Wednesday, August 30, 2006

PI School Part V: The Dropout

Okay, I don't know what I was thinking with that last post. Time to get back to some familiar territory.

Today's focus is on what it feels like to be a PI-school dropout. For background on this intensely personal (i.e plastered all over the Internet) subject, please refresh yourself by looking back at the previous entries in my PI School series:

Finished? Great. Thanks for sticking it through.

Now that you're back I can explain the full truth.


Yes, it's true. Night after night of rocking up to the class, heavy books in hand, bicycle chained to a bench out the front of the campus building, I eventually broke down.

Not exactly a nervous breakdown, more a realisation of 'what's the point?' I mean, I only ever enrolled to get some background info on what it was like to be a private investigator. And since my character is a PI-in-training, you could call it a little method acting on my part. But hey, this is fiction, not film, and I don't have to spend weeks studying Johnny Depp's mannerisms in Fear & Loathing to come up with some background. But that's not the only reason I dropped out.

It was the silence that got to me.

Maybe the nature of the PI is such that the people attracted to the profession are those of the private kind. Reserved, quiet, aloof. Observers rather than active participants in life. Sure, one of them had tattoos on his arm that he'd designed himself, and a couple of the youngest were a little more than entertaining during the class, but ultimately, a private bunch.

I found myself feeling very alone. Add to this the tedious drawing of traffic diagrams, the need to remember by rote the various government Acts, and one night after work I just decided not to go. Thought I'd make it the next week, after all, I wasn't missing out on much.

Next week came around and my schedule told me there was a two week break. Great. I could collect my thoughts, look through the PI textbooks, and recharge my batteries. Two weeks passed.

And I never went back.

My name is Daniel Hatadi and I am a PI-school dropout.


Sandra Ruttan said...

Observers rather than active participants in life.

That's a fair point, but it could also be that you found what you were hearing was what common sense already told you or what you already knew.

Or you really are just lazy. :)

Daniel Hatadi said...

When it comes down to it, I got the information I needed, and staying on was just cutting into my writing time.

Or is that my procrastinating time?

anne frasier said...

when i first started writing crime fiction i took all sorts of classes. nothing as in depth as your PI course, but i pretty much immersed myself in cop stuff and CSI stuff. I could fill a room with all my three-ring binders that are bulging with all the information i gathered over a few years. how much of it have i actually used? i think a fair amount with my first thriller, but then i started getting so damn BORED with it, and started skipping and skimming anyway. with my upcoming book, i didn't know the color of police uniforms in a certain county. screw it. i'll make it up. then i didn't know if a coroner could also be a medical examiner in that county. screw it. they can be both in my world. anyway, i really think we've become too bogged down with all these details. we need to know the basics, but i'm not sure we need to know enough to lead to our own burnout. which basically happened to me.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Anne, it's good to hear things like this, especially since you've got a body of work behind you. But as I said, I'm lazy, so it seems like I did a lot of study, but there are whole textbooks I have that I've only looked at a few pages of.

And I only lasted at the PI course for a couple of months, with a break or two, so that makes about twelve classes. Actually, at about three hours each, that's a fair block of time.

Okay, I'm rambling on my own blog. It feels weird.