Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

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23 January 2007

Only Six?

The "Six Weird Things" meme is going around Blogland. I'm sure I can come up with more than six, but here are the first six that come to mind.

1. I grew up in a Boy Scout camp.

From age 5 to age 18, my parents, my brothers, and I lived in the residence of a Boy Scout camp. My dad worked his regular job, plus he cut acres of grass, repaired windows, and put out fires left by Scout leaders. By age 10 I knew how to turn on the electricity, propane, and water to the buildings, and how to turn off the burglar alarm. (The fact that the alarm bell went off at the foot of my bed had a lot to do with that last one.) My mom considered the place one big outdoor botany lab, so I learned tree and plant names (common and scientific) the way most kids learned words like "chair" and "table".

2. I'm a "bendy".

I have super-flexible joints, and can pop my shoulders and hips out of joint at will with no pain. Only one of my thumbs (the left one) has a "double" joint. I used to be able to touch all of my fingers and my thumb to my wrist/forearm, but these days I can no longer get the thumb and forefinger to touch. If I push my fingers backwards, they go about 80 degrees back.

3. I never learned my right from my left.

When I was in kindergarten, I figured out that what I thought of as my "click thumb" was the left one. Therefore the right thumb was "the other one". When I was asked about left or right, I would click my thumb to find the left one, and answer based on that. I still do this: if given "turn right at the corner" driving directions, I click my thumb and turn the other way.

A discussion about left-right confusion on the origami list revealed that no less than Sigmund Freud shared this failure of left/right to "stick" with me:

"I do not know whether it is obvious to other people which is their own or other's right or left. In my case, I had to think which was my right; no organic feeling told me. To make sure which was my right hand I used quickly to make a few writing movements."

In my case, it's not so much "confusion" as a failure of the labels to stick. I don't confuse the two. It just doesn't seem to be important enough for my brain to remember.

4. I can write in cursive right side up, upside down, backwards, or backwards-and-upside-down.

This was proposed by my mom when I was 9 or so as a rainy day activity. (I wonder how crazy I was driving her, for her to come up with that?) I have no idea if this weird ability is related to 3.

5. I learned to whistle before I was 4 years old.

I can whistle about anything I can hear, if it fits into my range, and if it doesn't, I transpose or shift octaves without thinking about it. On the other hand, I didn't learn to read music until I was 10. So I can't look at sheet music and mentally hear the tune: I have to play it out loud.

6. My earliest memory is fussing on my dad's chest, being walked up and down outdoors, to the sound of what I would learn was a drum corps practicing.

Before we moved to the Boy Scout camp, we lived close to a park where the local drum corps practiced. I would have been around 8 or 10 months old. I still love drums and drum corps passionately, even if the only exposure I get is the DCI (Drum Corps International) championships.

2 Comments:

Blogger Julie said...

Hey, I've got the right-left thing too! I've read that it has to do with using both sides of the brain equally, which is unusual.

Otherwise, living in a boy scout camp sure sounds interesting. At the time did it seem strange, or was it just the way things were?

9:43 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

This is great, can we all consider ourselves tagged? I was looking for a quick and dirty post idea and this really fits the bill.

But, wait a minute, why didn't I know that about your thumbs? Did you know that I have the same problem? I have to check for the scar on my right thumbnail.

Julie, I first met Alwen when she was living in the boyscout camp and she ALWAYS acted like it was the most natural thing in the world. She always seemed to have an innate understanding of how lucky she was to grow up in that environment. (I loves her alot, can you tell?)

12:24 PM  

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