What is your favorite part about yourself?
I think I’m whimsically pragmatic, and that is something I genuinely value in myself.
A few days ago, I couldn’t land on a favorite quote, but in this context, here’s one I come back to again and again:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.Hamlet
I think a true pragmatic-pragmatic person accepts only what they can see or can rely on from trusted sources. This is fine, and also is how we get excellent research scientists and people who can develop complex spreadsheets. Then you have your divinity-pragmatics, who can either be scientists who reconcile science with a higher power, or they might be cultists who reject any parts of science that don’t gel with their religion while also being extremely practical and ruthless (and these people are obvious the antithesis of each other, despite being in the same group).
As a whimsical pragmatist, I value logic and order, but I also accept that there are many things I just do not even know about and those things may well be wondrous strange. I’m really delighted by the idea. So, making room for kismet, happenstance, an alignment of the stars, chance — whatever you want to call it — allows for euphoric ambuscades. It means being content with silliness, yet having a framework of rationality to run with a great idea that pops up, or connecting the right person with the right place and the right work. It’s like being both a trellis (logic, predictability) and the flowering jasmine (whimsy, unpredictability) that grows on the trellis.
I’m a regular human, so I do sometimes go too far in one direction or the other (too rigid, too plastic), and that’s typically a stress response to losing control. But for the most part, I keep my strong processes loosely held. You never know what’s yet to be dreamt.
Postscript fun fact:
dreamt is the only word in the English language to end in
Post postscript fun fact fact: Dreamt is a far superior word to dreamed, and we don’t use it enough (though it could be the rarity that makes it so evocative). This is an opinion, not a fact.
This is related in a threadbare sort of way, and it doesn’t particularly fit in the narrative above, so I’m adding it here as a point of interest (I’m always interested in my own recollections).
Right after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in art, I moved to Ithaca, NY, with my bestie, Angela. She worked at the Cornell Veterinarian necropsy lab, and I worked at the mall. Eventually, I got a job at Mackenzie-Childs, where I did shift work in their factory (very small factory). I worked 7am-3pm, trimming tiles that were custom ordered for very fancy people who needed their entire bathroom or kitchen tiled in hand-made Mackenzie-Childs tiles. I also drilled holes in drawer pulls, and various other small tasks like that. I actually really enjoyed that job, even though the actual work was pretty mindless – you did have to focus on it so you didn’t accidentally fuck up a tile while smoothing all the edges – because it was being a part of making something whimsical and beautiful. I watched how they made their vases (slip molds), and the painting (by hand). It was a trade, learning how to turn huge blocks of clay into useful and silly pieces of practical art. That job paid enough that I quit my other two jobs (days at American Eagle, nights at a deli), but when I was invited to apply for grad school, I walked away to go back to school. Everyone there was incredibly kind. The end.