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31 January 2002

Someone's been watching "Live from the Actors' Studio" on Bravo. After having taken my personal quiz, Steve sent me another one he'd taken. I recognized it right off as the Bernard Pivot Questionnaire James Lipton gives each guest at the end of the program. The answers have always been a lot of fun, and in many instances surprising. I've been thinking of taking that quiz myself. The idea is to say the first thing that comes into your head here, so I'll answer first and then analyze my answers:

What is your favorite word? friendship

What is your least favorite word? good bye

What turns you on? an exciting new project

What turns you off? voice mail

What is your favorite noise? rain on a roof

What is your least favorite noise? the sound of a car crashing

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Writer

What profession would you not like to attempt? deodorant tester

What is your favorite swear word? fuck

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you walk in? "Come on in, the kids have been waiting for you."

* Interesting psychological experiment. I was surprised that "friendship" came up as my immediate answer. Obviously my friends are very important to me. It's surprising how compartmentalized one's friendships become over the years. There are the "school friends," the "work friends," the "raising kids friends," the "foreign student friends," and now the "Internet friends." While I've lost too many along the way, I am blessed that so many of them remain in my life.

* Unfortunately, along with loving the friends in one's life comes the inevitable moment when you have to say "goodbye." Whether it's a final goodbye that comes with an unexpected death, or whether it's the end of time spent together, not knowing if there will ever be another opportunity to see each other, goodbyes are painful and I hate having to say them. The wonder of friendships is when you are able to reunite and rekindle those sparks of friendship again. I remember, for example, when our very first foreign student, Eduardo (from Brasil) returned in 1986 for a visit. It had been many years since we'd seen each other, but the years melted away and it was as if he had just gone out for a pack of cigarettes. Those moments are special and I have been blessed to have them more than once in my life. It eases the pain of "goodbye."

* As for turn-ons, when I get involved in a new project--like the slide shows I was making so obsessively for awhile (until I ran out of photos to put into shows), or starting this new eating/exercise regime, it gets all my nerve endings tingling. I can't seem to do things by halves.

* Since I am now in the position of calling medical insurance companies every day again, I am ready to throw the bloody phone at the wall if I hear another voice mail message telling me that all operators are busy assisting other callers and to please stay on the line.

* And what can I say about rain on the roof. I don't know why rain is so comforting to me. Every time I think of how "cozy" I feel when it rains, my mind immediately transports me back to a time when I was in high school. It was raining very hard and I was sitting in the bay window of our flat listening to the rain beating on the windows, and watching the water run down the hill on which we lived, forming small rivers in the gutters and causing major problems for tourists trying to drive up the steep hill. For some reason that memory makes me feel very warm and cozy and safe.

* After David's death, the sound of crashing cars does terrible things to me. It's the sound I hate most. Probably more than fingernails on a blackboard.

* While I spend most of my life writing things, I don't consider myself a "writer."  I would love to have the talent and the discipline to make a living from writing.

* I once saw an article about some guys whose job it is to smell the underarms of people who have tried various deodorants, in order to test the deodorant's effectiveness.   I can't think of anything I'd like to do less!

* Interesting about my favorite swear word, and its evolution in my life. I remember vividly my first direct encounter with that word. I was in third grade and was walking to school and stopped to pick up my friend Georgette, who always walked with me. New cement had been installed in the alley near her home recently and in the wet cement, someone had written "fuck." I still remember so clearly that seeing that word made me sick to my stomach. Almost to the point of vomiting. I have absolutely no idea why I reacted that way. Obviously I'd encountered the word before, but I have no memory of where or when. Then there were the years when hearing it made me very uncomfortable and perhaps a little naughty to be listening. But it's funny how usage is everything, familiarity removes a lot of hang-ups and the liberal use of that word...everywhere these days has removed its punch for me. I'm still careful not to use it around people who would be offended, but it doesn't bother me any more--and if I stub my toe, that is probably the word that I will utter.

* And I think the final question is pretty self-explanatory. I am expecting a welcoming committee when I arrive, its numbers growing slowly over the years. There are a lot of people I'm really looking forward to seeing again. And of course the first thing I'll say to the kids, after I hug them and tell them how much I love them, and how much I've missed them, is to tell them that they're grounded for all eternity for all the hell they've put us all through.


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