May 9, 2007


Friend: So, I was out in L.A...
Me: And? How'd you like it?
Friend: It was cool. But I wouldn't want to live there, you know?
Me: Yeah, I don't think I'm an L.A. kind of person.
Friend: Me either. Although the thing about California is that people seem to be who they want to be.
Me: You're not pigeonholed.
Friend: Exactly.

That resonated with me. It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. Pigeonholing. See, I think I'm a pretty unique guy and sometimes I'm a little self-conscious about it.

I'm not a huge sports fan. I don't hate football, basketball or baseball but if they disappeared from the face of the earth, I wouldn't lose any sleep. Instead of throwing a perfect spiral, I can write a darn good sentence. Then diagram it. I'm not a big guy; I'm skinny and I'm not all that tall. But I'm scrappy. I enjoy taking pictures. I'd read books for a living if you let me. I like strapping on my Fender Strat and playing a few good AC/DC or Zeppelin riffs. I don't drink nor do I eat meat. I enjoy history so much so that I got my undergrad degree in it. I feel no reason to one-up my fellow man on every occasion, to engage in metaphorical pissing contest, to drive aggressively or enter into crass conversations about women's tits (although, don't get me wrong - tits rock). I believe that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can, in fact, inflict greater pain or pleasure. I enjoy cooking. I appreciate people who know vast amounts of things; I could listen to those twins on Antiques Roadshow talk about Federal style chairs for a year and never get board (although a year might be pushing it), entertained by the amount of knowledge and passion they have for the subject. I can paint a house, make and shape a cowboy hat, knit a little bit, play the drums, style my daughter's hair, install a ceiling fan, build a computer, and carry on a perfectly well-informed conversation about the latest celebrity gossip.

Society wants to label everyone, give them a thing. You have to be a jock, a geek, a Jesus freak, a hippie, a scholar, a whore or a crazy cat lady. You can't just be. But I am being. I'm unpigeonholable. There's your word for today, universe - unpigeonholable.

Posted by Chris at May 9, 2007 7:03 AM

I want to be a crazy cat lady when I get old... less the cats.

Posted by: Amber at May 9, 2007 7:19 AM

I want to be unpigeonholable, too.

I love this post.

Posted by: Alissa at May 9, 2007 8:00 AM

I can relate to that....a lot...I work with people that seem to act like the typical male (as described above) and it gets old to be around. Where's the content? Isn't there anything else?

I have a hard time relating to a lot of people because they seem to fit somewhere in to one of those labels or are a cookie cutter of the next person. I struggle with it a lot since I catch myself trying to fit in but at the same time it's kind of hard sometimes when you don't. But I'm getting better at accepting it.

Someone told me that some of our influential people in history marched to the beat of a different drummer. So buying that brand new Escalade because 50 Cent's got one won't really set you apart.

Posted by: Kyle I at May 9, 2007 8:01 AM

What a great post.

and Yes Tits do rock.

Posted by: William at May 9, 2007 8:19 AM

Dude, your the crazy blog guy!!! In a league err pigeonhole by himself!

Great post!!! You rock!

Posted by: linda at May 9, 2007 8:47 AM

You are so great Chris. This description just cements the idea that if only I lived closer I'd be trying to casually run into you guys so our families could be friends.
but I'm not a stalker...really! Hey come back here!

In all seriousness, You = awesome. You should come to one of our stitch 'n' bitch's down here! We love the guy knitters. :)

Posted by: tulip at May 9, 2007 9:03 AM

Well...if I had to pigeonhole you, I'd say you were a Renaissance man. And that's not so much of a bad thing.

Posted by: wordgirl at May 9, 2007 9:06 AM


Can we get t-shirts and hats? If we did, would unpigeonholable become our new pigeonhole?

Posted by: donna at May 9, 2007 9:14 AM

Renaissance men rock.

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 9, 2007 9:15 AM

If you produce those t-shirs, I'll certainly buy one! This is a great post!

Posted by: Susan at May 9, 2007 9:31 AM

It would seem from your description that you are actually me. Or I'm you. Either way. You're doing fine today. How am I?

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 9, 2007 9:32 AM

You know just the other day, I was asked to describe you (possibly to the police), and first I said "crazy cat lady", then "whore". But I thought better of it and called you a "whorish jesus freak hippie scholar crazy cat lady who is also a whore"

Now that I see this post. D'oh! I feel like an ass and a half.


Posted by: Type (little) a at May 9, 2007 10:08 AM

Oooo... I think you've started something here!

Posted by: sue at May 9, 2007 10:24 AM

We could not be more opposite.

Posted by: Phil at May 9, 2007 10:36 AM

Unpigeonholable people are good to have around. If everyone were the same, it would be incredibly boring (think California). Variety is the spice of life, and we all need people around us that are different, unusal, unique -- unpigeonholable!

Posted by: coolchick at May 9, 2007 10:44 AM

See? THIS is why you're awesome. Really. Great post.

Posted by: Jen at May 9, 2007 10:49 AM

this brought a huge grin to me face this morning - and if you figure out how one could possibly read books for a living? please let me know, 'k?

Posted by: Kathryn at May 9, 2007 11:03 AM

I'm most definitely unpidgeonholable.

And I'm a Californian (transplant from NY) which proves it.

Posted by: ann adams at May 9, 2007 11:13 AM

All those things are good traits. Actually, I like all those traits so much, I married a man that is quite similiar!

My hubby, by trade, works on networks, servers, software, computers, etc...all day long, and all over this great country. In other words, he is a road warrior. He travels all over the US fixing computers. (But I'll be damned if he will work on mine when he comes home.) He is so glad when he gets to come home and sleep in his own bed and see his kids.

He also could care less about sports and spending 8 hours on Sundays watching football. When he has more than 5 minutes to spare, I generally find him sitting with his guitar or bass, playing something.

He can bake and cook. Last night, he made cinnamon scones. They rocked. I made home-made caramel ice cream to go with them. That really rocked.

He can run live sound for bands and is phenomenal in the studio (this is what he actually has is degree in). I love to hear his work, but it just paid nothing at all, so he started working with computers.

He helps with the kids, he loves to watch them play, but he sucks at trying to fix their hair. We tackle home projects together, and somehow, between the directions we find online and a whole lot of brain-storming, we finish them quite well.

It is hard to label him with just a single word. If he was to label himself, I bet he would call himself a musician with a day job. I call him Vince, or sometime just "Hey You."

Posted by: Jen at May 9, 2007 11:43 AM

I actually swooned after I read this...

Posted by: Jen, South Florida at May 9, 2007 11:43 AM

We recently got some research at work about social groups of UK teenagers. It's really interesting but I couldn't for the life of me work out which one I'd be.

Posted by: Katherine at May 9, 2007 11:49 AM

Damn, what an excellent post. I've been struggling with *who I am* lately and after spending at least a year or so stripping myself of certain "titles" (assigned by SELF, not by the world), I'm beginning to see how much I miss and need those things that I thought I needed to do without. Or whatever. Being pigeonholed sucks. I have been pigeonholed by sexuality, gender, weight/appearance, education, occupation, religion/beliefs...pretty much everything. Right now I just want to be ME and be okay with that - screw the rest of the world.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 9, 2007 12:13 PM

And that's exactly why we like you so much. Because you're unpigeonholable. :)

Posted by: Zandria at May 9, 2007 12:32 PM

Zandria stole my thunder...Dude, I was seriously going to say the SAME thing...I think word for word.

Anyway, you rock...!
Have a good day ya punk-rock hippie freak!

Posted by: wn at May 9, 2007 1:17 PM

Ditto. If somehow our society could think more and not label everyone the world would be a nicer and cooler place.

Great post.

Posted by: Diane at May 9, 2007 1:32 PM

Hey, if we didn't have lables I wouldn't know who I should shun, pick on, or kiss up to. I worked hard to earn mine, bad-ass motherfucker, and I plan to hold others to theirs as well. That's how we do it here in L.A.

BTW, my minor was in history, it's come in very helpful whenever we play Trivial Pursuit.

Posted by: whit at May 9, 2007 1:39 PM

well...let's see... i have been labeled "alien" and even asked by a gman if I personally thought i might be... my response? "i tell everyone i'm from rigel" him: rigel? me:yep, the brightest star in orion's belt... him: holy shit! you know where its at? me: of course! him: and if i looked deep into things what would i find? me: my parents were not married when i was born him: and how well do you know your parents? me: well, i see my mom don't know him all that well... him: where were you born? me: toledo, oh...flower hospital...WOW...I AM a flower child after all! and did i tell you i once made a blender run that was not plugged in? him: well just the toledo thing explains it all! don't fit a label...don't wanna.........have walked away from more than a few scratchin their heads...

Posted by: the unicorn at May 9, 2007 1:46 PM

It sounds like you and my husband could be best friends. Except to he does drink beer and eat meat. But... he could be one of those people who has so much information on beer to tell you... he could keep you busy listening for a year. Beer, music, and history. Those would be his passions.

Posted by: Colleen at May 9, 2007 2:36 PM

Speaking of crazy cat ladies - I went to see an apartment the other day and the woman had ten cats. That's right: ten. Thing is, aside from having ten cats, I don't think she's really crazy*. Unpigeonholable.

*There's still no way I'd ever rent that apartment - I mean, TEN cats!

Posted by: erin at May 9, 2007 3:30 PM

Awesome post. My favorite part? "Tits rock."

Posted by: aimee/greeblemonkey at May 9, 2007 5:01 PM

Please tell me you have a single brother who is just like you! Beth's a lucky lady.

I've never quite fit in. Over time, it's been less of an issue. I can still be vegetarian and go on my lonely photo shoots and rescue birds that hit skyscrapers at dawn in downtown Toronto and read about obscure topics, but I'm still the "cruise director" (party planner) at work, and have this "problem" of too many friends.

I think the key is being authentic and being truly alive. With respect and a sense of humour, the first two qualities tend to engage other people (and help them to see past my "eccentricities") They also allow me to live the life that I feel I can be proud of.

Thanks for speaking out for being an original human being.



Posted by: Eclecta at May 9, 2007 5:16 PM

You sound like my kind of people. And yeah, one of the nice thing about living in California is that people kinda expect you to be a freak. And have blond hair (I don't) and blue eyes (hey, I DO have those!) and a great tan (ah, not so much).

On the other hand, I've had some huge lessons lately about being who I am. It's a scary thing and one I am stumbling towards, but I think it's something we all have to work on sometimes.

Of course, we're talking about moving, so if you come visit California, do it soon! We'd love to show you, Beth and the Bean around!

Posted by: Elaine at May 9, 2007 7:57 PM

That's what you are

Though near or far

Posted by: Sphincter at May 9, 2007 9:22 PM

I feel like that too - contradicting pigeonholes:
I bake and cook well, I can sew anything, crochet and knit, I'm very petite and I look 10 years younger than I am. I like to race my car, I perform Flamenco, I'm direct and don't use apologetic language; I don't have "products", I take less time to get ready for anything than Greg. I'm logical and organized, I can fix anything technological and change all the burned out lightbulbs. I behave more like a guy than a girl. Any I have the metaphorical bruises to show for it.

Posted by: Lisa at May 9, 2007 9:41 PM

I've been such a lurker lately, I just realized. Sorry 'bout that!
I like that you're scrappy. I like all of those things that you listed, in fact I'm pretty sure I just like you. You know, pretty well, anyway, for a guy I've never met :P

Posted by: Heather at May 9, 2007 9:43 PM

I AM THE CRAZY CAT LADY...would you like to know my other classifications? I LOVE this post. As usual...YOU ROCK MY WORLD...hugs to you, Beth and Mia!

Posted by: Cheryl at May 9, 2007 10:59 PM

I like that word, unpigeonholable...I'd like to belong to that as well...Great post!

Posted by: Dee at May 9, 2007 11:19 PM

Great post Chris. It's funny how you are in many ways like FreezeM.

I think we're unpigeonholable too! Or maybe we're just crazy Europeans :)

Posted by: Nadine at May 10, 2007 6:34 AM

First off I love California, and I'm a bit basis since I was born and raised here. I do love that about this place, you can be or not be and you just are. Chris I think you'd fit in here my house too. You and the mate minus the meat and booze could be twins. But I love him for all that he is not all that he's not.

love the word.

Posted by: Michele at May 10, 2007 12:01 PM

Yep, I like not being pigeonholed as well! Yay for dead pigeons!! (Or does the phrase have anything to do with pigeons?)

Posted by: Heather at May 10, 2007 3:53 PM

Once, I heard the Keno brothers describe how they transacted and documented their first antique sales and trades in spiral notebooks at the age of 8. I could just see them poring over their records (and they said they made sketches), twin blonde heads bent over together.

Posted by: christina at May 10, 2007 5:45 PM

To some extent that's true, just due to the widely diverse culture out here. But it's a very hard lifestyle to get used to if you weren't born here. I've become way too aggro since living here and I can't wait to get out.

Posted by: statia at May 11, 2007 11:32 PM

Right ON! I have been so tempted to write a post similar to this at times. Sometimes you just get to feeling so typecast, you know? And there is that impetus on a blog to want to share ALL of yourself (within a very limited medium).

You keep on unpigeoning those holes! (Wait... that came out wrong.)

Posted by: the weirdgirl at May 14, 2007 2:16 AM