Saturday, May 07, 2005

Five Questions from Tricia

1. What are the values/morals your parents (or
whomever) taught you as a child, which somehow
affected you in the future?

This is an interesting (and somehow difficult) one. One of the strongest lingering values (or at least one I've been noticing recently) is my strong 'intellectual' streak, something (oddly) that sets me apart from a lot of the people in my writing program. This isn't to say they aren't smart -- far from it, really. It's just that I have a sort of academic way of looking at the world: a love of reading and writing about strange and esoteric concepts, and an unabashed enthusiasm for things like literary theory and the history of ideas.

Of course it's not a black or white 'people see it either my way or another' type thing. But its always been one of my defining characteristics, from my brown-nosey elementary school days on up. And I take it really personally when people act like 'intellectualism' and 'elitism' are synonomous. Because thinking crtically is gonna save the world, man.

2. What is a common first thought you have in the
morning and the last thought before bed?

I don't know if there is a common thought that runs through my head when I'm lying in bed. I do love bed thoughts though - those funny little surrealist streams of consciousness that seem to show up in the liminal states between consciousness and whatever lies beyond it.

As we're falling asleep, we usually listen to Coast to Coast, a conspiracies and aliens call-in show that Brian's been listening to for forever. He usually falls asleep right away, no matter what topic is being discussed, but I'll often lie awake staring into the darkness as people call in to discuss alien abductions and haunted factories. Our bed is by the window, and I like to stare up at the sliver of sky between our apartment building and the next as I fall asleep, but some nights, when the eerieness on the radio gets to me, I just close my eyes and try to think of rational, daytime things.

When I wake up, I usually just wonder what's made Brian so damn chipper. And try to will myself out of bed in the direction of coffee. And I try to hold onto my just-before waking dreams for as long as I ca, but I never have the forsight to leave a notebook by the bed. This morning I woke to a dream of someone spraypainting the windows to a car I was in, and then me cooking appetizers and snacks for a large crowd.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could
have 5 things and one person with you, what would you
have and with whom? (The ol' standby.)

Well, 'who' is easy -- I don't know if I'd even know how to get lost on a desert island without Brian. And besides, he's totally the sort who can figure out how to build a shelter and make fire, while I would, I dunno, weave together palm fronds into a cute bikini or reinvent deconstruction or something.

And lets see - five objects:

1. A phone (you don't expect me to live on a desert island without calling my parents at least once a week to talk about it, do you)?

2. A portable lavatory, well eqipped with toilet paper (I have anxieties about poopin' in the woods).

3. (ahem) a lifetime supply of feminine hygene products (can i include toothpaste and floss and make it a sort of toiletry bag? Ok, ok, I'll try to think outside the bathroom for a while).

4. I bookshelf stocked with (waterproof?) copies of Madeline L'Engle's books, the complete Anne of Green Gables series, random paperback mysteries and sci fi, and a few "infinitely re-readable" books, like the Illiad, the Divine Comedy and the like.

5. pants.

4. What is something you regret?

Sometimes I feel like regret is my default setting. Seriously -- today I had this great convestation with a girl from school, one of those totally wide-ranging and in depth funny conversations you get to have with folks every once and a while. And within an hour, I was feeling twinges of... I dunno ... free-range guilt? Even though it was a great conversation, I can't help but feel I said something stupid or potentially offensive or something.

That said, there are plenty of things I do and should regret. I fogot to call Shana on her birthday. I'm terrible with money. I often speak without thought or reflection. But if I had to choose one, everyday, practical regret : I wish I'd learned time management skills somewhere along the line.

5. What were you like when you were 10?

Ten was really my favorite age. I was at the height of my preadolescent powers. The fifth grade was the oldest class at Greenwood Elementary (the school around the block from my house that I’d been attending since kindergarten). We fifth graders were sort of uber-children, and school was a familiar world of teachers, janitors and administrators I'd known for years.

Though not popular, I was well known among my classmates, and universally accepted, even liked. Every day I wore the same uniform: a mismatched pair of Converse ‘All Stars,’ one pink, one blue; an old bomber jacket from world war two (the pockets stuffed with pens and paper), and a man’s fedora that my older sister had adopted and then abandoned some years before.

My teacher, Ms Riordan, and I had a special bond. We'd talk -- it seemed at the time -- like equals, with special jokes and secret smiles. Like every teacher I’d ever had, she scolded me for not reaching my ‘potential’ - a word I heard over and over again every year, as I turned math homework in late or missed assignments entirely - but she knew me, understood me. It was marvelous.

Except that I never did learn that 'potential reaching' schtick.

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