My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

6 Articles Tagged with “life”

  1. One key fewer

    Hey, look, it’s been ten years since I graduated high school. Look at that. Time flies.

    This post isn’t really about graduation decennials, though. This is about quitting my longest-held job.

    Eleven years ago I dropped off a resume at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. I was just finishing up Grade 11, and I wanted a summer job that wasn’t going through old files in the creepy storage room beneath the Chapple Building for my dad’s law firm. The Gallery Attendant position being advertised in the Lakehead University job bank seemed like it would work. I got an interview, and for reasons I still don’t fathom, I got the job.

    The full-time, minimum wage job turned into a part-time, minimum wage job during my last year of high school. Then I worked all summer again. This pattern continued for a few years. After about three summers, I took a research job over the summer at the university instead. But I kept coming back during the school year to work at the front desk.

    Last night was my last regular shift as a gallery attendant.

    I’ve left before, of course. I couldn’t very well commute to the gallery when I…

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  2. I bought a house

    Those of you who occasionally pay attention to my posts on Twitter and Goodreads might have noticed I’ve been quieter than usual. May has been a busy month, to the point where it has seriously affected my reading (and that is saying something). I’ve only managed 5 books in May (and 7 books in April—what is wrong with me?).

    One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that I’m buying a house (hence, you know, the title of this post).

    Since moving back from the UK, I’ve generally had a plan to buy a house by the time I’m 30. At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted to advance that timeline (I’m currently 27). I had enough money for a reasonable downpayment and was as certain as anyone can be in this era of my job security. So at the end of March Break, I sought pre-approval for a mortgage. Then I found a realtor and started looking at houses.

    I’ve been very lucky. My dad doesn’t charge me for room or board, so there are no pressures on me to move out. I could quite comfortably keep living here for another decade. But as much…

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  3. On being skeptical, politely

    At lunch today I was talking with a colleague. She’s cool; I really respect her attitude towards pedagogy and also like her as a person. But our conversation on the environmental dangers of cows led us to talking about lab-grown meat, which then led to a discussion of whether food grown in a lab is any better or worse for someone than food grown in a farm. And my colleague mentioned that she thought the meat from a lab would not have the same “energy” as meat from a farm.

    I blinked. “Energy?” I asked, already fearing the response.

    “Yes, energy! You know, how everyone has an Energy, and everyone can feel everyone else’s Energy?”

    Uh-oh.

    So this led us into a discussion in which I played the role of Skeptic and she played the role of Believer, where I insisted I can’t believe in “energy” and she related examples: the way you “know” someone is angry across the room; the way you “recognize” people you’ve never met before; clairvoyance; and reiki practitioners.

    It’s always a little awkward when you stumble onto these points of contention with people who are more acquaintances than close friends. I am not a confrontational…

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  4. Home via Halifax

    I’m home. I’m sitting in my bedroom, in my slightly-too-short-for-this-desk rolling chair, a cup of tea in my big blue Eeyore mug to my right, and my fabulous bookshelves to my left.

    Oh, and my room is a mess. My suitcases lie on the floor in front of the bookshelves and TV, bulging and gravid with my life in England. I haven’t even attempted to unpack yet. I need to tidy the room first, for it has become mired in the accumulated kipple of two years’ near-continuous absence. Snuggled between the cases and the shelf are books I didn’t succeed in getting rid of before leaving. More books that I haven’t read yet are strewn around my room: on my desk, atop my dresser, in envelopes and boxes and bubble-wrapped packages. I have a lot of work to do, and a lot of organization.

    So I’m blogging instead.

    My flight across the Atlantic was uneventful. It was my first transatlantic flight with Air Canada, and they were surprisingly punctual. I was a bit bored; fortunately, because I was flying to Halifax, the flight was only six and a half hours instead of the eight and a half it takes to…

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  5. Last day teaching in England

    Picture if you will: finding it difficult to get a job in your chosen profession near home, you elect to move to an entirely different country to start your career. Now, some of you might have actually done this. So factor in having stayed in your hometown for almost your entire life, including university studies, with only occasional forays to other places. Oh, and you’re not a people person—you generally find their unspoken signals and expectations annoying and disconcerting and would much rather be reading a book, or at the very least interacting with them at arm’s length via Twitter. But no, you uncharacteristically up sticks and trek to a distant land where you are thrust into a brave new world that looks and feels a little bit like what you’re expecting but is also strange and alien in other ways. You spend two years there, two very long and difficult and fulfilling years. You have the, frankly, terrifying responsibility of moulding the minds of the next generation and are expected to engage them, educate them, and keeping them from killing each other. At times you feel variously exhausted, elated, stressed, amused, despondent, and content. For two years, this is…

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  6. Battle scars

    My tape measure

    Some people I know lead off their blog posts with massive photos of the minute and the mundane, photos that set the mood for the entry that follows. So I'm going to be a copycat and do the same. Muwahahaha.

    There are some objects that, against all odds, manage to stay with us through childhood, adolescence, and into our adult years. These objects acquire and then store memories for us, exceeding their original purpose as they become receptacles for our past. And they acquire scars, reminding us that we can't travel through life unscathed, but we can always somehow emerge OK. In a society renowned for its throwaway culture, these objects might be old, battered, and bruised, yet we keep them still. They have more than a material worth. At the same time, however, they might not have much sentimental value--that is, they haven't survived all this time because we're overtly fond of them. They've just stayed with us.

    This tape measure is one such object--and a surprising one, at that, considering I'm not especially handy nor prone to measuring things. All the marks on its body tell me a story about my past, and about who I was. I…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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