Day 3: I am...
- Are you able to have conversations with and become friends with people who are not like you and are interested in different things than you are? yes. I say that firmly because, first, that's part of what friendship is. The joy is in the discoveries, the contrasts, finding things to talk about and learn about and debate and argue and maybe change, but not just to "overlap" about.
And, anyway, there are not many people who are much like me. I don't mean that facetiously, nor in the obvious "everyone is unique" way. When D. and I met, we were in our freshman year of college. We shared some things - the same major, some background education - but we weren't from the same town, we hadn't had a whole lot of the same experiences, and we were headed in some vastly different directions. The fact that our lives have continually brought us back together, over and over, is what matters. Not the stuff that we're agreeing or disagreeing about, or that we particularly have in common. Our travels, our inside jokes, the things that only she and I will ever know. Phone books, meat for the pizza, and rubber snakes.
It's the same with my other D. From the outside, we are quite dissimilar. We met at different points in our lives, our families and homes are not the same, we've each gone in directions nothing like each others'. Is the friendship about the differences? Or is it about our mutual love of books and reading, of cats and naps and lazy Sundays? Is it about driving to nowhere, with a Coke in the cup holder, talking out our troubles or blasting them out with the radio on full-volume? Or, really, is the bond just that - the bond, quite indefinable and perfect in itself, and needing nothing more to explain it?
Likewise, The Cat. When we met, I was becoming single, while she was married with a (fairly) small child. We were doing the same work, but in relatively dissimilar locations (she works in the big city!). She's "not from around here" in a much more significant way than I was, though we did have that alike. She was along for the bewildering ride of my big breakup and a bunch of smaller ones and some crazy things in between. She got to see me acting like a moon-calf once a year.... And our friendship: is it about those surface similarities? The same job, the voracious reading and blogging and, yeah, some other things that have since raised their unwelcome heads? Is it about the differences? The disparity in how we got there?
I think friendship is about what you bring into it, and how you change because of it, and what you are open to being transformed by.
- Are strangers more beautiful or frightening to you? uuuhhhh. That's a strange question. I don't think of strangers as "beautiful." For sure. That's off the menu.
But I also don't, automatically, think of them as "frightening," per se.
Imagine a compass rose, where West is "beautiful" and East is "frightening." I see strangers on more of a North/South axis, with North being "positive" and South being "negative."
- What stops you from doing everything you want to do? mortgage payments, and the need to eat
- Can you think of three adjective that do not apply to you at all? according to My Johari Window--energetic, extroverted, and religious are three terms that do not apply to me. Seems accurate enough.
- How do you feel about Jeremy Jaynes, who got a nine year prison sentence for spamming people with junk email? how do I feel about him as a person, or about the legitimacy of his case? Spam bewilders me, to be honest. I don't understand why anyone bothers with it, because I also don't understand how anyone - I mean, anyone - can be taken in by the majority of it.
And spammers thoroughly disgust me. Really: get a life.
And the case--it had more holes than a big chunk of Swiss. So I'm not surprised that the conviction got tossed.
- Do you know who the current premier of China is? nope. That's one of those pesky details that's easily enough retrieved from plenty of reputable sources that I don't need it readily at hand. Or, in other words: "eh, whatever."
- Are you very active? only mentally
- Is there a city that reminds you of the landscape of your brain? excellent question! This may be a far better way of explaining what I have always meant by 'spiritual home'. I thought that it was Miami, but I'm starting to believe that that city may in fact by my spiritual vacation home. I've yet to visit Maine, but from what I've seen (and I've seen rather a lot) there's every reason to believe it could actually be the true landscape of my brain. Fascinating, eh?
- Have you ever loved someone who has loved you back? I think so? From a family and friendship standpoint, it goes without saying. Romantically, though--yes. I have.
- Is it really being 'in love with' someone if the other person doesn't love you? you can never climb inside of the head and heart of someone else and know what they really feel. You can only know what you know, what you feel, what you're willing to admit to yourself, to hear, to believe. Even to remember. And what does "in love with", as opposed to "love", really mean? Is there a clear line of demarcation?
So: yeah. I think maybe it can be.
- Do you believe that there is someone perfect for everyone or that people just fall in love with who ever they are with at the time? there is no one perfect, ever. Trying to make sense out of this stuff is just asking for trouble, and probably a punch in the gut. Or feeling like it.
- Do you know secret things? I do.
- Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have? of course
- How do you overcome your fears? I don't know that I do, anymore. I don't have so many as I did before, but what I do are much deeper.
- What can you do better than anyone you know? remember details, some of which are better forgotten. Pull double-meanings out of everyday conversations. Procrastinate grocery shopping.
- Would you benefit from a wilder existence? in some ways, Hell Yes. But in others, I live in fear of the destruction and mayhem that would result!
- Does it seem to you like the range of socially acceptable behavior is getting smaller or larger? I think that society accepts an enormously wide range of behavior that would have been out of the question not very long ago. Not important social battles, which have been hard-fought and necessary. I'm talking about incredibly stupid things like, I cannot recall a day when I haven't heard the word 'fuck' at work, spoken by a coworker or one of my bosses. Cursing is so completely de rigueur in the workplace that it barely seems strange to me anymore. Given the industry, it is strange, and wrong, and bizarre, but also completely acceptable. (And yet very few of my coworkers would even think of dating someone they work with. The "ethical" dichotomy is very hard for me to fathom.)
Naturally, kids these days get away with the most ridiculous things. Get off my lawn!
- Have you ever fired a gun? Yup
- Are people becoming more afraid of each other? some of them. The others are taking advantage of it.
- If you had to choose the percentage of freedom vs. safety what ratio would you decide on (ex: 100% free 0% safe)? are freedom and safety opposites now?
- Does safety stifle you? on an interpersonal level, it sure does
- Who or what needs to be stopped? runaway trains. Children whose parents abandon their discipline in public. Neon-colored clothing.
- Are human beings becoming more domesticated? I don't think so, no. Hang around a pack of preteen boys if you're really wondering.
- Do you follow the lives of the British Royal Family? not as a rule
- How did the death of Pope John Paul II affect you? I was sorry, in the manner that I am when any person with whom I am familiar dies. However, as a non-Catholic, it was not a personal effect, and did not rise to the level of grief.
- Have you ever lost something and never found it? yep, many times
- Do you listen to any talk radio shows? never. Ever, ever. Not a fan.
- Who do you trust more, your friends or your parents? it's not a discrete question. "Trust more" is like asking which of my feet I like the best, or whether I prefer gray or black. It's an unanswerable question.
- Would you ever date someone outside of your race or religion? would, have, and it both didn't and did matter. Some things are harder for the 'different' one than for the 'daring' one.
- Which of the 7 deadly sins is the worst (gluttony, greed, pride, lust, envy, wrath, sloth)? greed. From a non-religious position, I think it holds within it gluttony, lust, and envy, as well.
- Which one are you most guilty of? There are a number of tests to find out.
Which of the 7 Deadly Sins are you?
What's Your Sin? (Greed was the highest of the Very High)
Greed: Very High Gluttony: Very High Wrath: Very High Sloth: High Envy: Very High Lust: High Pride: High
Which of the Seven Deadly Sins Are You?
Which of the seven deadly sins controls your life?
- Are you afraid to be alone with yourself? it's hard to be alone...with anyone else?
And no, I am not.
- Do you try to avoid thinking? I do, yes. If anyone can help with that quest, please do.
- Would you venture to tell someone you loved him or her if they didn't say it first? probably. Sometimes it's worthwhile, like when I told Chris. I'll never regret that, for sure. I'm glad I kept my stupid mouth shut this summer, though.
- What are you the most sensitive about? bug bites, intrusion into my family, and lying
- What can you talk about for hours? neutrality in WWII. Plants. Books I've read and loved...
- Do you talk about yourself, other people, or ideas the most? yep, all of those things. It always depends on the circumstances and the person with whom one is speaking.
- Do you believe that spell casting can work? yes.
- Are you a fan of The Legend of Zelda games? no - and I wish I could somehow attach my facial expression to this answer, because the wince and resigned head-shake say better than my words my true feelings about this nonsense
- What old movie would you go see if it were re-released in the movie theaters? meh
- Is there a celebrity that you would be too starstruck to talk to if you met them? I'm pretty sure that any true celebrity would leave me speechless
- Have you ever left a mean unsigned note? sure--when I lived in the bigger city I did it pretty often. People park like idiots.
- Do you think it's cheesy to paste things you didn't write into your diary? no. So much concern about cheese! I've stuck all sorts of things into my journal--and, because it's mine, it's perfect, and welcome, and no one's business.
- What are three things that you try not to think about? the meaning of life, the size of the universe, and what my voice sounds like to other people
- Is casual sex acceptable for you? who's offering?
- What form of sexual protection do you use? Krav maga
- What is expected of you that you feel is unnatural or not right? I am not especially gifted with small talk
- Do you sometimes place your own expectations on other people? of course. Everybody does this, all the time, every day--whether they realize it or not.
- Do you sometimes act overeager to make friends when you are around strangers? I'm going to guess not.
- Do you take everything that is said literally? definitely
[from the 5000-question meme - this is the middle part of the 4th hundred; the title quotation is by Rainer Maria Rilke]