210,000 miles and who knows how many sunsets, and counting

I spend a lot of my time driving back and forth to campus and to my friends’ houses and to the school I work at… I spend a lot of time in my car going from place to place across four different counties multiple times a week. While to some people it might be super tedious, I kind of enjoy it. I don’t really get any time to just sit in nature, so I enjoy what I can about what the world has to offer me while I have nowhere else to go. One of my most favorite things to note and notice across my many daily commutes are sunrises and sunsets; I find that I get to see the best ones as I’m in my car. It kind of makes me feel like the world says good morning and good night to me, and it reminds me to take a little bit of time to reflect and decompress for myself.

The best part of my drive has been getting to know every little corner of my route so well. While it does help to know where the cops like to sit so I can slow down and save myself and whoever’s behind me from getting a ticket, I take the time I have stuck behind a looooooong caravan of trucks to get to know all the little places. The most rewarding bit is being able to point them out to people when I travel that way with my family or friends (especially if for once I’m not driving); I worry that otherwise, they might be overlooked. I love to share that I dream about the beautiful colonial brick house off of 63 or that I feel my stomach drop like I’m on a roller coaster when I try to keep my car at 30 miles an hour going down the big hill into Wyoming when I go to Warsaw. All of these little details of what my life has become and what my new reality looks like have made me change my perspective; everything for me has always been so fast, so go-go-go all the time, and it doesn’t have to be. The beauty in the simple has made me more reflective, more caring, more sensitive, to everything that goes on. These tedious, expensive, long haul drives across Genesee and Livingston and Wyoming country (and Monroe every so often, if we’re feeling different) have given me no other choice but to realize just how lucky I am to have a life where I can be at peace and reflect on things from the comfort of my beat-up Civic.

These places that I pass by every day to go do mundane things are so special to me. My students, who come almost entirely from trades or farms and have known nothing else aside from life up here, ask me what I’m doing here if I have a place to go back in “the city”, to my parents’ house on Long Island. They ask me how I like it out here where there’s nothing but farms and trees and “dinky” little tiny towns every couple of miles. I tell them I like it just fine and I’m here to stay, thank you very much.


Can I please stop fearing this whole coding thing?

I think that the biggest “concrete” skill that I’ve gained so far is a meager level of comfort in playing with code. Before this class, I only really messed with “code” in the sense of modding games and sometimes messing with “inspect element” in Chrome just for fun, but that was never really something that I did intentionally. There are a lot of rules and specific ways to write things that was really intimidating to me. I am much more comfortable with this now, especially from having to do the daily journals, even though I frequent the course page to circle back and double check myself.

One of the most important things to me that I’ve garnered from this course ties into what I said above: I feel like I’m much less “scared” of my computer now. I feel a little bit less like I’m blindly trudging through stuff when I try to move files around or download something. I also feel a little bit silly with how much is automated for me when I try to do something as easy as open a Google doc or something- it was so much more complicated and involved on older computers to do literally anything. It gives me some perspective and even makes me feel a little bit bad when I’m impatient with my parents for trying to figure out technology that is second nature to me.

Not that I didn’t really see it before, but I also have a newfound appreciation for people who transcribe and digitize archives. Those people do not get paid ANYWHERE near enough money for what they do. I rely heavily on Gutenberg and JSTOR for both research and fun reading, and without those transcriptions of text I wouldn’t be able to access so many things that I both need and enjoy. I’ve been using Gutenberg since I had a nook tablet back in 2013 and I have remained a loyal user now through my Kindle, and I recommend it to EVERYONE. This class has made me pay closer attention to translation/transcription differences (as well as how each re-reading feels to me) I’ve seen between different versions and modalities of texts I’ve read- for example, I read the Prime Digital Classics version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paradise” in the airport over the holidays, and then read it on Gutenberg and in a pdf scan of the original book for a class. I honestly preferred the Kindle version, but for the sake of page numbers I used the scanned one and for the sake of copying and pasting for quotes I used the Gutenberg version. Each modality of the text has its strengths and weaknesses.