“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Sometimes I like to think of professions I would enjoy if I wasn’t a writer.
I was driving home after shopping the other day, and I saw a house with a beautiful roof. It was made of thick and long terracotta shingles, stacked in a vaguely traditional Asian or Spanish style. This got me thinking about architecture. I love the whole idea of architecture — it is a perfect meld of art and science, use of space that utilizes its past and becomes its future. Even prehistoric people decorated their caves with paintings and drawings. I always believed (still do) that I would have made a kick-ass architect — except for one major hiccup. Math. Math is my Achilles heel, my biggest weakness. Unfortunately, you cannot build anything without proper measurements, without proper knowledge of angles and joints and trusses and supports and joists — and that requires not just math, but math with no room for errors.
Still, if I had that ability, in an alternate universe, I would become an architect. I would design single-family dwellings with hidden nooks, crannies, turrets, spiral staircases and secret passages; and temples — churches, synagogues and mosques incorporating sacred writings and symbols into the design; libraries with wings that would look like they are soaring above the Earth.
And, if I had to do it all over again, I might become a jeweler. I would work with precious metals, precious and semiprecious jewels, creating my own signature pieces — earrings that looked like melting snowflakes; rings with yellow and rose gold that emanate flames; necklaces that look like dragons with ruby eyes cavorting with unicorns with emerald manes (they’d be tiny, I’m not into large pieces of jewelry, just a personal choice).
Or, I would become a seamstress — a clothing designer. I would design and make my own clothing, and for others I would always take measurements, like a good tailor would. I would use thick linens and cottons, buttery silks, warm plaids and lustrous cashmere. All my clothing would be first and most importantly, comfortable, breathable, bendable, all machine washable (yes, even the silk — hey, it’s my fantasy). The only trends I would follow would be from my own imagination, though I would honor my love of classic lines and simplicity of form.
Who knows — maybe I’ll go back to school and study meteorology, or anthropology (specifically, how it relates to language) or — gulp! — computer science (my nemesis, we’ll meet again).
What would you do if you could do anything else, be anything you wanted to be? Maybe I will be a pirate. As we, Goonies, say, “Never say die!”