100 Things About Me
1. I once bought a floor lamp, rewired it, and added a socket plug. And it worked. This counts as one of the few butch toolguy acts I've successfully performed.
2. I'm adopted.
3. I have two tattoos: one on my left wrist (a coiled snake) and one on my right (a bird).
4. When I was little, everyone assumed I'd grow up to be an artist. Around 18, I stopped painting and drawing so much, and switched to writing instead. I wrote my first poem when I was 18.
5. There was this radio station promo that sticks in my mind from when I was a teenager. I think it was called "Breakfast in Bed." Anyway, how it worked is that a friend would nominate you, and the DJs would call your boss and arrange for you to have a day off, and then the DJs would call you up and surprise you: "You can stay home today!" I still wake up sometimes and wish someone would call me.
6. However, I always keep my phone turned off.
7. When I was young, I used to fly constantly in my dreams, and I really and honestly believe that I did fly. But if you ask my rational mind if I believe in astral projection, it will laugh.
8. I have occasionally been unsure if dreams were memories and vice versa.
9. I peed once in an empty construction site with my friend Katherine in the middle of the day. I was 10.
10. Katherine was my first crush, and I still have a vivid memory of standing behind her while she cried, with my hands on her shoulders.
11. I went to my first lesbian bar when I was fifteen.
12. My first boyfriend used to put his hands around my neck as if he was going to strangle me and it freaked me out so much I decided I'd died by hanging in a previous life. But my rational mind doesn't believe in reincarnation.
13. I kill plants.
14. When I was a teenager, I was away from home for a few days--I don't know why--and it was winter and I left my window open. When I came back my gerbils were dead. I'd come to hate the gerbils, and suspect myself of murderous intentions. But I also felt very guilty. Years later I wrote a poem about it.
15. I have never voted.
16. There was a museum in the neighborhood I lived in after college, and its café served this savory salad. I remember it being so good that I would devour it all the way down to the lettuce bed, and sometimes I think of calling them up and asking them to find the recipe from ten years ago. But I don't remember the ingredients, just a taste impression. Maybe sundried tomatoes and olives.
17. I obsess about perfect foods I have eaten, in places I'm not able to return to.
18. I never give blood, because I'm phobic about needles and veins. I came really close after 9/11, but then blew off my appointment.
19. When I was 13, I seriously ran away from home and intended to take a bus to New York City. Someone I'd said goodbye to called the cops, however, and they came and picked me up. If they hadn't, I'd probably be a dead junkie hooker right now. I never ran away again. I went into therapy instead.
20. I think about how I'm eventually going to die usually at least once a day, and worry that it will be painful.
21. I sleep on my stomach, and though I'm not limber, will pull my legs up like a frog--often suddenly realizing that my knee is practically bumping my chin. That's only a slight exaggeration.
22. I assess almost every single man I meet or see against the profile for serial killers.
23. I once had a mohawk.
24. When I was little, all I used to think about was travel--I assumed that I'd spend my whole life in pursuit of seeing the world, and its most exotic locales. As I grew up I realized the world is full of bugs and dysentery and I became timid and stationary.
25. I've given up wearing make-up, except for occasional lipstick.
26. In youth I was certain I was a genius, and that my life would be a complete waste unless I was as immortal as Shakespeare. I'm quite sure I was an insufferable little fuck. I've spent the rest of my life trying to deal with issues relating to this.
27. I also thought for a while that I was an alien, and that the entire world was a complex charade staged for my benefit, exactly in the manner of "Truman's World," though at least 15 years before that movie came out.
28. I stopped talking to the remaining members of my family four years ago.
29. I have often ignored my mailbox for weeks at a time. I leave personal letters unopened, and have a long history of failing to pay bills I have the money for, just because I can't bring myself to write out the check and mail it off.
30. I had a long streak of shoplifting in my teen years and never got caught. I still have dreams about stealing.
31. My overriding desire in life is to be so wealthy I don't need to work.
32. I co-founded the first gay youth group in Norfolk, Virginia.
33. I didn't have my first drink until I was eighteen or so, and up until the age of 25, had probably not had more than a quart of alcohol total in my entire life. Gradually, very gradually, I became an alcoholic. My father might have been one, looking back, and my grandmother too, but I never realized it at the time.
34. I've never smoked.
35. My first fandom was Trek, my first slash pairing was K/S. I was a feral slasher when I was 13. I used to have vivid fantasies, many of which involved slavery and torture.
36. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've actually had a sexual fantasy involving myself. But I often dream of graphic sex.
37. There is one thing about myself I can't tell anyone, and it remains a thin but palpable barrier between me and everyone I know.
38. I wear men's deodorant. The smell of women's brands makes me nauseated.
39. I hate hot, clear, sunny days, and I hate crowds.
40. I don't believe in God. I have never believed in God, have no religious background whatsoever, and have hated the concept of organized religion since I was a child.
41. I read "Sybil" three times when I was 12, and tried to create split personalities for myself.
42. I have a pretty terrible memory. Much of my life is an impressionistic blur. The things I do remember are a fixed and static list, and I rarely remember more than that. I forget a lot of things about myself that I suspect other people would consider significant. Or maybe I should say, "I believe that I forget," because after all I don't really remember.
43. I dropped acid several times in college. I liked it.
44. I write reminder notes on my hands fairly regularly, with permanent markers or whatever is handy.
45. I love makeovers, and movies about makeovers. When I was young--huh, a lot of my notes are beginning that way--I lived near a swamp. I used to fall asleep at night imagining ambitious renovations in which the swamp was paved and every tree had a tree house, and the houses were actually little shops.
46. If I could makeover America, I'd redesign it elaborately, with some areas of the country resembling the wonderful kitsch of the fifties--colorized views of parks and knotty-pine cabins--and other parts from the turn of the century, with cobblestones and brownstones. I'd import European architecture, chalets, gothic churches, cities built on hills. And everything would be much cleaner.
47. I am like a Sentinel when it comes to noise. I can hear every pipe in my building, every appliance hum, every gurgle and electronic whine and mysterious intermittent tapping. I have a floor fan running almost 24 hours a day to create white noise. Loud noise--music, thumping base, parties--can trigger an immediate, Pavlovian rage, and if provoked far enough (especially if woken from sleep) I can forget all social timidity and will get in the face of total strangers and tell them to shut the fuck up.
48. I honestly believe that if I had license to kill selected people, I could do it with almost no remorse. There are certain street people I see repeatedly that I fantasize about killing, though sometimes I am weirdly generous with requests for money. I have also thought in practical terms about arson.
49. In fifth grade, my hands used to talk to each other. I also used to walk them across my desk like little animals. I wonder now what people thought of me.
50. I won my fifth-grade school spelling bee.
51. I never balance my checkbook.
52. I'm over $20,000 in debt and I've stopped caring.
53. My favorite card game is canasta. I kick ass at Scrabble.
54. The only funeral I've ever been to is my father's. When he died, he no longer had his legs. I've never cried about it. I'd started to hate him when I hit puberty, and we hadn't been close for years. He left my younger brother $100,000 when he died.
55. I still don't entirely trust microwaves. This is probably because I have almost no conceptual understanding of how the world works. Lacking any scientific background, I take technology for granted.
56. I've never wanted to have children or be married, not even for a moment. I do often think it would be nice to have a rich patron, however.
57. For most of my adult life, I've held the promise to myself that I'd commit suicide when I was 40 rather than decline into a tragic old age. After a while, I pushed that deadline out to 50. Now I'm looking further ahead.
58. I don't really know if I'm a normal person who thinks she's strange, or a deeply strange person who passes for normal.
59. All my life I've wanted a pocket watch that could freeze time.
60. I still don't have a DVD player.
61. When I waitressed in college on the night shift, I, like most of my co-workers, stole outrageously. We tore up meal slips and kept the money, we stole expensive pastries. Some people came to work drunk or high, but had no trouble performing. I knew three guys named Dave, and had a terrible crush on one of them. I still get nostalgic for that job.
62. I once lined up to have my picture taken with Jamie Farr.
63. Institutional buildings fascinate me, especially the empty hidden places you're not supposed to go without authorization. There's a zine called "Infiltration" about this very pastime--breaking into places where you're not supposed to be.
64. I used to do poetry readings, and was very popular.
65. There are always about 2 to 4 people in my life that I'm intensely, irrationally competitive with, but I try to keep this a secret.
66. If I had to eat a live tarantula for a million dollars, I don't think that I could do it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't think anyone is every going to put me to this particular test.
67. Reality shows and talk shows creep me the fuck out.
68. I have only two social gears: small talk and deep talk. Usually I'm stuck in groups that are comfortably operating somewhere inbetween, leaving me unable to contribute much. I feel utterly boring and at a loss in most social situations.
69. I'm almost completely self-absorbed, to a truly appalling degree. I forget the names of people's pets that I've heard a thousand times, never track birthdays, resist putting myself out socially, don't know surnames, mix up the identities of online acquaintances, am utterly uninterested in weddings and childbirths, and manage to let most of other people's crises slide off me. I think my writing is like the peacock's tail, and that without it I would be invisible if not actively unlikable. And yet of course despite my extraordinary laziness I want to be liked, respected, and appreciated.
70. The word slacker was coined in 1898 to describe me.
71. I suspect I have more emotional investment in fandom than in real life. The vicarious thrill of love between imaginary men is probably the strongest emotional element to have shaped my life.
72. Seventy-two percent of what I disclose to people would be better expressed in therapy.
73. I once researched the possibility that Ted Bundy was my real father.
74. I only learn things by necessity, never gratuitously.
75. I feel exquisite sadness ten times more often than exquisite joy.
76. Cat person, not dog person.
77. I rarely buy new clothes, I am a serially monogamous shoe wearer, I prefer cheap watches to more expensive ones, and I put off getting my hair cut longer than I should.
78. I have developed a respect for the medium of television that I never thought I would back when I was reading Harlan Ellison's TV columns.
79. Common things I don't own: a long mirror, a scale, a blow dryer, a printer, an iron, a stereo, a dresser, car insurance.
80. I puked in front of some Shriners once. Because, you know, I get heatsick.
81. I don't read newspapers, or watch the news, but I do scan the AP news on Salon.
82. I love peeling the skin off white mushrooms.
83. I have never been to Spain, but I've been to Oklahoma. And Vancouver.
84. My twenties were a vast wasteland of wasted time that I will never recover.
85. I can't speak anything but English.
86. I have been voluntarily committed to a psychiatric institution, enrolled in cosmetology school, spent two years in a government-sponsored vocational program in rural Pennsylvania, and once tried to join the Air Force.
87. I enjoy writing sentences that begin with "I."
88. I never failed a course in school. I skipped two grades and graduated high school at 16. I graduated with honors from college with a 3.875 GPA, already having taken graduate courses on the invitation of a critically renowned author. I scored 1380 on my SATs. My first job after high school was at Burger King, and my first job out of college was at a pawn shop, where I worked for two years.
88. I don't think I'm a racist or a bigot but I'm inalterably suburban in sensibility, and radical cultural differences can make me uneasy and sometimes abrade away my comfort.
89. I feel I'm often too honest at work but it doesn't seem to have caused me any irreparable harm yet. Knock on wood.
90. Knocking on wood is the only superstition I consistently adhere to.
91. I have never punched anyone or had a serious physical fight. I would like to, and I'd like to win.
92. One disturbing memory from my childhood is of watching a movie where someone was graphically stabbed. I cried, deeply upset by this. My father laughed at me.
93. I find almost all practical necessities of life tedious. I think I would make a poor cripple.
94. I don't want to die. I resent that I won't be here two centuries from now to see how things turn out.
95. So far, nothing has disproved to me the feeling that fictional lives are more compelling than real.
96. I like the taste of my own blood, and will nurse split lips with pleasure.
97. I tell lies. None of these statements is a lie, though.
98. Certain slants of light are the only way to experience transcendence, I feel.
99. I love the smell of burnt matches, gasoline, clove cigarettes, oranges, fir, and wind off the ocean.
100. I've had trouble breathing my entire life.