“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well” – Henry David Thoreau

I do write about myself a lot, don’t I? Yeah, well, for all I like dissing Thoreau as a poser, he did have a point here. It’s just that, well, I’m soooo close to the story of me, it’s easy to get pre-occupied, and miss all the other stuff going on in the world. Granted, I’ll flatter myself that what Elizabeth calls “The Pabloverse”, with its own rules of probability, seems to be a source of some interesting stories. But I feel obliged to tell you that there’s more out there than just me. Shocking, I know – I was pretty stunned by it myself.
Anyhow, lemme write about someone else’s story for a bit, just to demonstrate.

You know Barry, right? Comes to all the musicmakings, has a black lab puppy named Ilse? Theater geek, jack of all trades and dispenser of uncommon wisdom? Yeah, that Barry.
I’ve known Barry forever, or something like it. We didn’t quite overlap at Dartmouth, but when we found ourselves sharing an office on the Google News team, we discovered that we’d hung out with all the same people and shared a remarkable number of stories, displaced in time.
Barry’s been one of the strongest cheerleaders of this blog, too – seems like, whenever I post, I can count to 10, hit “refresh”, and there’ll be a message from Barry in my inbox, commenting on the post, and tying it to some improbable but relevant arcana that only someone like Barry could know. He was with me in person or by email throughout the applying-to-Pole, no-I-don’t-get-to-go, OMG-OMG-I’m going-I’m-going, and a constant source of emotional support when things got rough. Kept saying that he wished he were the kind of person who would do that sort of thing. The going-to-work-at-the-South-Pole kind of thing.
So, this past spring, Barry applied. Applying, he said, was the important part – he’d love to get to the ice, to the South Pole, but didn’t feel like his life would be incomplete if he didn’t get there. What he did need was the knowledge that he was the kind of person who would actually follow through with the intent and apply to go.
So Barry applied for my old job – I made the introduction and wrote him a recommendation; I had no doubts that he’d do an admirable job and fit in at the Pole. Of course, Bill already had his crew for the coming season, but was happy to have an alternate in the unlikely event that somebody bailed at the last minute. And for Barry, that was enough – he was a contender, and couldn’t ask for more.
But you know me. And you should, by now, suspect the creeping reach of the Pabloverse’s improbabilities. Yup. Barry got the call on Friday – one of the primaries had flamed out – was he still available? And how quickly could he be packed and on his way to CHC?
It’s kinda nice to not be the only one getting these OMG OMG OMFGmoments.
So Barry’s now got tickets for a Monday departure, giving him less than a week to put his house in order, wrap up stuff at work, hand Ilse off to a handler and… oh, right, breathe. Breathe in, breathe out. Okay, enough of that – he’s got to pack for three months at the South Pole. Of the world. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m getting a vicarious adrenaline rush outta this.
So Roadtrip readers: please direct your browsers to the nascent BARRYONTHEICE blog – this is gonna be a fun one. And I’m really looking forward to getting to play cheerleader.

One response to “Improbabilities

  1. Pingback: Beth | David Pablo Cohn·

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