Morton Avenue and Lakeland

January 23, 2009

When I visit my parents I am forced to drive by the intersection that was the site of my 1997 car accident. A friend of mine had picked me up for an evening out and a woman ran a stop sign and hit us. I only remember fragments of that night, hitting my head on the windshield, trying to talk to my unresponsive friend, the firemen having to try to cut us both out of the car. I remember my mom sitting in the hospital with me. Still tied to the backboard an unable to turn my head, I was unable to see her, but I remember knowing she was there.

Years later in a rare conversation with my sister, she mentioned that night in passing. Only 11 at the time, she recalled the phone call from the police and my dad yelling for her to run and get his car keys and grab a stuffed animal from my bed. It was chilling to hear another version of that night. Ultimately we were both lucky and came away with extremely minor injuries. In that moment it seems like a life changing event, but now at 12 years later my passes through the intersection on the way to various holiday meals are the only times it crosses my mind. Though we’ve never discussed it in depth, I have often wondered if the life change happened not for me, but for my sister.

I can’t put my finger on it, but I may be just a little bit closer to solving the “why do bad things happen to good people” mystery. I suppose it all depends on if involuntary actions can be considered selfless.

I’ll get back to you on that.


How Facebook Made Me Whole

January 21, 2009

I am a consummate wanderer.  In my 29.75 years on this planet I have moved nearly a dozen times and traveled to another dozen places. With no one place that I consider home, I feel as though I am a only a fragment of my life’s pieces at any given time. Though I celebrate the diversity (both geographic and otherwise) of my friends, the situational and locality differences are so great that each subset has very little overlap with any other. Every anecdote has to start with an elaborate back-story. The algorithms necessary to remember who knows whom are exhausting.

Enter social networking. A perusal of my Facebook friend list will show you every piece of me. From my pre-school best friend to my newest co-worker, each facet of my life is represented. The walls of their compartments are just a little more transparent now. The histogram of self moves closer to equilibrium.

Facebook completes me. Not exactly the eloquence of Jerry Maguire, but C’est la vie I suppose.

Feeling Alive

January 20, 2009

I have returned from my first trip of 2009. With the computer left at home and access to very little news, it was a true vacation of the mind. It is my truest fault that I think too much and do too little. This weekend was a small sliver of balance.

The restorative powers of a good friend, a GPS equipped Ford Escape and a plan are amazing. The post-snowboarding coffee with Mint Chocolate Baileys certainly didn’t hurt either.


Capping off my weekend was finally meeting baby Alex. 8 days into it, she seems to be getting the hang of this thing called life probably better than I am.  Nearly 30 years my junior and she is already teaching me so much. I can only hope to leave a fraction of the imprint on her that she has left on me.


Next up: San Francisco

No birds.

January 16, 2009

I am heading out tomorrow for my first trip of 2009. I will be flying to Chicago, picking up a friend and a rental car and hitting Alpine Valley Ski Resort for some snowboarding.

I am leaving the computer at home and taking a break from work, though I will have both my Blackberries with me, so it’s not a true hiatus. I’m sure to be twittering from the slopes so check out @kaibigan7 if you want to keep updated while I fling myself down a mountain repeatedly for sport.

A Literary Confession

January 12, 2009

I own more books than one person should.

My books are my trinkets, they hold memories for me, like photographs do for others. As someone who retouches photographs, and often turns them into the surreal, I have developed an inherent mistrust of their visual depictions. Instead, I have literary-induced nostalgia. On my frequent travels, I make sure to scout a local bookstore and buy a book (or 10). Borrow a book from me and you will likely find a plane ticket stuck between its pages. Instantly you know if I first read it on the beaches of Aruba or in the gardens of Oxford.

Everyone from friends and family to my exterminator has commented on my collection, some better than others at hiding their incredulousness. Not one to be deterred by the “freak” label, my curiosity (and my collection) has grown over the years. Being surrounded by potential knowledge inspires me and though I am a consummate purger in all other aspects of my life, I will never part with my books. Their stories are so much more than just the words on the page.

Oh who am I kidding? I’m just looking for a guy with one hell of a librarian fantasy.

Welcome Baby Alexandra

January 10, 2009

Some time ago I read the book “All the Names” by Jose Saramago. The central character works in the “Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages” as a clerk. Working with a public he never sees, he knows only knows up to 3 things about the people whose index cards he files day in and day out. The date of their birth, the date of their death and the date of their marriage. He finds great satisfaction in starting new files; they are clean, with no bent corners, no erroneous stains or pencil marks, they contain just a name and a single date. Eventually curiosity gets the best of the man and he is overtaken with the desire to discover more about a woman whose card comes across his desk. He ends up going on a quest to fill in her life during the years he doesn’t write down.

Today my group of college friends expanded by one. My dear friend B and her husband had a healthy baby girl, Alexandra, known to us in the inner circle as Axle (known to the outside world as Alex). As of right now all baby Axle has is a name and a birth date. She has experienced little, met only a miniscule fraction of the people she will meet in her lifetime, seen the tiniest fragment of life possible. She has no bent corners, no marks or burdens. Her file has just begun.

I feel unbelievably lucky to get to watch her fill her life with experiences. If the whole Axle moniker sticks, she’s certain to have many.

Because nothing is more special than snowflakes on a puppy nose.



January 6, 2009

I fell into the trap of daily monotony today.

But hey, at least I have wine and candles



January 5, 2009

Tomorrow my work year starts and my vacation officially ends.  My two week hiatus was good balance of home vs. travel & family time. Though going home rustles up some complex feelings and self-analysis like nothing else, I was glad to spend the holidays with my family. Epic card card games, nightly cocktail hour, long walks through the neighborhood with my dog, the amazing food and the near breaking of my arm when I slipped on a patch of black ice will all be remembered as the perfect way to end 2008 (aside from the arm thing).

Tomorrow begins the daily pattern I have resolved to battle in 2009. Work – Home -Work in front of TV – Sleep – Repeat does not a fulfilling life make. Be it a glass of wine after work, a trip to a nearby cafe to write, or an exotic trip to a previously unexplored locale, I vow not to get bogged down this year with the business of daily life. I am going to embrace my inner wanderer and give myself a break from feeling like I have to be on a certain life path.

I wonder how one packs for this kind of journey.

Resolution for a New Year

January 1, 2009

To make as many moments of 2009 as I possibly can special.