I’ve been tagged in an internet meme-ME thing, by the magical Susan Goldberg, aka Mama Non Grata, and so I am to tell you Five Random Facts About Me.
If you know me at all, you know one of my absolute FAVORITE things to talk about is myself. I am a person who examines every inch of myself and my life in a way that makes one of my best friends from college say, “Wow, you really have a lot going on in there. Don’t you get tired? I get tired listening to you.”
In a good way, I assume.
That’s why I think it’s oddly hilarious that I have been challenged to come up with Five Random Facts About Me. I can’t decide if it’s because I’ve already told the Internets and the world so much about myself that there’s nothing left to share, or that, really, I’m not that interesting and don’t have uniquely memorable details to the whole kit and caboodle that is me.
Hmm… ::cue contemplative gaze::
But I’m going to whip some off, off the top of my head. So, without further ado:
1) I have a deep-rooted connection with diesel trains, cargo ships and 18-wheelers.
I have spent a bit of time cogitating on this utterly romantic association, and yet, I can’t quite feel its roots. All I know is that the long lowing of a train in the night gives me goosebumps. That I love standing as close as I can to the train tracks as the huge diesel engines shoot by, and count the clackety-clacks of all the cargo cars, well past a hundred. That in Texas once I stood in the hot sun and watched a big train stop and the driver climb down after tossing his duffel bag first, and then another drive load himself up, and that I was so happy to catch that exchange it still stands crisp in my mind as if yesterday. That the day I saw a gigantic ocean liner make its way up the Bosphorus and disappear into the massive stretch of the Black Sea gave me vertigo in a way I treasured, the world at last visible in a glance, as I was hundreds of feet above sea level and the ship looked like a water bug being swallowed by infinity. That both my brothers have their CDLs (commercial drivers’ license) and I am jealous, and am always scheming about when the right moment in life will be for me to drive a massive 18-wheeler across the country on the loneliest, longest roads, at night, for pay. My father loved trains, but it’s more than that, and it was born in me. It defines something important about solitude and strength and the pathways that are laid for us to follow, and yet also at the same time, about our incredible fragility and minuteness in the scale of this world.
2) Dragonflies follow me around in my life, in ways that far pass chance.
The list of intense and memorable experiences I’ve had with dragonflies starts with my mother: the jewelry we loved and collected and gave to each other, pins and earrings and scarves and more. Then, later, dragonflies followed me, flew in patterns around me when I was with a lover who was teaching me to know myself, tapped on a friend’s window as I wept to her over the telephone and told her my pain, showed up in dozens and maybe hundreds in a field too late in fall when I was feeling my mother nearby after she was gone. I don’t know what it means—except that dragonflies represent living in two worlds, and moving from one to the other, choosing neither—but that I always pay attention when I see one, listen harder, hold my breath, wait for the memo that will surely follow…
3) I have two brothers; they are everything.
For some reason, I pass as an only child. Which I don’t totally understand. Yes, I’m driven. Confident. Attention-Seeking. Does that usually come with only children? But my brothers are such a deeply ingrained part of my identity and my sense of understanding myself, I can’t believe they aren’t automatically visible, two little men hanging out on either shoulder. (And yes, one’s an angel and one’s a devil—though neither in a simplistic way; they are much more complex and human than that.) I am at peace in the company of women now, after many years of struggling to find my way when I was a teenager and older. Because I grew up in the language of brothers—pride, love understood, unquestioned—and that will always be my native tongue.
4) I only very recently realized how much I like to be alone.
I am almost pathologically driven to engage, as any of you who have met me can surely attest. I absorb people, drawing them into me. I always think of the French word avaler, which means ‘to swallow,’ but the open-throatedness of the French word is how I consume and take in the people I’m meeting, talking with: ah-va-lay. In greedy gulps. So imagine my utter surprise to learn, at the age of 45, that I can be by myself for days and be completely satisfied with myself. I had no idea that lurking within this extrovert, this people person, this incessant talker and sharer and doer, was a quiet, content person, happy to be milling about with no company at all but the trees.
5) I like to eat anything red-hot cinnamon in quantity, until my mouth throbs, even though I think food coloring is immoral.
Not much else to say here for this one, except admit that it’s true. Oh, cinnamon hearts, I love you so. And Sizzling Cinnamon (TM) Jelly Bellies (R). And Big Red chewing gum. And Marvis cinnamon toothpaste. And when I get on the fire kick, I can eat an entire bag of whatever, even as I get a stomach ache, because that hot, sweet fiery, red sensation in my mouth is a drug I can’t resist.
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Because I’m late to this meme—a lot going on in my life at this moment, which I will get to soon enough—I am sure the people I tap will have already participated, but I’m going to try anyway.
Have you shared this yet, Alexandra, Rita, Rita, Debra? Please do. (Lindsey, I think I saw yours already?) And link me when you do.