You already know I’m a cranky geek, so I must dig deeper

I didn’t realize how much I actually tell you all, until I starting thinking about how to respond to Jana tagging me. I mean, you already know I built skyscrapers with my blocks as a kid, you know what makes me cry, and when I’m reading the perfect book at the perfect time. So it took some thought to come up with five things about me that I think most of you don’t already know. Here’s what I’ve got:

1) I’m calling from the basement.
Not all the time. And I am not generally creepy like the movie, either. But a few years ago, when I trying to renew my books at the library, the less-than-helpful clerk told me, “You can’t do that here. You can always call and do it.” So I circled back around the checkout desk, went to the basement, got on the pay phone, and called to renew my books. Once my transaction was complete, I said, “I’m calling from the basement, you know.” Yeah, I know now the clerk probably meant “here” as “this line” not “in the building.” Irritation + stubbornness = not always my best thinking.

2) I didn’t really learn anything of value about poetry until I was in my thirties.
I don’t think this has anything to do with age, though — it has to do with the way we don’t teach it in school, we inculcate annoyance or hatred. I managed to earn forty credits in creative writing, another thirty-five in literature, and then go on to earn a Master’s in English and still feel like I didn’t “get” or even want to get poetry. Living with a poet who knows how to teach opened my mind.

3) I’ve used Google to fix my dishwasher.
Suds and water were pouring from the bottom of the dishwasher, and I had no idea why. Like any good geek, I turned to Google. By searching first on symptoms (the leaking from the bottom of the dishwasher door) then on how-to, and finally on model numbers, I was able to determine the exact part (door gasket) I needed to order for my craptastic dishwasher at the lowest of the available extortionist prices. This despite needling by certain disbelievers in the power of Search (Hi, honey). Irritation and stubbornness can pay off, the trick is for me to realize when I’m being a crank and when I’m on to something.

4) I refused to use computers because they were soulless boxes.
This was back in the Age of DOS and dot matrix printers, and I just didn’t think that combination could sing the way a typewriter could. I embraced word processing in college because it made my life easier, but I didn’t get a kick from computers. In grad school, when I bought my first computer — a Mac Color Classic — the machine started to whisper to me. By the late nineties I was doing the information architecture for the website of the nonprofit I was working at, dragging them kicking and screaming onto the web, because that is where the people they needed to reach were.

Coming up with a five things is tough. I could tell you I starred in a three act play, working with a very demanding director but, hypothetically speaking, if I told you I was Pooh in Mrs Reichel’s fourth-grade production, you might want to see photographic evidence. I guess this brings me to the real fifth thing:

5) There will always be things I won’t post online
Sure, I’ve got a lifestream‘s worth of feeds out there (my blogs, photographs, bookmarks, books, twitters, comments, etc.), more than a passing interest in declarative living, and don’t believe making a distinction between the web and “the real world” makes any sense. I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of person — wherever you know me from, you probably wouldn’t be surprised by my behavior in a different context. But I also believe in not sharing what isn’t entirely mine to share, and in maintaining quiet spaces for reflection and for some ideas to begin taking shape. The specifics might change (time was, I wouldn’t mention my employer by name here; before I joined the 365 days group on flickr, I hadn’t posted a recognizable photo of myself there) but the principle won’t. I’m not the exhibitionist a casual perusal of social software sites may make me seem.

Now for the best part, the folks who will, fingers crossed, be participants in the meme cycle:

  • I used to work at JWA, and I want to see what the Jewesses with Attitude come up with for this
  • Breaching the Web is one of the first blogs I started reading, and I always enjoy her take on things. I don’t think she’s succumbed to this meme yet, so I hope she does now…
  • Ron Slattery’s bighappyfunhouse is one of my favorite blogs, but I don’t know anything about him, save his fantastic eye for the found and his quirky sense of humor
  • Letter from Eastie — it never stops surprising me how people who are in the same place, yet have never met, “meet” online
  • My blogging coworkers: post behind the firewall if you must, but why not give it go?

2 thoughts on “You already know I’m a cranky geek, so I must dig deeper

  1. Jenny, I knew you would not let me down… calling from the basement! HA! You crack me up!

    I look forward to seeing how your tags propagate… and you MUST send me copies of the BTW stuff, OK?

    Happy day!
    Jana

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