I am the only child of doting parents who reacted with the same enthusiasm to my less-than-stellar high school track performances—“But you didn’t get lapped this time!” they’d exclaim, “You’re much faster than the girl with the knee brace!”—as they might if I became an astrophysicist, and if you asked them, they’d probably tell you I’m smart enough for that, too. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that I didn’t really experience feelings of doubt about my station in life until the summer before I moved to Alaska.
When given a choice between sleeping in and being repeatedly hit in the face with ice, normal people would choose the former every time. Due to some kind of malfunction in my brain, I am drawn to the latter option, and when someone asks if I’d like to get up at the crack of dawn and endure hours of falling ice and freezing temperatures, I reply that I’ll be there with bells on. I guess my synapses aren’t firing quite as they should be.
Sometimes Kevin jokes that I must secretly be a much older woman. That’s kind of fair, because I drink a lot of tea and I’m usually in bed by ten o’clock, if I can help it. It’s also true because I like a lot of the same music as my mom, and by a lot I mean almost all the same music. She introduced me, at the tender age of twelve or so, to a folk singer named Dar Williams, and I have since then done my best to live by the Tao of Dar.