Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Long Relationships and Shorter Ones

I am inspired by Bill Simmon's latest tweets about how long he has been with Thinkpads and how that would be his longest relationship--longer than his current job, longer than his marriage and so on:

Well, with less than a month before my move to Ottawa, I have been thinking about similar comparisons.  Leaving out my wife and daughter (who skew all results for being in my life for 26 and 16 years respectively):
  • Tenure, baby: 11 plus years and counting.  I got tenure at Texas Tech, had my first real tenured year in the Pentagon, was asked if I minded dropping it when I got the McGill job (I said, nope, I like my tenure just fine), and have thoroughly embraced tenure ever since. 
  • Summer camp: 11 years.  Eight as a camper, three as a counselor.  When I look back, my nostalgia for high school is entirely unearned but my nostalgia for camp is entirely earned.
  • McGill, Montreal and Thinkpad X-series: 10 years.  The only one to continue will be the X-series.
  • Lower Moreland (3rd grade to graduation): 10 years.  So, Montreal matched but did not exceed where I spent most of my life growing up.  However, given that I spent most of my summers elsewhere (see the aforementioned summer camp), I spent more time in Montreal although it flew by much faster.
  • Facebook:  7 years.  Really.  I got on it initially to see if students were sharing an exam question inappropriately.
  • TTU and Lubbock: 6 years.
  • Grad school and San Diego: 5 years.
  • Current book project: 5 years? Inspired by the Pentagon, I started it around the time the previous book was in production, but only got serious in 2009 as I started wandering the planet to study interesting cases.
  • Bitterness and resentment.  4 years.  I plan to leave these companions behind as I move on.
  • Blogging: Three years ago.  I started in April 2009.   I forgot to mark the anniversary. Does that mean I am becoming less of a narcissist?  No, just busy with the move.
  • Twitter: Three years ago.  I started in July 2009
  • Pentagon and Virginia: 1 year.  Shortest of all these spans of time, but the most indelible.  Partly because it was one year, partly because the experiences were so different from ordinary academic life, and partly because the stuff was so interesting.
The funny thing is that what comes to mind are places, schools, and technology, mostly.  I could have listed Ultimate (27 years), but does one have a relationship with sports?  I guess so.  I might have listed my current sunday team, General Admission, but I forget when I started with them.   Anyhow, as I approach my last month in Montreal, I do appreciate that this has been the place I have been the longest since high school, especially after signing mortgage documents in Ottawa that really commit me to five years at minimum.

Of the places I have spent significant time, Montreal ranks behind San Diego and summer camp but ahead of every place else.  It has been a great decade, but I do look forward to moving on.  Not quite yet to thank everyone for all of the fish, but getting closer.

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