Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

danger_chick's questions

Danger_chick asked me five interview questions a few days ago, and I'm finally getting around to answering them.  I've been really bad about this...sorry!

  1. How do you keep from previous "boyfriend"?

    For those of you who don't know, my good friend JC is fascinated by danger_chick and her boots.  A few years ago he asked her out.  Now, she agreed to go out with him a couple of times -- literally, I think just twice -- under the assumption that they were going out as friends.  After all, it was well known at the time that she was a lesbian and had zero attraction to men.  But my friend, paragon of male virility that he thinks he is, had this strange notion that he could convert her.  Danger_chick was shocked later to discover that she had been "dating" JC, that they had been a bonafide couple on the basis of two outings.  We still joke about that, because the idea of those two dating is so absurd.

    Now, on to the actual question.  I do wonder myself sometimes.  JC has a way of really getting under your skin at times with his pig-headedness, his inability to accept he is wrong at times, his arrogance, his total insensitivity to social dynamics.  I actually was so incensed at him once that I threw furniture in his general direction.  Not at him, mind you; I wasn't trying to hurt him, just trying to scare him with the image of this 6'3", 240 lb. behemoth tottering on the edge of insanity throwing chairs and kicking coffee tables at him.  I think he was initially a bit scared but then realized I wasn't going to hurt him.  It sucks to be a nice guy sometimes, because people have a hard time believing I am capable of violence.

    Yet, despite the fact that he can often be intolerable, I love him.  He was one of the first people I befriended at Amherst.  He has been there for me when I've been all alone out here in Massachusetts, such as during holidays when I'm far from family and other friends are with their families.  He is extremely intelligent, if often misguided.  I enjoy hanging out with him and watching football or movies or discussing books or just plain hanging out.  He can be as silly as me, which is a rare thing.  There's plenty there to like, if you can slough through all the other stuff.

  2. How is your love life going these days?  The last I knew anything was last fall and it seemed a tad painful.  I'm hoping that you've moved onto a better place.

    What's a love life?  :)

    Last fall I was still getting over having broken up with Keya.  Just because I was the one who did the breaking up didn't make things easier.  Plus, she started dating my friend Dan only 3-4 months after we had ended our 2½ year relationship and before I had moved out of her house.  You're remembering the party at Bitty's place, where Keya and Dan were fawning over each other in the presence of me and my friends.  This made me -- and several of you, as I recall -- very uncomfortable.  I'm happy to say, though, that I'm over that now and am totally comfortable hanging out with the two of them.

    One thing I learned while dating Keya is that I have not had very much experience with women.  I haven't dated enough to know what I really need or want from a relationship.  The last thing I want is to find myself in a marriage I never should have committed to because I didn't know what I needed or wanted.

    That said, I have resolved to date as much as possible and to get to know as many different women as possible casually, without the pressure of commitment.  If this makes me seem like a player, so be it.  I have gotten over my inhibitions about approaching women, talking to them, and if things go well asking for digits.  I have been on several first dates in the past few months, and eventually some of these first dates will yield subsequent dates as well.

    I haven't dated as much the past couple of months because I've had other interests that are, frankly, more important to me right now and because I have become increasingly self-conscious about my weight.  This is a temporary situation, though, and eventually someone will come along.  I'm in no hurry.

  3. How did you ever get into opera?

    I have always been a ham.  I used to be extremely shy in social situations, so perhaps this was my way of overcompensating in performance situations.  I've developed very good interpretive and language skills, and I am a good comic actor.

    I have always sung, whether in choirs or whatnot.  I don't really have what you would call a beautiful voice, but it is a big voice (and getting bigger as it matures).  It's a voice that's really only suited for musical theater or opera.

    Throw the two together, the larger-than-life acting and the singing, and you have yourself an opera singer.  I don't have world-class talent, so you're not likely ever to see me performing at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, or La Scala.  But I do have enough talent that, if I am disciplined and work my butt off, and can make a living singing opera.

  4. I have always been curious how you got from Panama to Boston.  Could you give me a brief overview of your life by where you were living?

    I was born on January 22, 1974, at Gorgas Army Hospital in Ancon, Panamá.  My family lived in Ancon until I was about 6 months old, when they were able to move into a larger apartment at the base of Ancon Hill in Balboa, a port town on the Pacific terminus of the Panama Canal.  We lived there until I was 15, when we moved on Tuesday, August 1, 1989, (at about 8 a.m.) to my dad's childhood home in Lemon Grove, California, about 8 miles east of downtown San Diego.

    There were two principal reasons I chose to attend Amherst College here in Massachusetts.  First, having grown up in the tropics with two distinct seasons, wet and dry, I did not transition well to living in what amounted to a desert where the temperature never strayed far from the mid-70s and the sun always shown except for night-and-morning low clouds.  I needed green and seasonal change.  Second, I needed to get far, far away from home.  I love my family dearly, but there are times when they can make JC look innocuous by comparison.  It's no coincidence that the nearest college to San Diego that I applied to was Grinnell in Iowa, and that only because they recruited me to play football.  Next closest was Oberlin in Ohio and then Amherst and Harvard (to satisfy my mom).

    After I graduated from Amherst I drove back to California with my family, but it did not take me long to realize that I still needed to be far away.  I drove back to the Valley, rented an apartment in Easthampton, and found work all over the place.  At various times over the next two years, I worked as a police dispatcher for Amherst College and for Hadley Police, as a baritone soloist for a church in Springfield, as a receptionist at an inn in Holyoke, and as a girls basketball referee and baseball umpire anywhere from North Adams to Greenfield to Athol to Northampton to South Hadley.  I really did work all over the place!

    After two years of this, I tired of my lifestyle, of being in debt, and of not advancing my career, so I moved to Boston to find better work.  First I lived with JC, Tubby, and Scotty in North Cambridge, then with Keya in Revere, and now in Medford/Somerville with Tubby.

  5. Do you remember flying with me to Fort Worth on 9/22?  I still think on occasion about sitting in Logan with you and you told me the head lice story.

    I do remember, but I had forgotten telling you the head lice story.

    Keya and I had gone to San Diego to see a Redskins-Chargers game to open 2002 NFL season, she being an ardent Redskins fan and me a devout Chargers fan.  We returned to Boston on September 10, 2001.  Our friends knew we were travelling that week but didn't know which day.  One of the first things JC did when he heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center was to call my cell phone to make sure we were okay.  That's how Keya and I found out about the terrorist attacks.  My sister was supposed to fly from San Diego to Boston on September 11 to come visit me; needless to say, her vacation was delayed by a few days.

    At first the reaction in the office was the same as it usually is for any crisis:  we were shocked, but we regarded the events in New York and DC with a sense of detachment because it didn't involve us directly.  Not, that is, until someone realized that a member of our laboratory was flying to Los Angeles that day with her husband and two-year-old daughter.  We tried frantically to reach her best friend or her family to confirm that she wasn't on one of those flights.  A little after 1 p.m. I relayed the bad news to the rest of the office:  Sue Kim Hanson, her husband Peter, and daughter Christine were confirmed aboard United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center.  I put together a little memorial on the Pulmonary Center website, and I encourage you to check out both that page and the link on it.

    I had already made plans to fly out to Dallas on September 22 to meet several friends and watch the Chargers-Cowboys game.  I was nervous about flying, but I wasn't going to allow a terrorist act to deter me from living my life.  If I allowed that, it would be conceding victory to the terrorists.

    I'm not sure I've ever seen a major airport as empty as Logan was that morning.  Imagine, then, my surprise when I saw you in the same terminal as me.  At first I wasn't sure it was you.  If I recall, you were flying to a research conference in Austin...well, you were flying on the same plane I was to Houston, then changing planes to Dallas (again, the same flight as me), and then driving to Austin.

    I don't think we talked during the flight.  I pretty much stayed in my seat the entire flight, tensing up every time I heard a creak or other odd sound from the plane.  Planes always make these noises, but it seems we were all especially attuned to them on that flight.

    We did talk in the terminal, though, and I told you the above about Sue and her family.  And I told you the head lice story.

    The rest of you must be wondering what the head lice story is.  It's my last memory of Sue.  She came into the office.  I continued to work on my computer.  My co-worker Kathy asked Sue how Christine was.  Sue said something about checking for head lice in the preschools.  The two of them discussed their head lice experiences with I no longer remember the details.  We all laughed a little.  And Had I known she'd be dead a few days later...but who can know these things.  <sigh>  That's my last memory of Sue:  head lice.

Thank you, danger_chick, for your questions.  If any of you wish to interview or be interviewed by me, just let me know and I'll oblige.

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