Monday, April 17, 2006

Six is the friendliest number that you'll ever know.

I'm up to writing #141, which seems fitting since I've been tagged by my Detroiter poet mom friend to reveal six quirks or strange things about myself, and one weird thing (this one's your bonus) about myself is that I often like to add up the digits of numbers, to see whether they're divisible by small prime numbers. I am taking up the tag, but I feel funny about tagging others, so I'm not going to do it. I didn't like selling Girl Scout cookies either (that's your other bonus).

Without further ado:

One. I speak to deer and small animals and birds that I see when I'm out walking around. I don't speak to them with any sense that they understand me or that they'll start talking--nothing mystical like that. I just greet them. Tonight, on my way home from school, I saw three fully grown deer eating in a neighbor's yard. Actually, they were probably eating my neighbor's yard. I said hello to them and reassured them that I wouldn't bother them. They didn't run away, though they did get a little skittish and move farther from the road.

Two. For a long time when I was little, I would go through funny phases where I'd hear people's words (ongoing conversations, for instance) being repeated inside my head by a high, thready voice, like an incantation of things yet to be made memorable. I used to wonder whose voice it was, or where it came from. I haven't heard it for a long time, and that's all right with me.

Three. I am fascinated by personality tests, especially when they confirm for me things I already know. I was once caught out by a test that is meant to keep you from faking: it measures not just what you're saying, but also the contexts within which you're saying it. That test really had me pegged.

Four. I have one hell of a sweet tooth. If it has sugar in it, I'll want to eat it. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by the amount of sugar I put in my coffee. Maple sugar candies, black liquorice, dark chocolate (especially with orange or orange flavoring), fruit slices (kosher ones are delicious, and available this time of year), chocolate covered cherries, and bridge mix are all favorites of mine, depending on how my tastes are running any given day. I also love the heels of bread. And if you can give me the heel of a good loaf of white or multigrain bread, spread with butter and then layered with honey (preferably from a honey bear), I will be one of the happiest people around.

Five. I love subways and commuter trains. I love the T, the Tube, the NYC subway, the Metro, SEPTA, BART, the Metra (double-decker cars? my world is rocked), the LIRR. I also love Grand Central Station more than almost any other public building I can think of, anywhere. I'm the girl who knows right where to take you so that you can see the spot they left behind after the restoration, so that everyone could see just how grimed things had gotten by the 1990s, and I'm the girl who will go back there whenever I'm in town and can swing a trip, just to look at the stars in the ceiling.

Six. I have at least one desk (or desk substitute) in every room of my house, except the bathrooms. Total number of desks in my house (counting my dining room table and my kitchen table but not my lap desk): eight. I am also obsessed with blank notebooks. I gather them together whenever I am in a city and can find a stationer's shop. Claire Fontaine, Miquelrius (leather-look, especially), and large-format Moleskine are my favorites, and I cannot abide wide-ruled or even college-ruled paper. Graph paper, five squares to the inch minimum, thick enough to take good ink. Or blank. Those are my requirements. I collect these desks and notebooks because, deep down, I think they'll help me become a writer when I grow up. My newest desk is bright red. I'm sitting at it right now.

If you want to reveal six quirky or weird things about yourself, consider yourself tagged. I'll even loan you my comments section, if you want it (if, for instance, six nascent revelations are threatening combustion but you don't have your own writing space).


Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

Okay, I'm game -- so here goes.

(1) I alphabetize all my books by author. Within each authorial grouping, works are organized by original date of publication --except for posthumously assembled collections, which are arranged alphabetically at the end of each authorial grouping. The main stacks (as I like to call them) contain all literature published through 1941 (the year in which Virginia Woolf died). Separate shelving areas contain literature and popular fiction written since 1941, literary criticism, and anthologies and teaching materials. I am singularly incapable of tolerating misshelved books; if you touch my books, there's a good chance I'll set about restoring them to proper order after you leave.

(2) I love airports (see Dr. S's post on the strangeness of airport time), but I find airplanes especially fascinating. If you have time, I will gladly explain to you what distinguishes a Boeing 737-200 from a Boeing 737-400 (size & form of engine), tell you how to spot a plane in the Airbus A320 family (look for the distinctive wingtip fences of the A318, A319, A320, and A321), or point out how the diameter of the Boeing 777's engines are actually WIDER than the fuselage of a 737. Weirdly, I have absolutely no interest in military planes or private jets -- perhaps because I stand little chance of ever actually flying in one.

(3) I loathe Gwyneth Paltrow, her affected but indubitably substandard English accent, and her onomastic self-indulgence ALMOST as much as I hate eyeballs, which are clearly disgusting.

(4) I used to suffer from nearly disabling social anxiety disorder. Going out in public, traveling, teaching, seeing friends, eating at other people's houses and in restaurants, going to movies -- in other words, anything which constituted a break from routine -- would trigger anticipatory panic, nausea, and general misery. But once out of the house, on the plane, in the classroom, at the restaurant, etc., I would eventually relax and be fine.

(5) I prefer really bad Mel Brooks movies (e.g. Spaceballs) to really good Mel Brooks movies (e.g. Young Frankenstein). I have no good explanation for this.

(6) I live to engage in Savings. By Savings, I do not mean using a 25 cent off coupon on a 6 pack of Bounty paper towels which aren't even on sale. By Savings, I mean using a $1.00 off coupon on a Colgate toothbrush that has been reduced in price to $1.99 AND has a $1.99 mail-in rebate offer on it. If I can compel a store to pay me to remove merchandise from their store -- all perfectly above-board, I should note -- then it has been a good day of Savings. It is my sport.

2:44 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger *Bat*Girl* said...

Have I mentioned recently that I love both of you, Dr. S and P-SM? But no quirks about me. . . you'll have to divine those on your own (as if you haven't already).

10:34 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

BatGirl, I owe you (and most of the other people in my life) a long phone call...

10:49 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

oh rats. I was so looking forward to seeing who you would tag, then chasing them all over like a treasure hunt. sadness!

5:31 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Okay, I tag you!

Seriously, I would have tagged you, Dag, Nick, 4"oE, ModFab, and Par3182 (because it's six things, after all), but I felt shy about tagging anyone at all, probably because I don't do much demanding (I think) on this blog.

5:46 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger amanda said...

As I suspected, you made this little assignment sing. I love your feelings about public transportation, as that's a huge one for me. I remember how much pride I felt after mastering Bangkok's complicated bus system--it was way more satisfying than many more noteworthy accomplishments.

11:42 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

I started on doing this last night, sitting on a bench in Tompkins Square Park in the blue hour, looking up to see new stars emerge over the dog run. And today I can't find the notebook. So, we have a delay due to technical difficulties...

12:34 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

OMG! the word verification is dykxie! I can't pass it up!

4:50 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

ok, here goes:

1) The alpha and omega of my personality might be my finger puppet collection and my crack vial collection.

2) I like to read building permits. I will climb up on people’s stoops or enter construction sites to do this. I once terrified the contractors on a huge project by asking that they show me their permits, in compliance with the regulations that mandate their public display.

3) My southern accent was so thick even into my twenties that I pronounced ford, forward and forehead all the same: foooh-uuuurd. If I didn’t understand you, I used to say: do whuuuuuuut? That had to be beaten out of me with a stick.

4) Those dreams you have where the bell has rung and you’re standing in the hallway of your high school and you don’t know which class to go to and you are naked? I have those dreams sometimes. And I’m always like, cool! Everyone will be so freaked out and uncomfortable, but not me!

5) I desire books. Particularly art books, big glossy ones. I don’t necessarily want to read them, I mostly want to possess them. Possess their potential, their world, their knowledge, know that I can access it when I want.

6) I have a nearly invisible mole on the underside of my nose. I fretted over it when I was a kid, and my mother told me not to worry, that boys would kiss it when I grew up. Boys have only kissed it after I tell them this.

8:50 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

ttractor: A good list! But given #3, I must ask if you ever used (or still use) my favorite southern expression -- "might could" (as in, "I might could go to the store")?

11:30 PM, April 19, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

PS Man, oh god yes I "might could"! Not anymore, so much, but that's a whole nuther thing.

7:33 AM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger four inches of ego said...

Okay... I accept the tag... but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I am done writing for the evening and must move on to reading. So much to catch up on after a week away from home.

6:31 PM, April 21, 2006  

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