Over the years, I’ve played many a game of Chinese fire drill with my various interests and talents – rearranging them whenever I come to a stop. If you’re not familiar with the terminology or how the game is played, here it is in graphic, ESL-friendly form.:
Yeah, that’s why I’m a writer, not an artist. It’s also why I’m not an anatomy teacher…but anyway…
The point that I’m trying to make here is that my talents and interests all shift around based on my whims. And I do happen to abide by all generally acknowledged Chinese fire drill rules (“red light green light” rules for those who prefer a politically correct name) which means that if one of them lags behind in getting back in – they get left at the light. But that rarely happens.
It’s much more common for me to pick up the odd hitchhiking talent, or maybe a friend of one of my talents that needs a ride somewhere. The more the merrier, right? My interests seem to love it, rotating through the endless rows of seats in my metaphorical car of life. And I never, EVER run out of seats. Mr. Weasley’s “magical” car has nothing on my expanding capabilities.
After spending roughly four years in the ‘Show Me State,’ I understand how important examples are to making a metaphor work. So here we go.
In early elementary, ‘Piano Playing’ was up in the front seat with me. We were besties. I liked it waaaay better than ‘Playing Tennis,’ who was squashed in the corner furthest from me, the passenger side door controls digging into his side. I also enjoyed talking with ‘Writing Poetry’ up there in the front.
As fun as my time with those three was, I came to a series of stoplights that changed the group dynamic after many years. The first time around, it was only poetry that wound up reseated in the back, ‘Short Prose’ snagging the prime seat.
The next stop was rather dramatic, actually, as I basically tripped ‘Tennis’ as we rounded the car and kind of…ah…drove over him in my haste to pass the light.
Eventually, I hit a really long light, where we ran around the car so many times that when it was time to get back in, ‘Playing Piano’ was so dizzy it needed more help that I could give it, what with my tiny hands (Seriously, they’re small. They limited my ability to reach keys.), and so it had to be helped into one of the furthest seats before we took off again.
Yes, I still shout to the back of the car once in a while and try my hand at tickling the old ivories. Just like poetry – which is pretty much riding in the trunk at this point – always crawls over the seats and makes it up front when the poetry unit rolls around each year in 6th grade.
All of these things are still a part of my personality, and part of my life, they just aren’t helping me map out our route anymore.
These days, I rely most on my travel companions ‘Writing Prose,’ ‘Helping Others,’ ‘Creating Equal Ground,’ and ‘Experiencing Other Cultures.’
God, I hope they keep their fire drill skillz up to par. Because I like where I’m headed.