I bumped into Ms. Wendt yesterday. Ms. Wendt was my grade 11 photography teacher. I probably hadn’t spoken to her since then, making it a nice round 10 years. Jesus.
Ms. Wendt was such a unique teacher. She was a good teacher, but somehow she was too kind and enlightened for the monotony of public school. She seemed to have been better suited to wandering a beach on the Costa Brava of Spain, contemplating life and sipping green tea. She has fair skin and curly shoulder-length blonde hair that was mostly in ringlets with comparatively little frizz. (She seems like more of an Earth Mother type than someone who would spend a lot of time worrying about frizz, so her curls are probably just very good luck.)
I loved that photography class. It served me well, too. I learned and retained a lot.
Photography is this fantastic marriage of science and art. The photographer aims the viewfinder at the desired subject, light is bounced off that subject flips through a lens into the guts of the camera, reacting with chemicals on the film. When that film is washed with more chemicals, the areas that were struck with light washes away, leaving a negative miniature image. That treated film, when dried, is loaded into a projector that pushes light through the clear areas on the film onto a light-sensitive paper. That positive image flashes on the paper for a few seconds, and then the paper is washed with more chemicals (which develop the areas on the paper where light struck), then rinsed in water, and then dried. Ter-daa! A photograph, easy as that! Both elements of science and composition have to be spot on, or the product won’t be quite right. Ahh… a sensitive geek’s dream.
Ms. Wendt, or Liza, as I remembered was her name, asked me what I was doing with my life and I was forced for describe in extreme condensed form 10 years of my life. It sounded like this: “I ain’t got no job.” I told her I’m considering going back to college to learn something practical. She asked what, specifically, and I told her that I’m very interested in alternative and ecologically-sound building methods, like strawbale, and earthships.
I’ve been thinking about studying the design of homes built out of ecologically sound materials. I believe that there will be a huge demand for alternative building methods in the future. Conventional materials and construction cannot sustain a cost-effective energy lifestyle, and the dent they leave on the environment is unconscionable. I also believe that the demand in the Maritimes will mushroom as people seek ways to lower extortionate energy costs.
When I mentioned these interests of mine, she immediately lit up. Apparently her partner, Kevin, worked in St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick, last summer building a strawbale shed for a lady, and was thinking of constructing one this summer for himself.
She said he knew a lot of people in the Maritimes that knew about strawbale construction, and invited me to give them a call this week to see if he could help me out.
“Holy crap!” says me. Paulo Coelho was right! Maybe the universe is conspiring in my favour! This could be a very useful happenstance. I need to know what I need to study to design homes. Architecture? Drafting? Alchemy? Feng Shui? Can I do the designs and then hand them over to math people or do I have to exhume my math skills that have been buried for years?
Wish me luck.