Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda???

The North Carolina 2008 Legislative Session officially ended on Friday, July 18 at 4:40 pm. I cleaned off my desk, tied up a few loose ends and left work at 6:30 pm. I had a meeting this morning that began at 10:00 and was over by 11:30. I’m off until Thursday. If you hear a sound, it’s me sighing contentedly. The other sound is me loudly singing along with Jennifer Hudson’s new single. It takes me back to the R&B songs of my youth, where there was a melody that you could sing along with and lyrics that you could understand. I’ve posted a YouTube video that some enterprising soul put together of images of young Ms. Hudson with her new single, Spotlight playing in the background.

I’ve been working on catching up on the journals that I haven’t read for the past two weeks. If I’ve missed you, I’ll be by tomorrow.

I stopped by Marc’s place and he has posted a meme that I found interesting. The entry is the Roads Not Travelled, echoing Robert Frost’s poem (at least to these former English teacher ears). By the way, if you don’t know the poem, please check it out. It’s one of my favorites.

Back to the meme, Marc writes about alternative paths, the untraveled roads that we might have taken. He provides some of his “might have been scenarios” and ask of the reader, “what are your top five alternate untraveled roads?”

This is a really difficult question for me. Perhaps its because I’ve travelled at least part way down a variety of paths, at least career wise. I’ve worked as a cook in a Jamaican restaurant where I learned to make Jamaican beef patties and Bouillabaisse. I worked in a factory that made motors for hair dryers. My job involved shoving a little round thingamajig into a hole and then pressing a foot pedal that shot out enough heat to solder the wires to the tip of the little round thingamajig. It was highly technical work. I also worked at a book store in Chapel Hill known as the Intimate Book Shop (no, it wasn’t that kind of a book store, just a family owned business that tried to create a cozy alternative to the big chain stores, although we did sell all of the Anne Rice, writing under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure, Sleeping Beauty trilogy).

I took a rather roundabout route to becoming a teacher, and finally a lawyer.

I’ve rambled enough, so here are my five might have been scenarios.

1. I left home at 18, moved to New York and became a back up singer for James Brown. While performing at the Apollo, I was discovered and became a solo act as a blues singing diva.
2. I opened a soul food restaurant in Atlanta that became a hangout for the best blues artists around.
3. I fell madly in love with a biker, married him and started wearing leather and a cute diamond stud in my nose. He dies in a motorcycle crash and I sing Leader of the Pack at the funeral.
4. While performing in a musical version of Cinderella in a summer drama program in my home town (I really did play the wicked stepmother and performed a version of an Anthony Newley song from Stop the World, I want to Get Off entitled “I Want to be Rich”), I’m discovered by a Broadway producer who invites me to New York where I become the sensation of Broadway.
5. I skip teaching altogether and go straight to law school after undergraduate graduation. I become an accomplished litigator in tort law, and successfully represent client in lawsuits against companies with deep pockets. I make lots of money, retire at age 42, move to Jamaica and engage in a string of affairs with the boy toy of the moment.

There is a bit of true desire in each of these scenarios, but I’m not telling you which bits. Ultimately, I suspect that I’ve taken the right road and it has made all the difference.


4 responses to “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda???

  1. Ahh! Perhaps I saw you in the Intimate Bookshop in the early 1970s?

    I’ve worked various construction jobs, on an assembly line in a production bakery, cleaning kennels seven days a week after a two mile walk each way (if I couldn’t hitch a ride). I’ve worked at a convenience store, a retail credit counter, and a cheap motel. I’ve spent a year tutoring a blind guy (that I still talk to 35 years later), grown malaria and taught kids who later wound up as judges and others who wound up on death row.

    At this point, given a choice. I’d grow tomatoes and be a county commissioner.

  2. And thanks for sparing with Alan at Robert’s Roost.

    The world needs more Alans.

  3. I’ve been a Tinker, not a Tailor (opted for Teacher instead), Soldier, and a Spy. Wandered a ways down quite a few roads. I’m very happy with the life I have, but … there is at one what if that invades my mind from time to time. I’m sure that in another place in the multiverse I made a different decision and am very famous in the ivory towered, publish or die world of cognitive science. Of course, I’d be alone (a can’t focus that completely on more than one thing so lasting relationships would be out). I’d probably be sitting in my cluttered, book-filled office, writing in frustration about the problems with our current agriculture system because I can’t get a decent tomato for my lunch. The multiverses seem to rub rather close some times.

    P.S. Thanks for sparing! Hope we have the chance again!

  4. Alan,

    As one who lives surrounded by that ivory-towered world, you are a better man for the path you’ve chosen (as are those around you).

    Sleep well with your choices.

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