Anna S. (eliade) wrote,
Anna S.
eliade

I sing the meme electric.

I'm still fascinated by the "100 Things About Myself" meme. I found a few others. One from shemhazai and another from bonibaru. Has anyone else written one? Please tell me. I want to read them. They please me deeply.

I couldn't stop myself. Flying in the face of all social restraint and good taste, I wrote another list. That may be way too much Anna minutiae for most of you, so think carefully before you click and step through that link. {g}


1. I enjoy the pain of getting tattoos.

2. When I was young, I was certain that a duplicate house extended beyond the long hall mirror, and that if I tried enough I could pass through it, like Alice. I also used to jump off my bed repetitively, thinking that at some point I'd simply stop short of the floor and learn to fly.

3. Some of my earliest memories in Maine involve my grandmother, milkweed pods, and moss. We'd make bonsai-sized landscapes of moss and rocks and stuff, inside of deep china plates, with water for lakes.

4. I was born in coastal Maine and lived there when young, and any kind of nautical iconography tugs at my roots: ships, shipyards, lobster traps, buoys, captain's wheels.

5. When I was growing up, my dad's relatives had summer houses off an ocean bay, and this place has remained significant in dreams all my life. The house names were White Rocks, On the Rocks, and Cedar Point.

6. The items I've owned longest are a smiley-faced tape dispenser, a marmalade jar, an ivory and silver teething ring with a dangling elephant, and an enormous snail shell given to me by a mysterious fisherman. The shell is the most important.

7. I love making lists.

8. I'm absolutely as meta as I seem, and will often segue from talking about something to talking about how I'm talking about it. I really can't help myself. I also do it in conversation.

9. I used to write poetry, but don't so much anymore. Now it's kind of a reserve talent or something. My poetic streak still surfaces in writing, even in casual stuff, and now and then I wonder if it makes me sound pretentious. But really, the words just come out like that.

10. I have had journals ever since high school--big bound sketch books in which I draw and jot things and paste stuff. The more recent ones tend to be filled with architectural porn. I cut up Architectural Digest magazines, for instance, and fill page after page with images of beautiful rooms I will never live in. The obsession with this waxes and wanes.

11. I either want to die painlessly in my sleep or from a bullet to the brain. The advantage of suicide is choosing exactly when you go, and the idea has a certain appeal, because you can be sure of leaving your apartment tidy, your effects in order, and your worst embarrassments in the dumpster.

12. My youth was so completely dominated by books that it's as if I lived in them. I know they influenced me hugely, but it's all just a blur now.

13. I have no idea where I was when most significant events of our time occurred, such as when the Berlin Wall fell or Challenger exploded. I usually don't even know in which year things occurred. I remember the day of the WTC towers falling though. I went to work--I don't watch news--and met up outside the office with a guy I knew vaguely, who asked me if I'd heard what had happened. He briefed me, and I remember thinking we were both very self-conscious of its significance. Then I walked inside, stunned. I stayed half the day for no good reason.

14. The literary character I most identify with at this point in my life is Matthew Scudder, from Lawrence Block's series. He's an alcoholic and a moral relativist. And occasionally a killer.

15. My high school Latin teacher could not rein chaos, and his class was a bedlam. Once I simply got up and walked out from the middle of the classroom without anyone noticing and went and sat in the theater stairwell. Someone eventually came across me, and took me to the nurse's office. I hated high school.

16. In my senior year, I spent six weeks at Phillips Academy Andover for an art course. It was lame, but eye-opening in some ways. I'd matured slower than the rich kids, I suspect. At some point I twisted my ankle badly and had to limp around on crutches in deep snow.

17. I could play around with the meaningless debris in my brain indefinitely, and translate that into talking about myself.

18. The major sea changes in my life were when the intensity of my emotions declined, and when I stopped thinking so constantly. I was aware of both of these changes as they occurred. Most of the shifting was gradual, like turning down a gas jet so that a pot of boiling water cools; but the realizations were abrupt.

19. Time speeds up as I get older. I hate this.

20. One of my first jobs was selling encyclopedias door to door. I was 18. We did road trips and were completely underhanded--sneaking onto Army bases, tricking people into contracts. Everyone there was deeply sleazy. Adultery, emotional blackmail, faked pregnancies, drugs, corruption of minors. I realized then that I never wanted a sales job again. Unfortunately, that wasn't the last one I had.

21. When I worked in a pawn shop, I learned how to tell if gold and diamonds were real and knew roughly how to grade both of them. The pawn shop was owned and run by a borderline psychotic Jewish patriarch and his dysfunctional family. The boss was a tyrant with no concept of social boundaries, benevolent now and then but prone to tantrums and terrorization of both employees and any customer who had the balls to face off against him. He had the charisma of a cult leader, and his knack for enslaving employees and engendering their resentful loyalty was a marvel. I gave him backrubs, as did other female employees. It was all perfectly normal, if you looked at it in the context of a madhouse or a palace, and his shop was both. I lost 50 pounds while working there, went into therapy, took antidepressants for the first time, began drinking, and after one fateful drunken night in which I declared my boozy, untrue affection ("I love you, man") for the patriarch's daughter--a girl I in fact absolutely loathed--I never went back.

22. I'm something of a hypochondriac, in that if I have to decide if I have a headache or a brain tumor, I'll assume a tumor.

23. While I was in college, a girl was randomly killed by an ice-laden tree branch that fell on her head as she walked through the quad. I think about this now and then.

24. One poetic image I'll never forget: dead bees covered by flower petals.

25. I love huge flashing thunderstorms, unless they inconvenience me. I love snow, ditto. I love the pearly grey skies of Seattle, and the sound of rain when I'm inside.

26. I think I might nearly have had erotic relations with my cat when I was thirteen years old or so. It doesn't bear talking about, and in fact I don't like to talk about sex or bodily functions because I have a deep streak of bourgeois prudery that writing porn doesn't even begin to touch, but I still think these things are important to comment on in a human way, because we're all freaks. I think personal revelations are powerful if done right, horrifying if done wrong. I don't know which I'm doing, right or wrong. When I take any kind of revelatory risk like this, I like to remind myself that I could die of a brain embolism tomorrow. It's reassuring. And by the way, I said "nearly."

27. I can be honest if I abstract myself and don't consider the audience closely. Relating to individuals, I'm always essentially dishonest to some degree. I also contradict myself, but I don't consider that dishonesty. It's just human nature without the application of logic.

28. People with strong, forceful opinions make me nervous. I resist strong opinions. I mostly just have strong feelings. I hate formal debate, or anything that resembles it. I dislike impersonal rhetoric. It's one of the most deeply dumb and even objectionable things about me.

29. I've never owned a car newer than ten years old at the time I bought it. I've never paid more than $1500 for a car. I am dependent on my car, like a toddler on its mother, and if it breaks I freak out and that anxiety seeps into every aspect of my life. My car is an extension of my legs; without it I feel crippled and trapped.

30. I once let a woman walk on my back. That was deeply stupid.

31. It doesn't matter how much shiny crap I pry out of my skull, I still don't feel interesting.

32. I don't know much about history.

33. I once seriously began to read a 600 page book on the history of the potato. I was very excited by it. I took notes. This was unrelated to any classwork. In fact, during college and for a while after, I took notes constantly on most of what I read. I wrote my notes in neat block print, and I often copied out passages, using underlines for italics and exact punctuation. I still have all those notebooks and have so far found them completely useless.

34. I don't anticipate well. I harbor a fatalistic certainty that my computer will die one of these days and I'll lose everything on it, and yet I don't buy a backup hard-drive and learn how to use it. It just seems like too much effort. And maybe I *want* to lose it all, deep down. Maybe my life needs that periodic purging. I mean, I've found that I don't really miss much when things like that have happened before.

35. The only symbol that comes close to holding meaning for me is a spiral, and even that is very amorphous. For this reason, it took me the longest time to figure out what tattoos to get. If I were a vampire, I'd scoff at crosses.

36. I had a small piece of glass in my arm for several years, and I used to push it around under the skin with a slightly queasy feeling. And yet it never occurred to me to do anything about it.

37. I cut something off my body once. I won't say what, but it wasn't a vestigial tail.

38. If I could change one inherent quality about myself, I think it'd be my physical laziness. If I could change anything about myself, I'd be filthy rich.

39. Every time I get into my car when it's curb-parked in traffic, I briefly consider the possibility that another car will careen into me and sever my left leg before I can pull it in the door.

40. Four years ago I packed my entire life into my car and drove from Virginia to Seattle, with no certainty of a job and only a few online acquaintances waiting for me. I am so glad I did that.

41. So far, it seems that I can rewatch episodes of Mystery Science Theater almost endlessly. It's a bit disturbing.

42. Like Te, I tend to feel that dreams are alternate realities that I've visited. Their worlds seem too complex and autonomous to have simply sprung from my brain.

43. I don't want to understand people I dislike.

44. If I got rid of my premium channels, where would I go when I wanted to soak my brain in commercial-free programming? My most mundane habits define my life.

45. I can never reconcile myself to the body I inhabit. Maybe I'm a Gou'ald.

46. When I'm a pedestrian, the arrogance of people in cars annoys me. When I'm in a car, the oblivious liberties taken by pedestrians annoy me. It's struck me more than once that this says something important about me, except for "important" read "common and not very profound."

47. I've always wanted to be a pot smoker. I have no idea how to score pot. Probably for the best.

48. I used to chew aspirin and I only stopped because I thought it might be degrading my tooth enamel. I like the taste of aspirin.

49. I can't remember when I learned about sex, or about how babies are made. I have a feeling I might have shrugged it off.

50. Two of my favorite movies are "Aliens" and "Fearless." I think there's a part of me that's preparing for disaster.

51. I was a quiet, precocious child. I read at age four, maybe earlier. In photos I sometimes resemble a Russian refugee. But I had a devil in me waiting to be born.

52. When I was in sixth grade, a girl named Rebecca used to pick on me mercilessly. She was a genuine psycho, a liar and a thief, an extorter of small humiliations; implacable, tautological, and incomprehensible. I would like to find out where she lives now and slash her tires.

53. Fear, rather than morality, has kept me from doing most things. Like becoming an assassin.

54. There's a shameless quality to writing a second list of a hundred things about me; it exceeds the bounds of good taste. Whatever.

55. If I could get away with it, I'd shave my hair in a buzz cut and wear horn-rimmed glasses. Because that'd be cool.

56. Whenever I feel myself becoming inane, I hesitate to commit myself fully. Likewise, insane.

57. Every time I leave the house, I compulsively check for my keys. I pat the lump in my pocket and jingle them around. Sometimes I have to take them out and look at them to make sure they really are my keys.

58. I spent a lot of my formative school years in art rooms, inhaling the scent of turpentine and fixative. I'm just saying.

59. I have a fear of deep water. There's just too much down there. I was also traumatized by "Jaws" as a child.

60. I've tried to write books for publication and failed. The words clog up and I get bored. I once started to write a mystery novel using disguised characters. Mulder was my protagonist. I made him an impoverished gay house-cleaner involved in community theater as a hobby. What the fuck was I thinking?

61. I grew up on powdered ice tea and sitcoms, and I resent that whole lifestyle. I tried to get my parents to send me to boarding school, but they weren't having any. When it comes down to it, fairly or unfairly, I still pin-point the origins of everything sucky and lame in my life to them.

62. I don't always look backwards when I get introspective. But it occurs to me that I'm not so revealing as I could be, because I don't disclose as much about my present life. When it comes to past and present, I have no idea how I got from there to here. It's random and senseless.

63. I fear that if anyone truly knew me well, they'd become uncomfortable if not disappointed. So maybe I'm testing that.

64. I'm as shallow as the next person. Pretty people, shiny toys. Things that flash and zoom. A certain style of jacket, dangling earrings: you must be cool. Snap judgments. Most of my life I skate across the ice without cracking the depths. That street person is smelly and noisy and I'd like to erase him. He has no history or identity; he's defined solely by his surface. I can't think effortfully about every last thing. I pick and choose. When I do think hard, it's about things that interest me. Fandom, for instance. I should be interested in more than I am. We're defined by what interests us. The definition of me is: shallow.

65. I'm deeply afraid of developing Alzheimer's.

66. One thing I don't talk about much is the two years I spent in Job Corps, a vocational government program. I was a fish out of water, and there was a lot I hated about it; it's the one experience in my life that threatened to instill serious racial responses and issues in me. I do like to think they were more cultural than racial, though. It makes me feel marginally less deplorable. Except for my first semester in college, it was the one time in my life I had roommates. It fucked with me deeply. I also learned to jerk off quietly, like soldiers in the Army.

67. Years later--on a totally unrelated note--as my time managing a small bookstore in rural Virginia drew to a close, I used to drive 100 miles round trip for a latte. Mostly it was for the driving of course. The latte was just an excuse. I think now that I was warming up, like a runner stretching, preparing for the journey ahead.

68. I've hankered after a switchblade for years now. I think they're cool, and I think I'd feel safer if I had one.

69. I am not a generous person when it comes to money. Or much else. But I'm rarely feeling so secure that I enjoy spending money on other people, and I suspect my ambivalence shows, so I try to avoid such situations. I also don't like drinking from the same cup. It's never personal. It's only because I have this instinctive feeling that I'll become sick. Clearly, I have intimacy issues.

70. I don't like talking on the phone, especially long-distance.

71. When I express strong feelings of affection, even in writing, I often buffer myself in humor or slip into third-person. I find it hard to tell even my best friend that I love her in a straightforward way because the love I have to offer is flawed. Or maybe I just can't be vulnerable. Which may seem an odd thing to say in this context, but I think it's fundamentally true.

72. I once bought cigarettes and a cigar with the express purpose of burning scars into my skin. I thought it would be cool. I had weird ideas of cool. I have only one tiny scar, because it turned out to be very painful. Duh.

73. I rarely have any idea what people in my life think of me.

74. I think collecting colorized state quarters for ten times their face value is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of. Now I want to know what thing in my own life, that I take completely for granted, is just that stupid.

75. I prize tone over meaning and style over content. This says a *lot* about me. Remember it always.

76. The years have seen the slow erosion of my intelligence, or my certainty of it.

77. Even the imagination of absolute power corrupts me absolutely. How scary is that?

78. I used to cover our entire formica kitchen table in shaving cream and sculpt with it.

79. One of my major childhood crushes was Shaun Cassidy. It seemed so wholesome and trite back then, but I've learned from unnamed sources that he's grown up into a wonderfully twisted freak. This seems fitting.

80. Two of the most profoundly disturbing works I've absorbed are Katherine Dunn's "Geek Love" and the movie "Se7en." The common theme is apparent only to me, and the horror runs so deep I don't even want to share it.

81. The only notes of interest I retain from my extremely brief teenage psychiatric stint are a backrub, a bearded man whose aura could make radios whine, and the discovery of cherry pie.

82. My mom became a New Ager, which is good, because it means I'm innoculated.

83. My fannish BSOs are telling: Spock, Dale Cooper, Fox Mulder, Blair Sandburg, Daniel Jackson, Spike. An alien, a freak, a basket-case, a manipulator, a repressed geek, a vampire. Notes of alienation, emotional repression, socially inappropriate verbalizations, dependency, homicidal rage, and flat-out lunacy are inseparable from my desire.

84. I am procrastinating on my writing at this very moment. Fuck me.

85. I don't find children interesting.

86. I have a lot of rage. A lot.

87. There are certain tricks of the sky that I remember. Once, when I was taking a bus ride, I saw a towering, shadowy bank of clouds seared on the bottom by sunlight. Another time, the strangest and most wondrous sky I've ever seen: a quilt of dark, low-hanging clouds heavy and dripping with light, as if it were some luminous sea of water trying to soak through.

88. The landscape of Ireland seems to call to me, but so far I've ignored it.

89. Ice is a necessity of my life.

90. Given my morbidity, hypochondria, polar sexual extremes, physical inhibitions, reluctance to intimacy, and repression, I think I'd have made a good Victorian spinster.

91. I disguise myself in words. I consider myself a disappointment in the flesh.

92. I take off my shoes at the seashore when no one else does.

93. I almost never use my umbrella.

94. My fingers often smell of garlic and onions, and I feel ambivalent about this. Also, when alone, I will often eat with my fingers. Because I'm descended from apes.

95. Sometimes I think about the end of "Twin Peaks," where Josie's stuck in that drawer knob, and I think: "What the *fuck*?"

96. I thought "Interview with the Vampire" was one of the lamest movies I'd ever seen, at the time it came out. I saw it in the theater with my gay friend Bob, who was staying with me and mooching off me at the time, and as we left I said, "Wow, that really sucked, huh?" And he said, "Oh yeah," with this weird smile and a lunatic light in his eyes. It took a few minutes for me to realize he'd loved it. Bob went on to rack up my phone bill and bail on me, leaving behind only an answering machine message, in which he swore to pay me back. He never did. That was the end of our friendship, just that simply and with no particularly good reason; despite having been joined at the hip in college, we never spoke or saw each other again, and really, I didn't mind. My feelings about the movie haven't changed much.

97. I once stood in my bathtub and sang "You Light Up My Life" into a tape recorder. I can't sing now and I couldn't then, but I wanted to. A few years later, our family visited my father's boss at his flashy house, and the guy showed off his daughter by having her sing to us. With a microphone and everything. My childhood really could have been worse, now that I think about it.

98. I almost always prefer my pizza plain and my friends seem to find this strange. But at least I'm not afraid of triangular food. In truth, my liking for pizza has waned with time. It's just way too much cheese. They should just put big dripping wads of cheese in an envelope and mail it to you. Same difference.

99. At times I worry that, in my writing, I sound like Andy Rooney or Jean Teasedale. Because you never know how you sound to others, not really. I don't know what my voice is, on paper. I think my speaking voice is pleasing.

100. I have a whitish-grey streak running through my dark hair which is very striking. Or so people tell me. It's remarked upon often. I wish the rest of me was as striking. I'd like to be my body.

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