I was tagged by Shtuey to provide info on myself. Six random things, tag other bloggers to do the same, I’m sure you know the drill. So, as in The Alan Parson’s Project song, “let’s talk about me for a minute.” (Those of you familiar with that song are now humming it and cursing me. You’re welcome!)
1. When I was little, I sucked my thumb and had a blanket just like Linus. Except that I only sucked my thumb at night, and never in public. I didn’t give it up until I was 8 years old. I decided on my own to do so, probably because I knew by then that it was weird.
2. My most embarrassing moment occurred in the 6th grade. Back in the 5th grade I started a years-long crush on a boy I will call Isaac. (This was the code name for him that my friends and I came up with in high school. If you know my real name, you might understand why.) He and I were technically a couple at one point: he asked me to “go” with him via written note left in locker (early ’80s texting!), and I responded affirmatively using the same medium. This mode of communication continued, and the notes were often delivered by a messenger whom I will call Brenda.
Isaac and I didn’t “go” for very long, so maybe we’d already “broken up” by this point (not by my choice–this was my first in a series of being dumped) but somewhere around this time Brenda decided she liked Isaac too. Geniuses that we were, we decided to send Isaac a note explaining that we both liked him; I guess he was supposed to choose between us. We sent the note, and waited to see what would happen. During those few minutes before class was to start after lunch, I suddenly realized that the typical din in the classroom was quieting down and giving way to a single voice: I was hearing the note being read aloud. I willed a hole to open up in the floor beneath my desk (why doesn’t that ever work?). The reading finished, and there was dead silence. The teacher took the note from the reader and said, in her Israeli accent, “at least you picked a good-looking one.”
3. Hello my name is 12 Tequilas and I am a people pleaser. You couldn’t hear that? Sorry. I don’t like to say it out loud. My mother tells everyone how “nice” I am. “Almost too nice!” she tells me. Then a friend of mine gives me a book about someone who reminded her of me, because she always did for everyone else. Now, I have to clarify. I am not chocolate syrup sweet. I rage at stupid drivers. I get very annoyed at folks who stop at the top or bottom of escalators. I yell at my kids (I mean, I speak in a firm tone). I don’t consider myself a super great friend all the time; I even forget birthdays (though not so much anymore with electronic reminding). And, I am not a doormat. But I do take pains to make everyone around me happy if I can do so.
As an example, suppose you and I are going out to dinner. I might have a craving for Tex-Mex, Thai, or Greek food, and if so, I’ll mention it, but generally speaking, I’ll be perfectly happy to go to the place you pick. Really–I’m not just trying to make you think I’m happy with it so that you’ll be my friend forever, I am truly happy making you happy. Contrast this with someone who tries to get you to tell her what will make you happy, but who actually has her own agenda in mind, and will, in fact, be miserable going to your choice. That’s a phony people pleaser, or, if you will, a Phleaser; Pleasers and Phleasers can clash horribly.
I thought for a while that I should combat this. That there was something wrong with it. There have been issues in the past, like somehow I ended up driving the oldest and sickest cast-off cars in comparison to my sisters. It’s a good thing I’m gorgeous, so that guys would stop to help me out all those times I broke down (in all seriousness, I was very lucky that only good people stopped, no one with evil intent, and that it never happened at night…then G-d sent us cell phones, hallelujah). But suffering with crap cars paid off: eventually, my parents saw the inequitude and I ended up with a new car on my 25th birthday, courtesy of some money they’d been saving (for my wedding, I think).
I had one really odd Mother’s Day, when my sisters made plans to have my mother over for brunch and then to go see a chick flick. I really wanted to spend the day with the kids to whom I am a mother. So I split between the two, joining my mom & sibs only for the movie. The hubs gave me grief about it (hi, honey 🙂 ) and I’m not sure anyone turned out happy. Now I celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May with my kids, and celebrate it some other time with my original family. Is everybody happy? I hope so!
I’ve stopped trying to fight it. I look at it like: we all aim to please, I’m just better at it. Or something.
4. Ever since the first time I was in one, I have thought that airports are really cool. All those people going to all those interesting places, every single day. I still like to pretend that everyone in the airport is as excited to travel as I am, even though I know some of those people fly every week and it’s nothing special, and some hate flying and are annoyed at having to wait. These days airports are even cooler than they used to be, with interesting places to eat and shop, those awesome moving sidewalks, and even places to get massages or work out. I even like the actual airplane part. The last time I flew (to Fort Lauderdale to attend a conference in Boca Raton [yeah, that sucked!]) I was listening to a particular album on the ol’ iPod, and since then, if I listen to it again, I think of flying, and smile.
Every morning and evening, my train emerges from its tunnel to cross over the Potomac River between Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Va. From this bridge you can see monuments and various other historic landmarks, and the view can be breathtaking in the sun, but I always turn my gaze toward the towers and lights of National Airport, trying to catch sight of a plane landing or taking off. I nearly always do. I keep watching until the train dives below ground again.
5. One of the very first people I met on my first day at this job was Hank Azaria (not his real name, people, pay attention). He was in the cubicle adjacent to mine. Some months (years?) later we were talking about personality types and Hank called me an extrovert, which surprised me. I’ve been called shy, quiet, and timid, and although I’ve never found those characterizations to be apt, I’d never been called an extrovert before. Hank said that on that first day I told him my entire life story five minutes after meeting him. I think I was bubbly and excited about the new job, and I sized Hank up as a friendly person right away, so I proceeded with no hint of shyness. I thought about this and realized that if I am comfortable in a given situation, I can be bold and extroverted, but the opposite is equally likely in less ideal circumstances. I’m sure this applies to many people, but I think that with me, there’s a vast continuum between my two extremes. So, I’m trying to come up with a new word to describe me, and so far I have two possibilities: “ambivert” and “omnivert.” What do you think?
UPDATE: It occurred to me that perhaps I ought to consult a dictionary, and make sure that I really did make those words up. It turns out that someone actually thought of “ambiversion” before me. It means “a condition or character trait that includes elements of both introversion and extroversion.” (Webster’s 1991) Someone with this “condition” would be an ambivert. Although “omnivert” and “omniversion” are apparently not words, Wiktionary.org defines “omniverse” as “A number of supposedly coexisting universes.” Personally, I think both words still apply to me in some fashion (of course, I would think that).
6. There is one situation in which I tend to be pretty darn shy. I become a complete dork whenever I’m in the vacinity of someone famous, particularly someone I truly admire. When I was in college, I produced rock concerts, and although our budget was small, I would come nose to nose with some names. And in that context, I was a professional, walking around with my clipboard and introducing myself as the lady in charge (no, I didn’t say, “I’m the lady in charge,” but I would give myself an impressive title), giving firm handshakes and representing my university well. But if I went to a concert, unrelated to school duties, and had a chance for an autograph, forget it–I’d go into groupie mode. Knees turning to jelly, giggles, the whole nine.
Not long ago I was attending a show at one of those SRO clubs. This one had bar seats on the top balcony, and I wanted one of those, because I’m old and don’t like to stand for 3 hours. In order to be sure I’d land in the top balcony, I got in line at the club doors very early. So there I was when the performer I’d come to see walked out of the front door of the club to head down the street for the “meet & greet” (which I was skipping to hold on to my place in line!). I watched him leave the club along with his tour manager, and walk down the street. I opened my mouth to say something (probably something along the lines of, “look at me! I’m first in line for your show!”) but no words came out. I am in my late 30s. And still with the jelly knees.
I should say that I do actually go and talk to the celebs if the opportunity arises. I know I would kick myself later if I was too frozen to do that. Sometimes they are so friendly and normal that I lose the tremulous squeaky voice. I’ve even done a few interviews. But deep down I’m still doing the Wayne’s World “I’m not worthy” bit. I suppose it’s the ultimate in omnivertedness. Or ambivertedness. Or ….
There be your six.
Tagging is a problem because I don’t know all that many bloggers personally. I’m just going to go wake up the other contributors to this here blog and see if they’ll bite.
Let’s go Linda, Mark, KidDoc, Denis, and Native Texan. Yer up.