No, I’m not referring to the 1981 movie. I’m certainly not telekinetic, and my head is not going to explode any time soon – although, sometimes I feel like it will.No, this is something completely different (nod to M. Python). Someone thought up a name for people like me. She even wrote a book or two on it. We are called scanners. We scan the universe for anything that would be of interest, and we latch on for dear life, passionately proclaiming that we will stop at nothing in order to become experts in that area…that is, until the next thing comes along. So we gain ten, twenty, or if we are lucky, thirty percent proficiency in that area. Then we move on, only to keep said passion in our back pocket, desperately waiting for the day we are inspired to pick it up again. Yep. Scanner. That’s me. I’ve even researched it.
In a nutshell, a scanner is someone who wants to do everything. A scanner decides on a major in college, or settles on a particular career, or picks up a hobby or interest, then proceeds to change any or all of these things enough times to make the casual observer go cross-eyed. Some people have referred to me as a polymath or Renaissance woman – although, that would imply that I hold great and varied amounts of knowledge and expertise in a multitude of subjects. I would never agree to such unrealistic, illogical, and starry-eyed notions about myself. Besides, I can only attest to having semi-proficiency in one or two areas.
Since most people haven’t heard of the word, “scanner”, I usually tell them I’m a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-three-quarters. The “three-quarters” is only there because I worked as a chef (or towards the goal of being a chef) for half of my life. If there’s one thing I know, it’s food. Following is a daunting list of other things into which I’ve dipped my chubby little fingers.
When I entered community college at age eighteen, I was a music major (emphasis on piano work). Then I changed my mind and decided on interior design. Then I convinced myself that was too much of a long shot, and changed over to journalism. A few months into this, I decided it wasn’t my thing. So I settled on Literature (bouncing between American and English Lit with wild abandon; and let’s not even talk about the change in eras!), with a minor in Creative Writing.
Fast-forward to 2011, when I finally decided to conquer the unfinished Bachelor’s degree that I tried working on for most of my adult life. In 2015, I acquired a BA in Liberal Studies. Oh…what a perfect area of study for a scanner: one degree with a thousand different areas of interest! I always desired to finish the English degree, but the switch to Liberal Studies based on the limited degree availability at the college I was attending was a blessing in disguise.
I’ve been a musician for most of my life, starting with piano; then, to sate my teenage hunger for “rocker” status, I moved on to guitar and keyboard. Oh, yeah. I was fierce. The nearest “band” at the time (circa 1985) was a group of guys at my high school who covered songs from The Smiths. Fierce, I tell you. Then there was the Led Zeppelin project wherein I learned one keyboard-heavy late-era Zep tune for a party. And of course, there’s my personal favorite: the tenth-grade talent show in which I played keyboard while two girls sang some ridiculously dated 80s new wave song which contained a keyboard solo that I must have played pretty well because it got me a rousing round of applause at both assemblies. I thought I was really something after that. After high school, I set out to conquer the guitar, and after hours upon hours of practicing for several years, I became fairly proficient. I was involved in a few false-start jam situations that always threatened to come really close to turning into bands and just fizzled out. Now I was ready for…probably no more than a real punk band, or at best a cool retro rehash group. I fiddled around with these ideas until I had gotten myself into a fine kettle of fish that rested somewhere between tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand. Not a moment too soon, because that’s when I decided to drop it like a hot potato and become a chef!
When I was a youngster, I thought I was going to be a stand-up comedian. I was in plays and theatrical performances. I studied improv. I thought, “This is it.” Then I developed the most absurdly horrifying case of stage fright any one has ever known. And, poof. On to the next thing.
I’ve written since I was a kid. I started with poems and fictional short stories, then progressed to mystery writing – a lifelong love of mine. I seem to be parked in a nonfiction spot as of late. I guess you write about what you know. Right now, I know reality all too well.
I picked up knitting in 2009. I am not nearly as far along in my craft as most others who have been knitting that long. Why? Because I usually have my hand in a thousand other things as well. I have a thousand* books, magazines, printed-out patterns, and saved links screaming at me to actually follow through with the twenty-eight-thousand* projects I have on needles so that I can get to all of the things I keep threatening to knit. (*I have also been called the “Queen of Hyperbole.” I have no idea why.)
Then there was the time I enrolled in a cosmetology school so that I could work as an esthetician. I decided the perfect time to complete this training (roughly 600 hours’ worth) was when I was pregnant in 2005, so that I could “work on” two things at once. I always was a multi-tasker. Sadly, I had to bring that to a screeching halt when my doctor instructed me to be on home rest for a high-risk second and third trimester. Good thing, too. I wanted to stop the skin care thing so I could start nesting!
Now I’m fascinated with photography. Because, why not add one more Lincoln Log to the teetering tower that is my bag of interests? My husband bought me a real, honest-to-goodness camera for my birthday, and I’m desperate to figure out how the heck to use it. Watch out, world. No, really. Watch out. You never know where I’m liable to start snapping photos. I’ve already imposed my new interest on several unwitting subjects. Sorry about that.
Did I mention I’m starting a venture as a culinary teacher? I am not ready to give up being a chef, and teaching is the only way I know to stay in the food industry without working obscene hours and canceling everything else in life the way I did in the old days. Eighty to ninety work hours in a week? I could do that at 27. Now, I would drop dead.
Then there’s this blog. I like posting about all the stuff I dig. It’s an incredible release for me.
Oh, yeah – and I am also working as a substitute teacher.
Nothing gets me excited like a thousand opportunities to do “stuff” converging in a conflux of confusing continuity. I will spend the rest of my life scanning the globe for more stuff.