A Short Break from the Standard Reality

9 October 2008

A great mystery to me is why our showers and the sinks where we wash our face and brush our teeth are generally in the same room as our toilets. There’s something random for you to think about.

As of right now I am on the ferry Taku chugging north to Juneau. We left dock at 7:00 this evening and basically all I’ve done on the boat is work on my speech, eat dinner, work on my speech, read my speech to Mr. Ortiz and then work on my speech. The good news is I think I have a really good speech; the bad news is I haven’t even fully memorized the first paragraph.

Although I’ve done five or six serious speeches before for AcDc and other things, this is by far the longest I have ever had to do and the only one I have really been compelled to memorize.

11 October 2008

The above was all I was able to write before I went to bed on the ferry and this is the first time I’ve been able to write on the computer since that time. Since then we’ve gone through the entire debate meet, which was okay I suppose, but now I feel especially motivated to do well in what will probably be the one other debate I’ll do. I’m not sure whether we’ll actually be having a Haines meet around Halloween, but I know there’ll be at least one other meet before state and I’m sure I’ll be able to go to that.

Debating is a pretty good experience, but I’m still really going to focus on Academic Decathlon, especially after I finish with all my college applications before Christmas. Now it seems a little sobering to think about returning to my homework and oncoming deadlines after this weekend of debate with near-complete separation from my Ketchikan world. I suppose I first need to find out the likelihood of my attending this next debate and the proposed will be facing. With the other events, my extemporaneous speaking obviously needs no preparation and my speech will be the same all year. I’m even going to cut its length in half to use it for AcDc. Now that I’ve done an eight-minute-plus oration and a five-minute-plus exptemp. a few times each, it seems pitiful that I could never get a solid four-minute speech together and memorized for three years of AcDc. Now I think I’ll be able to do far better in that event that has always somewhat confused me. I used to blame my bad speech scores on the fickleness of judges, but now I really can’t think of things so simply. It seems my life of late has just been a series of inspirations to devote my attentions to certain things a few days at a time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve just got to keep finding my inspirations, as seemingly un-inspirational as they may be.

Sleeping on the ferry, was, in a word, crap. The last time I was on the Alaska Marine Highway was also on the Taku, back when our church camp was coming back from Juneau in August. That time though we were up in the solarium where the deck chairs around are a lot more comfortable to sleep on than the floor of the forward observation lounge. Last night though I slept pretty well. My brother and I didn’t get housed with the other five guys, but we’re staying with a really nice family over on the Douglas side of the channel, which I’ve never been to before. Last night I got a great rest in a top bunk, probably a better mattress than my own. Tonight though it seems I won’t be doing much for sleep since it’s 11:30 as of this moment and we have to be at the airport at 6:15 to be there an hour before our flight. That means it won’t be much after noon by the time I get home, leaving me plenty of time for homework-

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

12 October 2008

Well now it is tomorrow and I was amazed by what happened this morning. For the first time ever, I was on a direct flight from Juneau to Ketchikan. Our host parent actually asked us whether we were taking a direct flight while we were driving to the airport and I thought "Is he crazy? I've never head of such a thing." I didn't say that though and I just said I thought we must either be going through Sitka or Petersburg and Wrangell. That's why I wrote "it won't be much after noon." Instead we came home around 8:00! That was the last leg of my removal from normalness this weekend - taking an Alaska Airlines flight I've never taken before. A lot of other firsts happened too: I went to my first debate meet; I competed against kids from Sitka (and Haines, in theory) for the first time; and I crossed the Gastineau for the first time. Now however I am solidly returned to the pressures of this first part of my senior year- maybe not as solidly as once I get started on my homework or get to school again tomorrow- but what exactly was greeting me when I got home? more mail from colleges and the College Board.