Wednesday, August 27th 2003

And a couple more I just thought of…
posted @ 8:12 pm in [ ]
There are two things about interpersonal relationships I both suck at and can’t stand:

64. Drama.
I hate it. I don’t need it, I don’t want it, and I don’t want to get caught in someone else’s desires for drama. Oh, but I have a flamboyant personality you say, and I like attention. No no, when I make loud jokes or do something silly to get attention, that’s comedy.

65. Talking about my feelings.
Really, must I? Can’t I just keep them bottled up like a civilized person? It’ll pass, just leave it alone. This is another way in which I seem to relate a lot better to my male friends than my female ones. Other women seem to delight in exploring and expressing a full range of emotional stuff, but I would really rather not. Depending on your perspective, this may be another case in which I’m “as bad as a man,” like when I won’t ask for directions.

Speaking of which, I have a story to convey about that. When I was in Vienna in February with my friend Stuart, we looked high and low for the Albertina, the big heavy art museum. We couldn’t find it, in part because it was covered with a gigantic drop cloth, and in part because we couldn’t see the sign featuring Munch’s “The Scream” announcing that it was closed for renovation because it was 50 feet directly over our heads and not visible from our vantage point. In any case, to pass the time during our long search, I told him about how I’m apparently “as bad as a man” when it comes to asking for directions, and he caved and asked for directions before I would. Therefore, I am no longer as bad as a man, I’m WORSE than a man, an observation that kept me laughing hysterically (much to Stuart’s mild irritation) for about 10 minutes. Then we discovered a Starbuck’s on the Albertinaplatz and were sufficiently horrified to stop laughing.

Saturday, August 23rd 2003

And a few more…
posted @ 10:26 am in [ ]
61. Finding girl shoes.
With my big ol’ wide feet, I usually just wear men’s shoes, which last longer and are often better made anyway. Still, I can’t help but feel a little left out when shoe stores have gigantic sales and women with “normal” feet can stock up on really cute shoes. I’m sure if I had feet that were within acceptable parameters for shoe manufacturers, I’d have a million pairs. As it is, my girl shoes are usually European, which are cut wider but are a lot more expensive and usually somewhat frumpy. Recently, though, I found a few cool pairs in a rather mainstream discount store. I’ve never come home with so many shoes in my life.

62. Solving problems without a spatial map.
With my terminally spatial brain, often the only way I can sort out a problem (especially a logistical one) is to put in on a grid and sketch it out. I can’t just talk through it or imagine how it would work.

63. Expressing affection in a grown-up way.
This is really very juvenile, but I frequently resort to teasing to express my affection. In some ways, I think it’s sort of flattering: you have to know someone well in order to be able to tease them about something that’s funny about them, and it can certainly be done in a way that’s not mean. But here’s a revelation: I use teasing most when I’m attracted to someone but don’t feel like I can express that attraction openly. Worse, that’s when the teasing is at its most intense (which is to say, somewhat merciless). I know, it’s like I’m stuck in junior high school.

Saturday, August 23rd 2003

posted @ 8:45 am in [ ]
You know what I haven’t mentioned in MONTHS? Things I suck at! I’ll never get to 100 at this rate…

55. Auditory or visual learning.
Whatever it is, it doesn’t sink in until I can interact with it with my own hands and get a feel for how it works. It might look like I’m fearlessly jumping into whatever task I’m supposed to be taking care of, but really I’m just memorizing the instructions–which make absolutely no sense to me yet–until I can put my hands on the task at hand.

56. Selecting suitable meat.
Not having eaten meat during the time I’ve been shopping for myself, I have no idea how to pick out a reasonable cut of meat. I do eat the occasional piece of fish, and I can kind of go by what looks appetizing there, but I half expect the meat case in the supermarket to contain things like hands and feet–it all looks sort of bloody and horrible to me–nothing’s remotely appetizing. So I have no formal training and no instincts to fall back on. However, the prospect of spending a bunch of time learning about meat is just too yucky for words. I intend to just keep guessing.

57. Concealing my competitive streak during sporting events.
When we’re talking about ideas or success or love, or any of those other important things in life, I’m actually quite supportive of others and not competitive at all. I’ve even directly refused to compete for various positions and accolades with friends and colleagues. However, on some level, I have always thought of my participation in athletics as an outlet for aggressive behavior, and do I ever maximize it! For example, I played softball at school a few years ago, and being a good hitter but not very fast, I generally whack the ball as hard as I possibly can (often after waving the other team’s fielders in a little bit because after all I’m only a girl–how far over their heads could possibly I hit? Heh-heh-heh) and then as I’m barreling toward first base like a freight train, I make as much noise as possible and look as if I’m about to run over the first baseman, which I have been known to do with pleasure when he has gotten between me and the bag. He almost always gets rattled, and I frequently get a double or even a triple out of the deal. Even when I’m not playing, I’ve been known to heckle the other team. The funny thing is, I often don’t even care if I lose. It’s more like a therapeutic process (for me–NOT for the other team!).

58. Letting go when I know I’m right about something I think is important.
I suppose this is loosely related to the above, and also loosely related to my aversion to tolerating injustice. As a researcher, this sort of tenaciousness has served me well, but pushing the argument until I win is not always an attractive thing, even when I am right. At least it’s rarely about something trivial–I’ll usually cave or agree to disagree for those just to maintain civil relations.

59. Controlling others’ impressions of my personality.
I don’t quite know how to express this. I’ve known for several years that many people I meet are somewhat intimidated by me, sometimes even downright frightened, but I don’t know why and I can’t figure out how to fix it. I try to be funny, put others at ease, be complimentary, charming, polite, etc., but these things don’t always work. In some cases, I think it’s in my best interest to have certain people keep their distance and I don’t attempt to change their perception, but frequently, I work for months or even years to seem more benign, to little effect. It recently occurred to me that some people seem to have a hard time separating my personality from my character, and that that could be part of the problem. Beyond that, though, I have no insight as to how to keep people from being freaked out by me. I would almost always rather they weren’t.

60. Tanning.
As last fall’s treatise about redheads attests, I don’t have enough melanin to keep from getting char broiled, even with brief exposure to the sun. Going to the beach before 3:00 p.m. without being encased in canvas might as well involve A-1 Steak Sauce rather than sunscreen.

Wednesday, August 20th 2003

My scandalous tuxedo shirt
posted @ 8:24 pm in [ - ]
I have a white tuxedo shirt that I sometimes wear over tank tops and the like during the summer. It’s lightweight and comfortable, and the detailing on it is nice: that flat, close-ridged front concealing the first few buttons. It seems pretty straight-laced, even when I roll up the sleeves and wear it open, but it’s really quite scandalous, and I’ll tell you why: I have no idea where I got it. Now, I have never bought a tuxedo shirt, so clearly it came off a man whose tuxedo shirt I removed or at least borrowed (and subsequently kept). It’s not my husband’s size, though, so it seems to have come from a former lover. The thing is, I have no idea which one or quite how long I’ve had it, so I can’t even hazard a guess as to whose it might have been.

This of course leads me to mull over the lovers I’ve had, what their shirt sizes might have been, and who among them might have owned a tuxedo, or at least a formal shirt (however rendered quite informal by me). And this is the really scandalous part: Nobody springs to mind. Apparently, somewhere along the way I slept with someone who was memorable enough for me to take his clothing, but not enough that I now remember who the hell he was based on that clothing. How terrible is that?

Furthermore, it brings up an interesting mental image: I am wearing the shirt and I just happen to bump into the guy. Will I even know him if I see him? Would he say, “Hey, that’s my shirt!”? I wouldn’t think so if he let me take it (I certainly wouldn’t have taken it without his permission) and has been without it all these years, but maybe he was kind of a jerk about those things and that’s why I stopped seeing him. Who can say?

What a checkered past I must have. Too bad I can’t remember more of it.