23 October 2008

Meme without politics

Lucy over at A Commonplace Book has a nice meme going in which she eschews speaking or thinking of politics. She’s burned out. I understand and empathize, so I’ve stolen her meme for use here. I don’t think she’ll mind too much.

See, there’s so much politicking and stress going on in the world right now, I’ve found myself at a loss for words again. I get overwhelmed. And I don’t have anything new to say about it all. It’s been about a week since I posted to Blue Wren, and I was out of ideas. Fortunately, Lucy came along just in time. She's my hero.

It took me a couple of days to decide to pick up the meme. I was thinking it would take too long or perhaps dig into personal areas I didn’t want to touch. But in reality, it was fairly quick and much easier than I expected. Painless, even. Feel free to have at it yourself:

What is your favorite thing to wear? I have an oversized, patchwork shirt made from lots of old, worn fabrics stitched together. It’s a wonderful hodgepodge of blues, muted purples, lavender and green. It’s soft and flowy. Not showy. I like wearing it with my comfy old jeans. And on my feet? Fuzzy chenille socks and German woolen slippers.

Last meal you had at a restaurant: It was a café, not a full-fledged restaurant. I had a so-so spinach and mushroom omelet, crunchy-creamy hash browns with ketchup (they tasted even better for being verboten), half an English muffin, and great coffee.

Name one thing that scares you: Being helpless and dependent. A close second? Wasps.

Who was the last person in your bed? Me.

What were you doing at 7:00 a.m.? I was filling the electric kettle with fresh water so I could make a cup of coffee. I did this while tossing lamb-flavored treats to the dog, who does not understand the words “wait a minute!” He was drooling on my knees, so I had to keep him occupied.

Last person you hugged? My friend J., for being so dear.

Does anyone you know want to date you? If he had any money, my cat would take me out on the town.

When was your last encounter with the police? About four years ago a young neighbor from up the street failed to make the turn at the end of our cul-de-sac and zooped headlong in his Toyota pickup down our short, very steep driveway. Apparently he forgot where his brake pedal was. He reached the bottom of the driveway at roughly 30 mph, where he crashed through the chain link fence dividing our property from our next-door neighbor’s. After taking out her second fence and heading into the forest, his Toyota finally stopped when it got stuck between two pine trees. The poor guy was, as you might have guessed, very drunk. Miraculously, he wasn't hurt, but he was dazed and disoriented. I helped him into our kitchen, gave him a cup of coffee and called the sheriff while he sat there alternately apologizing and complimenting the decor. The officer who showed up arrested him for driving under the influence. I felt bad – the guy was young and obviously messed up – but what do you do? There'd been damage done to our neighbor's property, and it was just sheer luck that I’d happened to park my own car up on the street the night before. Normally, it would have been right at the bottom of the drive, and he’d have crashed right into the back of it. At the time of morning this happened, my daughter and I could well have been getting into the car to go to work. We just happened to be running a little late, so we weren't walking up the driveway when he flew down it. So ... yeah. It was an interesting encounter. It was made even more memorable when the officer, who was sorta cute, flirted with me.

Have you ever driven without a license? Only by accident when I left my wallet at home.

What time of the day is it? It’s 11:43 a.m., by my laptop clock. I should probably try to be a little more productive than this today.

Who/What made you angry today? I haven’t been angry even once, so far. It feels good.

Do you want anyone? Not really. I’ve learned that what we want and what we get are rarely the same thing when it comes to people.

Do you like birds? I love birds because they make me smile, every single time.

Do you download music? Occasionally, through iTunes.

Do you care if your socks are dirty? Only when I don’t have any clean ones handy. In which case I’ll put the dirty ones on, wrinkling my nose, but I soon forget all about it.

Opinion of Chinese symbol tattoos? I’ll pass, personally. I’ve always loved the look and design of Chinese characters, but since I don’t speak Chinese, I’d be afraid I’d end up with a tattoo that said “Kick Me” (or worse) in Cantonese or something.

What are you doing tonight? I will attempt, once again, to progress a little further as I write the Great American Novel.

Do you like to cuddle? Briefly. Then I get too warm and start feeling claustrophobic, and I have to break free. Gently. With apologies. I think I like the concept of cuddling more than the actual action.

Do you love anyone? Oh, yes.

Whose bed did you sleep in last night? Mine.

Have you ever bungee jumped? Nope, and I never will, either. I’m a shivering coward when it comes to heights. I’d pee myself. It wouldn’t be a good experience.

Have you ever gone whitewater rafting? Once, by accident.

Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you? Yes. It was both flattering and distressing.

How many pets do you have? Two – my cat, who velcroes himself to my legs these days, and my dog, who loves me best at mealtimes. Oh, and then there are the five hens, but they’re not exactly pets.

Have you met a real redneck? Yeah, I’m married to one.

How is the weather right now? It’s really nice. Temp’s in the mid-sixties, there’s an intense blue autumn sky studded with clouds, plenty of cool, shifting sunshine and a light breeze. The Stellar’s jays are yelling in the trees just outside.

What are you listening to right now? The clock ticking over the hearth, the hum of the refrigerator and, through the open window, a firetruck siren, moving away.

What was the last movie you watched? That one with Kevin Spacey as the guy in the mental facility who thought he was from another planet. Maybe he was. Or not. It ended ambiguously. I was bemused.

Do you wear contacts? No, I wear bifocals. And they’re not working so well these days. I guess it’s way past time for an eye exam and new specs. Sigh.

Where was the last place you went besides your house? The tiny local post office a few blocks away. I needed stamps so I could mail a bill payment. The postal worker at the counter was very friendly and had a nice smile, which he used freely. I was pleasantly surprised, so I gave him my smile in return. And so the world turns.

What are you wearing? Don’t laugh. It IS noon now, after all. I’m wearing warm, comfy, black-watch-plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a very old, holey, Natalie McMaster "In My Hands" T-shirt.

What’s one thing you’ve learned this year? I’m much stronger, physically and mentally, than I would have believed.

What do you usually order from Starbucks? I rarely go there, unless it’s to meet my buddy J. When I do, though, I get a small mocha or a chai latte. The merchandise – the coffee cups, the coffeemaking paraphernalia, the music CDs, even the little tins of mints – always tempt me. “Waste your money!” it yells at me. It’s terrible. I have to tell myself to be strong before I walk through the door.

Ever had someone sing to you? Yes. When my daughter was six and we were living in Germany, we heard some music through the window of our third story flat one winter morning. We went out on the balcony. There on the sidewalk below was a very old man, dressed in a threadbare overcoat, a wool cap and baggy old clothes, playing an accordion. He saw us standing up there, turned our way, bowed and started playing a new song, singing to us in German. We were both mesmerized. Charmed. He sang two songs for us. We made him a cup of hot cocoa and took it down to him, along with all the German change I had in my wallet – about four Deutschmarks, I think. It was just lovely, one of those special moments that comes along now and then over the course of a lifetime. I’ll never forget that wonderful old man and listening to him sing to us in the cold.

Have you ever fired a gun? Yes, but only at target ranges. I fired an M-16 semi-automatic rifle in Air Force basic training, and then years later fired a sniping rifle (and hit a distant target on my first try, which was sobering), a .22 pistol, and a Magnum that kicked so hard when it fired I nearly knocked myself out with it. Except for the M-16, I fired the guns as research for a story I was writing at the time.

Are you missing someone? My Dad.

Favorite TV show? The only TV I watch is Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, and that’s only occasionally. So I guess that’s my favorite. I’m one of those annoying, self-righteous people who hate television and won’t watch it unless forced. Sorry.

What do you have an obsession with? Writing.

Has anyone ever said you looked like a celeb? Not even once. When I was a kid, I thought I looked a little like Hayley Mills. Now I'm not so sure.

Who would you like to see right now? My daughter.

Ever had a near death experience? No, and I’d rather not. I can just imagine the medical bills.

Are you afraid of falling in love? Not afraid, but I’d be very, very wary.

Have you ever been caught doing something you weren’t supposed to? No. I’m either really clever or deadly boring.

Has anyone you were really close to passed away recently? My Dad died in 2005, and my aunt and uncle died, several months apart, in 2007. It’s very strange knowing I’ll never see any of them again. Most of the time, I don’t think about it, but once in a while something will bring them all to mind, and I’ll miss them. Sharply, hopelessly, and with love. And then I move on, as we do.

What’s something that really bugs you? Hypocrisy.

Taco Bell or Burger King? When I was in my twenties, I liked Taco Bell better. Burger King was (and still is) off the list because I got violently sick right after eating a Whopper one time. I don’t think it was the burger that did it – I was coming down with the stomach flu, as it turned out – but for me, it ruined Burger King burgers for life. Today, I don’t eat fast food, period. It makes me fat.

Next time you will kiss someone? Does the cat count? I’ll probably kiss his fuzzy head several times today. Mr. Wren will get a few kisses, too, if he’s nice.

Favorite baseball team? Don’t have one. I’ve loathed baseball ever since I found out there was no half-time entertainment to relieve the tedium.

Ever call a 1-900 phone number? No.

Nipple or Nose rings? Argggh! Dang, both would hurt waaay too much. I had to be tricked into getting my ears pierced, you know. I'm a total wuss.

What’s the longest time you’ve gone without sleep? Years and years ago, when I was taking part in an Air Force training exercise, I stayed awake for about 48 hours straight. It’s a very odd feeling, that. I didn’t like it.

Last time you went bowling? In 1989, at the bowling alley on Karl Schurz Kaserne, in Bremerhaven, Germany. I rolled many, many gutterballs and two actual strikes!

Where is the weirdest place you have slept? In the dark, creaky wooden hold of a tall ship docked at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I was doing a story for the newspaper about a group of local fifth-graders who were taking part in an historical “experience” during which they acted as the “crew” of this beautiful old schooner for 24 hours. The ship was authentic and had carried cargo along the West Coast until around 1910. I didn’t sleep in the ship’s hold alone, though – I shared it with 23 exhausted, overexcited, giggly kids and one very grouchy, 350-pound newspaper photographer.

Who did you last speak with on the phone? Mr. Wren, as I roamed the aisles at Costco searching desperately for the restroom.

What does your last received text message say? “New blog!” It was from my daughter, who writes the blog, Dream of the Dragon.

What’s the closest orange object to you? A pillar candle that , when lit, smells delightfully like cinnamon. It makes me think of autumn. Now I’m going to have to light it, you know.


blue girl said...

while he sat there alternately apologizing and complimenting the decor.

lol. I know I shouldn't laugh, but I did.

I thought this was a good meme. Got the mind and fingers working. And yours made me really want a cinnamon candle. This house needs something these days...

Also, I really liked this answer of yours:

I’m much stronger, physically and mentally, than I would have believed.

I'll take inspiration from that.

Dick said...

Wow! That's quite a meme. An interesting read. Like the best memes, it causes one to reflect in some depth about the day-to-day constituents of one's life. I might have a go at this.

Lucy said...

I stole it from Blue Girl, so she gets the credit. I love the two long stories here...the one about the kid who crashed his car (reminds me of a friend from college) and the one about the German serenade. I love seeing these little glimpses into others' lives.

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