FREE ASSOCIATION (or
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.