The singular and the strange

Yesterday I wrote about the ways in which the universe, in all of its grandiose, extravagant meaning, is often best glimpsed in the tiniest details.  And then, in one of those coincidences-that-aren’t, I read Amy Palko’s fabulous post about “all those tiny details that create an individual.”  I love the way we can glimpse, in the tiniest, most specific things, the whole of who she is.  And isn’t this the only way, actually, to see who someone else is?  The details of their lives – choices, actions, preferences – are the window through which we can glimpse their spirit.  It’s there that we see the hidden geode glittering.

Inspired by Amy’s post, I wanted to share some of the tiny things that exist in the enormous pile of details that make up me.  I would love to hear yours.

  • I can’t drive a stick shift car.  I wish I could, and I’m embarrassed that I can’t.  In a correlated detail, when I was learning to drive I almost pitched our old Jeep directly into the ocean.  Perhaps also correlated: my parents insist that their vehicles be manual, so I can’t drive either of their cars.
  • I’m born in the Chinese year of the Tiger and I’m a Leo.  Despite these associations, I don’t really like cats.
  • I was born 3 weeks early.  I’ve been in a hurry ever since.
  • One day as a child living in Paris, I woke up to snow and shouted, “Mummy!  Mummy!  Il neige!”  To this day I still call my mother and say that most days that it snows.
  • I have 3 pairs of neon running socks that I love and wear almost exclusively.
  • I drink my coffee with rice milk and agave in it.  I haven’t been to Starbucks since July and I don’t miss it one single bit.  I have usually made and set the coffeemaker for the next morning by 5pm the day before.
  • When we lived in London I had such a British accent that often people didn’t know I was American.
  • My son and my sister have the same middle name; he is named after her.
  • My father and my husband are both Geminis, second-born twins, and MIT graduates.
  • I have to have a fan blowing directly on me to sleep.  And a pitch-dark room.  Being a better sleeper is on the very short list of things I would change about myself if I could.
  • When I was 14, in London, I played a fairy on a short-lived TV series called East of the Moon.
  • I am a committed and unshakeable devotee of the Oxford comma.

 Please, please share some of the details – at once minute and essential – of yourself with me!

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  1. Posted January 24, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Fascinating! One of my dreams is to someday, while my children are young, live in Great Britain long enough for them to really absorb the culture, right down to picking up the accent.

    A couple little things about me? I love to bake bread, not only because it is an excellent workout for my arm muscles, but because it connects me to my mother and grandmother – some of my favorite childhood memories are watching one or the other of them kneading bread in the kitchen.

    Also, I take myself outside because I know it is healthy and needed, but I would really be perfectly happy to spend 95% of my time indoors. Preferably curled up in a comfy chair with a good book.

  2. Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Ooo! Ooo! How delightful, the invitation to think about oneself in the smallest, most curious way (instead of doing it in a judgmental way). Thank you for interrupting my work this morning, so I can tell you a few minute, but oh-so-central, things about me:
    1) I have a romantic attachment to 18-wheelers, ocean liners and long double-engine diesel trains that snake their way across the American landscape. I instantly get wistful when I see one at a distance, something about the lonely giant and its claim on solitude and independence. When I was in Turkey standing high up on a cliffside castle I wept at seeing the oceanliners head from the Bosphorus Strait out to the yawning Black Sea beyond. The world has never felt so impossibly large.
    2) I once guest-appeared on Celebrity Apprentice (as a judge), but I forgot to save a copy of it.
    3) I am a natural blonde, and I dyed my hair henna-red for more than 10 years. Which people find really strange, for some reason.
    4) I like to go to Great Adventure every few years with friends and ride every single roller coaster in the park, which takes all day.
    5) Even though I am an open book, and will share almost any detail of my life quickly and easily, I am an excellent secret-keeper.
    6) I wrecked my parents’ station wagon when I was 15 and didn’t have a license.
    7) I can (and do) make birthday cakes that look like they were made by a pro: a beetle, a tractor, a robot, a construction site, baby blocks, and Thomas the tank engine have all made an appearance for my son’s birthdays.
    8) I have a sixth sense for reading people’s emotional wounds, instantly upon meeting them. For reasons I will never understand, this is how I greet the world.

  3. Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing. I love your list!

  4. Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Some details we share:

    1. I am also a Year of the Dragon (but an Aries). I loved cats growing up but not so much now. I’ve become a dog person.
    2. I cannot drive a stick shift either. It doesn’t bother me until I worry about the end of the world or some random emergency and for some reason there is only a stick shift car to save us. I hope I could figure it out?
    3. I was born 3 weeks late. And am always late.
    4. I also need pitch black and a fan on, no matter the weather.
    5. I don’t understand how people DON’T need an Oxford Comma. It just makes so much sense.

    A few others:
    1. I give colors and numbers gender and personalities.
    2. I cannot stand to not have my legs shaved when I sleep.
    3. I can remember every actor on every TV show or movie I’ve ever seen and have random useless trivial recall regarding tv and movies.
    4. My baby to be is scheduled to be a Gemini and it scares me. The only Gemini I know was my craziest friend in high school. It makes me feel better that you know some good Gemini’s.
    5. I didn’t eat cold cheese or tomatoes or chicken until I lived in Paris for a semester in college. Then I ate all of those things (and more) and gained like 15 lbs.
    6. I don’t like apples. People find this strange. Though I am eating them this pregnancy.
    7. I am missing two of my top teeth- the eye teeth. I never had them even as baby teeth. My father and grandmother don’t have them either. My mother was properly horrified when she found out.
    8. I am named after a song that Clint Eastwood sings in a movie called “Paint Your Wagon”. Except it was spelled “Elisa”.
    9. I was once on TV during the Billboard Music Awards. I was in the audience dancing to “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men. I remember I was wearing my Betsy Johnson pin striped bustier and vintage Levi’s and Easy E was sitting right in front of me.
    10. Every day I am surprised that I have a child.

    Thanks Lindsey, this was fun!

  5. Posted January 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I love this, Lindsey. And thanks for sharing Amy’s post. And for the invitation to share.

    1) when I was 2 or 3, we were staying in my Great Uncle’s house in Watertown, New York, and I asked my dad, where are they? He said on their island. Are they ducks, I responded, thinking of Make Way for Ducklings. Always making connections with what I read and what’s read to me

    2) Love zinnias . And irises . And sunflowers.

    3) can find a book misplaced in the library shelves but can’t find the butter in the refrigerator

  6. Posted January 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Love your list. You have so many little fascinating synchronicities about your life. Very cool!

  7. Posted January 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    1) Only my mother and I know how many times I took the test to get my driver’s license. (And I was only 20 years old.)
    2) I was bilingual for a while but then Slovenian took over. When I was six my grandfather playfully grabbed me by my back which was sun burnt, and I started screaming in English.
    3)My girls have the same names as the dolls I played with when I was little. I only realized that after a while.
    4)I’m good at starting the communication with complete strangers but have problems making friends.

2 Trackbacks

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