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The Wandering I


 

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

I have this idea for a screenplay. It would have a romantic comedy-esque plot line about a young woman who was afraid of commitment, career commitment. She would go through several random career paths and eventually dump them before they could begin to have a more permanent place in her life. The young woman would get bored too quickly, or the job would not turn out to be what it had been when she was first courting it. Nice jobs can seem to turn nasty out of nowhere. She wonders how she got herself into such a predicament. Ever optimistic, she gets out and moves on to another career path. She hopes this time, it will be The One.

She often fantasizes about The One. She dreams of something that will make her rich and fulfill her in every way. Ideally, as romantic comedies go, something will make her realize that she’s been blinded by her impossible expectations. This realization will then lead to the discovery that The One has been waiting right under her nose the whole time. She lives happily ever after, or at least something close to that.

That’s how I hope it ends. Because this movie is based on actual events, I don’t really know how it will turn out. I’ll just have to wait and see.

When I was little, I would have loved school if it wasn’t for all of the group projects, PE, and recess. I know this sounds weird, but it’s true. I’ve always loved learning. Discovering new things was always much more fun to me than running around, trying not to get bashed in the head with a rubber ball. This is what makes me weird. I will read anything on everything, but it’s the unusual stuff that intrigues me the most. I spent my summer reading books on neuroscience and the history of the beauty industry.I am interested in too many dissimilar things. That’s why I just can’t figure out what to do with my life. If I could get paid to just read, take lots of random classes, and learn random stuff, I would have been happily settled into a career already.

Unfortunately, I don’t get paid to learn stuff. It can actually be very expensive to learn stuff. So, I have to eventually settle on something to focus all of my interest on. I am roughly one semester away from finishing my BFA in graphic design. It has taken me a long time to get to this point. Let’s just say that I’ve wandered a lot. I started my college career as a Studio Arts major who dabbled in theatre, creative writing, psychology, and sociology. I eventually switched to digital media, then back to theatre. At this point, I became frustrated because I realized that I wasn’t really learning anything that would make me employable. I was tired of people thinking I spent my days coloring, so I decided to indulge my scientific side. I enrolled in an occupational therapy program. I loved the anatomy and psychology aspect of the curriculum, but I become cranky and miserable if I have no time to let my creative side out to play, so back to art school. I decided to study graphic design because it was creative and practical. I am still more than a little dubious about working in a cubicle in front of a computer for the rest of my life. My creativity is strongly limited by time, budget, my client’s tastes, and my ability to make the computer do what I want it to.  I find it incredibly difficult to make my computer cooperate. I spend a lot of time convincing myself that dropkicking my laptop across the room is a bad idea. People still think I sit at my desk coloring all day.

As I keep getting eerily close to graduation, I find myself wondering what’s next? I’m pretty sick of school but…

Since preschool, life has been scripted. Preschool to Kindergarten, Kindergarten to elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college. I went to college because I was expected to. I didn’t really know what I wanted out of life at 18 so I just charged ahead blindly. It eventually became my quest to obtain a degree before I hit 30. At 27, I’ll have just barely made it. Nobody tells you what to do after that. There’s no clearly defined path. I could continue my education, or study something different. I could start job hunting, I could start a business of my own. I could start a family. I’m baffled by the possibility.

I don’t regret all of the wandering. I’m sure that all of the major and job changes have made more than a few people think I’m crazy. I have taken something valuable away from each experience. Maybe every class and odd job have been stepping stones to where I’m supposed to eventually land. Maybe I’ll wake up some day like the girl in the romantic comedy and find everything I’ve been looking for has just been quietly waiting for me discover it. If nothing else, at least all of the random experiences make for good stories. I keep telling myself that someday I’ll write a book about my journey. I would just like to know how the story ends.

 

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Geek Love


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Jeff & I met back in 2005 when we both ended up in a 3D Design class at UNO. We didn’t really talk much until the last day of class when my group and I were struggling to transport our final project from the sculpture building to the top floor of the fine arts building. The piece consisted of a plaster cast of my butt in a large wooden frame. (None of us really cared for the teacher much.) Being the chivalrous guy that he is, Jeff offered to help us carry my butt up the stairs. After our projects were presented, Jeff also helped us to dispose of the masterpiece. Somewhere between there and leaving the building he had disappeared. I didn’t see him again until the next school year.

The next semester, our schedules seemed to “coincidentally” match up. We didn’t have any classes together, but would frequently meet on campus and on the shuttle bus to and from campus. One day in particular, I was in the arts building putting in an installation piece. ( I was lying on my back gluing plaster feet to the underside of the staircase.) He saw me from the upstairs landing and came down to chat. He was probably the only person in the building that day who didn’t stop to give me weird looks. He just asked what I was doing and offered to help. That was the first time he asked me out. And I had to turn him down because I had to work that night. He asked me out again the next week, but he had terrible timing with it being finals week and me being a procrastinator, I had to turn him down again. I felt horrible because I actually did like him and want to go out with him. Finally, the thesis art talks came around and once again we bumped into each other at the show. He tried again and I was finally able to say yes.

Our first date was lunch at Olive Garden. The next night I met up with him and some friends at the old Dundee Dell. We spent the entire night talking about zombie movies and other horror movies. Later in the evening I ended up going into total geek mode and professed my undying love of Lord of the Rings while selecting Pink Floyd music on the jukebox. The night ended in a slightly awkward hug and as I was driving home, I started to kick myself for being a total nerd. I was pretty sure I had scared him off…until he called me to make sure I got home okay.

I found out several dates later that our “random” meetings on campus were not actually that random at all. Jeff had been skipping class to meet me on the shuttle and I am the reason he doesn’t have a degree in Art History.

Five years and several zombie movies and LOTR marathons later, he proposed.

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