The Scintilla Project Day Fourteen — Run Away Fast As You Can

1. Talk about a time when you were younger and you embarrassed your parents in public, the one that still shames you.

2. We exert control over ourselves and others in many ways. Talk about a time when you lost that control. This can go beyond the obvious emotional control into things like willpower, tidiness, self-discipline, physical prowess – any time that you felt your autonomy slipping away.

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 14 prompts

I wasn’t really that embarrassing as a kid — I asked my Mom about stories where I embarrassed her and she only came up with a story about visiting an Indian store when I was 4 and complaining about the stink, so not much to tell there.

The real story is the other one, though…

Not exactly done in public, I once tried to run away from home. It was 1987 and I was mad at my mother. Don’t expect me to remember why, though — I was only 4 then. But somewhere inside that child’s mind of mine, I’d had it. I refused to suffer my mother’s tyrannical ways — I was running away.

So, clad in my jammies, I packed my favourite toys and my little brother — I shouldn’t leave him to deal with this injustice, after all — I waited for the perfect opportunity, and around 9 or 10 PM we stole away into the night!

The Master Plan

I had it all figured out. My buddy lived two doors down (I think his name was Jesse), and this was my logic:

  • his parents were nice
  • he had a Sega Master System, which was absent from my life
  • I was sure we’d all get along just fine

So after making the long trek to our next-door neighbour’s next-door neighbour, I knocked on the door and Jesse’s mom opened it with one of the most confused looks I can ever remember seeing in my life. I promptly explained to her that we were running away and asked whether we could stay there, instead.

In the next few minutes, she called my house, my Mom came over in a whirlwind equal parts apologetic worry and embarrassed fury, and my Mom took me home to what was historically one of the worst spankings of my life.

So, lesson learned — there’d be no more running away in the Palmer household. It’s not like I had any money to make it very far, and it didn’t look like anyone else wanted to take care of me, so it just wasn’t the smart play.

I would’ve definitely been the cutest runaway ever, though!

–case p.

The Scintilla Project Day Thirteen — Wasabi?!?!

1. Post a photo of yourself from before age 10. Write about what you remember of the day the photo was taken. It may not be a full story—it may just be flashes of event and emotion—but tap into the child you were as much as you can.

2. The saying goes What you don’t know won’t hurt you, but sometimes the opposite is true. Talk about a time when you were hurt by something you didn’t know.

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 13 prompts

I wasn’t always as adventurous as I am today. I grew up a pretty sheltered child, nose in the books, a close-knit group of friends around me, and never doing much that would upset my parents. My diet regularly consisted of chicken, Kraft dinner, and other such items that you could find in a generic North American diet.

That is — until I started going to school in downtown Toronto.

A whole new world filled with new experiences, new friends — it was an entirely new chapter of my life where my parents were trusting me to navigate through it and come out intact.

One of my earliest memories from those days was the first time I ever tried wasabi.

All about trying something new!

I remember being out at a sushi restaurant for the first time, and my Asian friends were explaining how it all worked and what many of the ingredients were.

When the food came out, I pointed to the green blob and asked what it was. One friend told me “it’s a candy they give you to cleanse your palate for the sushi — you should try it out!”

And so, popping the entire wad of wasabi into my mouth, I started to suck and chew on it for all of a moment — until I realized that my friends were a bunch of dirty little liars.

It was like flavour exploding in my mouth — in the worst way possible. My eyes started to water, my nose started to burn, I was gasping for relief and all of my new friends were splitting their sides with laughter. This was not a good start to my studies downtown!

I know what wasabi is now, but I’m still not a heavy user — soy sauce on its own is usually plenty for me!

What you don’t know won’t hurt you and ignorance is bliss. We’d like to think it’s true, but it’s faulty thinking. Knowledge is power, and the more informed you are, the more opportunities you have available to you.

Getting to know wasabi in a shocking way might not have been ideal, but knowing the options available to you at any time is always better than going into a situation cold and wondering what’s on the menu.

Think about it.

–case p.

The Scintilla Project Day Eleven — A Chicago Story

1. Write about an experience you had that was so strange or incredible, it sounds like it could have been made up.

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 11 prompt

Those who’ve known me awhile often think I have a lucky horseshoe lodged firmly somewhere within my rectum.

While I have no burning desire to prove nor disprove this theory (as invasive surgery doesn’t seem like the most attractive idea), my Green Bay/Chicago adventure in 2010 helps me see why people might think this way!

A Chicago Story

In May 2010, I went with some old high school buddies to visit our friend living out in Green Bay, Wisconsin. From there, we’d go by car to Chicago, eventually flying from there back to Toronto.

 All fine and dandy, right? A good four-day vacation with cool people doing cool things.

Yeah, you’d think so. This trip was further proof of one simple fact:

You can’t take Casey anywhere.

The Scintilla Project Day Nine — I Once Was Lost, But Now…

1. Talk about where you were going the day you got lost. Were you alone? Did you ever get to where you meant to go?

2. What is the longest thing you know by heart (for example, a prayer, speech, commercial jingle, etc.)? Why did you learn it?

— The Scintilla Project’s Day 9 prompts

I’ve been blessed to have a pretty solid sense of direction — I’ll go somewhere and orient myself with the sun’s placement in the sky, landmarks, where the moss is growing on trees (yeah right — I’m a city boy; no way I know that) — generally, I tend to know where I’m going.

But my internal GPS isn’t perfect. There have been times that I’ve gotten ridiculously lost, either due to my ignorance or just rotten luck. Some of the more notable examples include:

  • Getting lost at Centreville when I was 7 or 8 with my baby brother and getting paged over the PA to find my way back to my Mom, blubbering all the while. I think I got spanked for stressing my Mom out by getting lost and for crying about it that day….
  • Once I wound up stranded at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON because I’d gone to school sick, fell asleep on the bus back and didn’t wake again ’til well after my stop! The worst parts: I was on my way to work; I forgot my wallet on the seat; and when I got off of the bus, I asked the driver where the bus was going next and not where I actually was. I eventually wandered around and saw the McMaster Marauders logo on a signboard, and found a friend who’d spot me $20 to get home and a place to sleep for the night — but did I learn my lesson?
  • obviously not, because I’d fall asleep on the bus going home from school yet again and awake to it being empty and driving in unfamiliar territory. When I got up and asked the driver where we were (which received a quick “Oh shit!” as I’d scared him half to death), he told me to downtown Toronto to drop off the bus — the opposite direction I needed to go for my shift at work. Damn it. In what can only be described as the best luck ever, the driver put me on the bus heading back in the right direction, and I bumped into my buddy Alfred who’d give me a ride to work, actually making me early for my shift! Boss move.
  • Once in my 2006 L.A. visit, my buddy Jon and I wanted to find a bar where we could celebrate his 21st birthday on a hot May day, and told to walk a few minutes down the road and take a turn or two, so off we went. For four hours. Eventually we’d end up at Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles with a couple of brews and more fried everything that we knew what to do with. Getting lost can sometimes end very, very well.

So what can we learn from this? That sometimes you’re gonna get lost. That sometimes things aren’t going to work out like you expect them to. But if you can keep a positive outlook and learn to improvise a little, just about any situation can go from bad to rad!

–case p.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCVI: The Wallet Part II — The Evil That Men Do

So following from yesterday’s post, this past weekend, I lost my wallet. I didn’t know where it was. I panicked, I looked all over, and in the end, someone had found it and called me at my work number listed on my business cards in the wallet. So all’s well that ends well! Except…