Thursday, June 30, 2005

AS A CARD-CARRYING MEMBER of the Kathy Posse, I have been tagged with the latest meme infection.

What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?

  1. Accept a dare to walk down a flight of concrete steps with a paper bag over my head. (Yes, I fell, cut a gash in my forehead, and had to have several stitches. My excuse: I was 10 years old. And stupid.)
  2. Have unprotected sex when the guy didn't want to use a condom. This was more stupid than the first, because I was an adult. I am grateful beyond words to the Higher Power that somehow protected me from the consequences of my actions; I was tested recently (over a year after the last contact) and do not have the HIV virus.
  3. Burn my bridges with a long distance romance when he was feeling overwhelmed by events in his life and cancelled a planned visit. If I had kept the door open instead of slamming it shut, maybe he would have walked back into the room, and he would still be in my life. Instead, he's gone forever and I lost the man I was crazy in love with, and still am.

At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

My therapist. She is more insightful about me than anyone I've ever talked to. It's such a blessed relief to have someone I can share my feelings with the way I can with her; and the icing on the cake is that I can go on and on about how much I hate Bush and his policies, and she never stops me. I can also talk to her about religion and spirituality, and she totally gets it. (She has a master's degree in divinity.) If she were a man, and if she were not my therapist, I would marry her.

If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

  1. My father. He died in 1978, and I miss him so much.
  2. George Eliot. Henry James, a writer I also greatly admire, said of her: "She is magnificently ugly--deliciously this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end as I ended, in falling in love with her." Need I say more?
  3. Henry David Thoreau. He was a man of conscience and his ability to live a solitary, reflective life fascinates me.
  4. James Baldwin. One of the finest writers this country has ever produced. He was a black American and a gay American. He was born and raised in Harlem by his mother in crushing poverty; never knew his father; and struggled with being an outcast on two fronts: skin color, and sexual orientation. Like another black artist whose life overlapped his -- Paul Robeson -- he was driven by the ugliness of American racism to live as an expatriate, in London and Paris. He lived outside of his native country for 10 years; yet he was quintessentially American. His writing is beautiful, sensitive, compassionate, angry, and intelligent. I could spend hours talking to him over dinner.
  5. Thomas Jefferson. The central architect of American democracy and the embodiment of the contradiction at the heart of American democracy. Few historical figures are more central to who we are as a nation.

If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

  1. Loneliness a word people would have to look up in the dictionary to find out what it meant.
  2. A society in which success was measured in individual terms and not in the context of being more powerful, more wealthy, more educated, more anything than anyone else. In other words, a society in which one person's success did not hinge on the failure or misery of others.
  3. To open my eyes and see a rail-thin, 6'8" man, with a Midwestern accent, and the most handsome face I've ever seen, walking toward me. This one is selfish, but there you go. It's got to be one of the three.

Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid:

Two things I regret my city not having:

  1. At least one world-class university and/or research library within a 15-minute drive, without having to go into New York City.
  2. A really good Chinese take-out place.

Two things people should avoid:

  1. The Parkway South at the start of any summer weekend, but especially Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day weekends.
  2. The Parkway North at the end of any summer weekend, but especially, etc.

Name one event that has changed your life.

Having had a child with Tay-Sachs disease, an incurable and always fatal genetic disorder. It's a little spooky how similar this is to Kathy Flake's one event. The difference is, I never had to worry that I had Tay-Sachs, because it's impossible. I wouldn't have lived past the age of five if I had. My first child died when she was three. If there had been no Abigail, there would have been no Maggie, and I can't imagine my life without Maggie. Abigail's death was one of the two most devastating experiences I had in my life (maybe I'll tell the other one at some point in the future); but if she had never existed, neither would Maggie, the greatest joy in my life. Life is very strange.

Tag 5 people:

  1. Nellie at Dancing with Derrida.
  2. Lis Riba.
  3. Katharine at EditorMom.
  4. C.E. Petro, the above-average woman.
  5. Susie Madrak.

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