Getting back to normal


Getting back to my normal activities is probably one of the things I need to do here in order to get healthier, so I’ll do the Friday Five this week. A few weeks ago when I realized that I’d be doing a Friday Five on Leap Day, I kind of peaked ahead at Wikipedia’s listing for this day to see if there was much of anything I could pull for the usual historical opener. I found some stuff that I thought I might be able to use, but I’ve kind of discarded it because there’s only one lead I can go with here:

Today was Dad’s memorial service up in Michigan. I love you, Dad, and I miss you terribly. On that note, let’s play the Friday Five.

1. How and when did you learn to swim?
I think the only real formal training I had in swimming came in second grade when we went to one of the local high schools (ironically enough the rival school to the one my sister was attending at the time). Given how often I was up at the vacation house my paternal grandparents had on Bois Blanc Island up on Lake Huron, though, and given how Mom always built small pools for me in the backyard in unused patches of her garden, though, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to swim. I’ve never done it that well, and I don’t think I ever will swim again for obvious reasons, but I can swim at least.

2. How and when did you learn to drive?
I first started driving school when I was 16, but I didn’t get my license until I was almost 25. The driving school I went to had a deal where you paid a one-time fee, and in addition to the state-mandated number of hours you had to drive with an instructor, they offered to let you keep driving with their instructors until you were ready to pass the test. Well, I kind of used a whole lot of those hours because I really sucked at driving. Finally one day I almost ran a kid over going through the residential neighbourhood east of the school, and five minutes later I somehow had my graduation certificate. I think they just got sick of me and wanted to cut ties with me, but the incident kind of stuck in my mind for a long time there and made me too scared to drive. I got over it eventually, and these days I think I’m one of the finest drivers out there, but it was hard.

3. How and when did you learn to tie your shoelaces?
I don’t remember the exact age, but I learned later than most (for all that I grew up to be so smart, I had difficulty with a lot of basic things back in the day), and I learned by practicing on a brick with holes in it through which Dad laced an extra pair of shoelaces. I can even remember the shoelaces being huge, and this absolutely hideous shade of green. (Green was Dad’s favourite colour.)

4. How and when did you learn to cook?
I think I made my first Chef Boyardee pizza when I was thirteen; I can remember that I forgot to grease the cookie sheet, so the pizza stuck on like crazy. After that Mom taught me various things, and I watched a lot of The Frugal Gourmet and Ciao Italia and picked up things from the cookbooks there.

5. How and when did you learn to type?
I’ve never learned how to type properly — I use my right hand for nearly all the keys, and keep my left pinky resting on the keyboard to the left of the tilde — but I had classes when I was younger. Given that I was doing computer programming when I was four years old on Dad’s Sinclair ZX-80, I think typing was just one of those things I picked up before I even knew what I was doing.

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