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Self-Mapping - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
I've been spending too much time discerning the exact composition of belly-button lint that really doesn't deserve my scrutiny. Yesterday I started to feel really dirty. And no amount of showering helped. It wasn't until tonight's rain that my sense of cleanliness started to come back. Reading this story about a teenager who shares my love of maps finished the job:
It has to be said that Nick is anything but polished. He finds it hard to sit still when talking, twisting the telephone cord around his neck or fiddling with his fingers. His words sometimes come out in fits and starts, and another special education teacher, Paul Mifsud, says for a while Nick was hoarding leftover food in his locker.

"A lot of things made kids look at him as a pariah,'' says Anzaldo.

But then he'll ask you to test him. Name a place, he says. Anywhere in the city. Ask how to get there on the bus.

How about Coit Tower?

"Simple,'' Nick says. "You take the 38 Geary, get off at Third and Market. You walk to the 30 Stockton and take that north to Union and Columbus. Then catch the 39 to Coit Tower.''

Don't bother trying to stump him. He knows all the routes. For some reason, Nick has always had, as he puts it, "incredible taste for public transit.'' Living in Seattle, he memorized the public transit map. He can still recall most of it, as well in the other cities where he's lived.

"I have always been a map kinda guy,'' he says.
I identify very strongly with Nick. I sought refuge in maps the same way he does. But I always had a home in which to seek it. That's a fact I should spend more time remarking. It's certainly a lot more useful to contemplate than my own navel.

Mode: rain-cheered
Muse: a memory of Sleater-Kinney

7 comments or Leave a comment
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: May 28th, 2005 08:13 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

And incredible taste, no less :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 28th, 2005 08:48 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
As Bourdieu might say, taste follows necessity. Still. "Incredible" is incredible.
myarchway From: myarchway Date: May 28th, 2005 09:43 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks for sharing this. Nick's triumph is so beautiful and amazing.

Wishing you well.

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 28th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thank you. I think reading that sort of story is a great corrective to self-absorption, just as looking at the beautiful words and images you arrange together is a great corrective to pessimism.
From: zokah Date: May 28th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
that story's gotten a little bit of play in my world. nick participates w/ edgewood and we've seen him at a couple of events recently.

he really is brilliant, overlaying the horror that is his life.

my small brush with fame.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 28th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I figured you might know him. Maybe his brush with fame won't make a big difference in his life, but I sure hope it does.

I loved your poem!
From: zokah Date: May 28th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
not his brush with fame; MINE. we can't get any press since opening our doors. honestly, it's questionable whether he will make it. if he were to get permanent placement (odds are 50-50 at best) then maybe.

I can assure you he will remember being on stage and the applause will carry him sometimes through life.

thanks for the shout out re: "the poem." I want, correction: need to write about the juxtaposition of life by working on Mission directly between 5th and 6th. The tourists to my right coming in and out of SF Centre laden down with shopping bags: American Eagle, Bebe, and Nordstrom and the street-smart, life-not-so meth fiends to my left holding their plastic bags of chips, candy, and the "starter kit" picked up the needle exchange leave me with a picture of my community that I can't stop thinking about and often leaves me exhausted. thus, the need to write it out.

have a great time in SD!
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