days, my friend and I collected ourselves and headed back to Humboldt, where we were working that summer. It was about an hour long drive, and we were very tired. I was driving, but fell asleep probably about 15 minutes into the trip. I remember that moment vividly. As I fell asleep, I felt a firm hand grab my shoulder and my first name being called. I woke up instantly, just in time to veer back into my lane, and away from the half-ton truck coming in our direction. My friend was still passed out in the passenger seat and no one else was in the car.
That got a bit deeper than I expected. :-)
Alright, I duly tag the following people:
I like that you got deep. Really interesting, especially the spiritual experiences. I’ve had similar experiences.
We share at least two things: birthday and the acute fear of heights.
Thanks for sharing.
I love this meme, and the behind-the-scenes look it gives us into people’s lives and personalities.
I was in one serious accident, had my face stitched up by a plastic surgeon named Dr. Barry Altman. Used to remember him every time I shopped at B. Altman’s in White Plains, NY!
I’ve always contended (and still do) that one of the best things about all this web 2.0 stuff (blogging, twitter, etc.) is being able to connect with people on both a personal and a professional level. Being reminded that the people you work with and respect are real human beings is both necessary and refreshing. Thanks for sharing!
Fascinating list–so much more interesting than my own. Hey Alec, my Mom, now 75, swears that my Dad, who has been dead 25+ years is still with her in her home, taking care of her AND letting her know when he is not happy with her choices. She STILL wears her wedding ring.
I hope there isn’t a time limit – I loved reading your post and want to think carefully before composing mine!
Alec, Your short stories are easily as compelling as any of the ‘professional’ writing you’ve done in this space.
Knowing that you have many other writing responsibilities competing for your attention, this post was a special treat!
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Okay, buddy. I love your stories, and I’ll definitely respond. And with any luck, it will be before the end of the year! :-) I was particularly nice to find out that I actually knew a few of these stories before they appeared in print.
And my 7 things response is now posted. Was any special tagging necessary for meme to be tracked?
What an honour to be tagged by Alec Couros! It was a nice birthday present for me!
I liked your description of your spiritual experiences, in particular, Alec. We so rarely speak of or share such things!
Wow! What an interesting meme…it’s so fascinating that I read it three times. It’s certainly a story in and of itself.
Thank you for sharing this with us. WE, are better for it.
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Eerily coincidental — Sharon tagged me and I posted my thoughts before I read came to read yours.
I also talk about car accidents and feeling God’s hand on my shoulder!!
As for everything else, smiles…..it was just nice getting to know you a bit more.
Happy New Year!
Truly well written post. I felt really sad about the Greek taxi driver.
Great blog. You chose a lot of interesting things to reveal about yourself.
Especially loved # 7. I had a similar experience. The night before my grandmother died, I was home alone washing the dishes when I felt someone poke me on the back. I looked up and saw a shadow ghost walking across the kitchen wall and then disappear. I was a little spooked but did not tell anyone about this. The next morning, my cousin came to my home to tell us that my grandmother had died the night before at around the same time I was poked. I guess it was her saying good by to me.
Concerning # 5, I have heard the same remarks from other people who have similar jobs during their college days. I guess it is a real fun job to have.
Thanks for sharing. Look forward to meeting you face to face soon at Educon 2.
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