20 Things About Me – RaggedyHannah
April 4, 2011 in 20 Things About Me
1. The day I turned twenty-one, I woke up in Amarillo, TX and went to bed in Taos, NM. Jerry Garcia died that day, and my favorite dog got slammed in the face by my un-boxed birthday cake in an accelerating minivan.
2. At the field hockey end-of-season awards dinner of my junior year in high school, I heard the name of every varsity player called at least once before I heard mine. Two hours into this humiliating experience, disappointed that my father had taken time out of his day, sensing ants in the pants of everyone around me, the final award was called for me: Unsung Hero. They made me a metaphor for myself as I helped close the ceremony to the sound of two hands clapping.
3. I started going gray at puberty. I have always struggled with the attention it has brought me. At one end of the spectrum, people describe the luster of my hair to me in great detail. At the other end, I get jokes about how I must have seen god or I receive unsolicited advice about how to lower my stress level. I sometimes dye my hair as a way of hiding from the world.
4. In the house where I grew up, there was always at least one room being repainted or redecorated. My room was painted a medium gray with abstract white and black birch trees and one little red cardinal. My sister had an undersea mural with fish, corals and a large octopus.
5. When I see a live squid or octopus, my first thought is typically about eating it. I love the tough texture and mild brininess.
6. My grandfather showed me his penis when I was about eight-years-old. I thought it was a little bit interesting, a little bit annoying, and not much else. I never told my parents. Unfortunately, his behavior did not start and stop with me, and in retrospect, I should have told them. I did, however, try to tell my parents about the gymnastics teacher who flirted heavily with me, but I was too ashamed to get the words out.
7. My relationship with my uncle is predicated on two interactions we had when I was a toddler. Once he did a belly dance for me, and once he did an impersonation of an elephant. Nothing of substance has passed between us since. He will always be a friend of children in my mind, despite the fact that he mentally abused his daughter.
8. For most of my life, my favorite ensemble was dark jeans and a white man-tailored shirt. I enjoyed feeling dapper and fantasized about someday having a job that required me to wear a suit. Lately, I’m more interested in cargos and turtlenecks. I think this shift corresponds with other transformations in my life — in particular, that my career ambition has plateaued.
9. I like hamburgers cooked rare, but I’m too shy to ask for them that way, so I order medium rare or medium, depending on the company I’m in.
10. I dislike triangles.
11. I shop by feel. In a clothing or furniture store, I will brush each item gently with my fingertips and let my gaze fall neutrally on the merchandise. I look for smooth, sturdy fabrics — twills, heavy knits and velvets, not crepes, satins or linens.
12. I sometimes use a paintbrush to put acrylic color on a canvas. I have three paintings hanging in my house, and each represents a frame of mind. The large one is from soon after I moved into this apartment. It depicts a dining room that has been cleared out to use as a dance floor, but the room is empty. I painted two small abstract things socially, at a friend’s house. One is about not having specific, well-focused goals. The other is about the scary side of having deep roots in a place.
13. I have a rich dream life. Recently, I’ve learned to play the violin, woven a tapestry, solved a mathematical mystery, and of course, floated above the ground. A recurring dream theme is the geography of New York’s outer boroughs. I occasionally yell at the older women in my family at the top of my lungs. By my estimation, this behavior will subside when I turn forty.
14. My IQ is 135. My mother vigilantly protected me from this information for my entire childhood. She fretted over the moment when I would find out that I was not, in fact, a genius—that I would not be welcomed at Mensa, and I may never defeat her in Scrabble.
15. Moreover, I have fallen for every gullible joke I have ever been told.
16. I ran for class treasurer twice—in the sixth and eleventh grades—and despite my inspired speeches, I lost both elections to the more popular candidates. In college, I volunteered to be treasurer of a club in my academic department, at which point I recalled that asking for money stresses me out. That all changed years later when I was thrown into the deep end of putting together the annual budget for my group at work on the order or $10M. Once the numbers were larger than I could comprehend, I may have enjoyed bloating the requests.
17. If I get started, I can easily spend a full evening nosing into Wikipedia, following a train of thought. My most recent excursion followed the taxonomy of Germanic languages and led me to the history of Walloon.
18. There are two Basset Hounds in the apartment down the hall from me. One is named Paul Newman for his blue eyes. I always think the other must be named Woody Guthrie, but he’s just called Banjo.
19. One of my only life goals is to own a dog again. I grew up with dogs, but I’ve been living alone in a city for most of my adult life. I want a dog more than just about anything, but so far I have not been willing to change my life to accommodate one.
20. My speaking voice is higher and more animated than my writing voice.