July 26, 2002

about me

After reading an old entry of Kiwi
, I started thinking about how I'd describe myself in ways that
actually meant something. Anyone who'd read much of this diary knows I am small
and smart, that I am more verbally than visually oriented, and that I like to row
and fly and travel. All of those things have strongly influenced me, but none of
them really get to the core of who I am. (Except maybe the "verbal" one. Words are
crucial to me.)

In some ways I am old-fashioned, but not in the sense
generally meant. I think most people who use that phrase hark back to either the
1950s or the Victorian era, two periods I would not have wanted to live in.
Possibly as a result of my schooling in Philadelphia and the resultant emphasis on
the American Revolutionary period, I would be far more at home in the Age of
Reason. I am not by nature either a specialist or a postmodernist; the appeal of
the former and the jargon of the latter just confuse me. I am not particularly up
on pop culture, but do have a level of traditional cultural literacy greater than
most of the people I meet. (Translation: I know my Bible reasonably well and have
at least heard of most of the English and American works of great literature.) I
wouldn't be considered literate by an educated man of that period as I don't know
Greek, Latin, or most of the great authors in either language. On the other hand,
Thos. Jefferson couldn't drive a car or program a computer, so I don't feel my
shortcomings as a crippling blow to my sense of self worth.

I am a
bit of an elitist, and have no problems with the idea of judging humans, but I do
so on their behavior and refuse to believe anyone should be considered lesser due
to gender, age, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or appearance (including
physical disabilities); in this I'm not old-fashioned at all. I find more
enjoyment speaking to people of average intelligence who make use of their brains
cells for more than stopping the flow of wind from ear to ear than to more
naturally gifted people who accept everything they're told and who are too lazy to
use logic.

I like attention and the surest way to piss me off is to
ignore me. I'm not afraid to look like a fool, though it would be nice to do so a
little less often. There are some other things I am afraid of, but I refuse to let
them stop me from doing something, if I think I would enjoy it or if it's the
honorable thing to do. That's led me to do everything from skydiving to leaving a
note on the windshield of a car I'd scraped. (I was 22, with a brand-new driver's
license, and didn't have my own insurance because I was about to move out of
state. I didn't want it to go on my parents' insurance -- it was their car -- for
fear of sending up their rates. I still have the note the guy sent me in pleased
shock, after I'd sent him the check to get his car fixed.)

I have a
sense of integrity that I try to live up to, and a sense of humor more than
slightly on the raunchy side. I have little body modesty and no compunctions about
talking about sex, but only in the abstract. I do have enough desire for privacy
that I rarely talk more than obliquely about actually having any.

used to like summer, but probably mostly because of school vacation. I don't like
it now I live in a climate with too damned much of it. I do enjoy all four seasons
in moderation, but I'm more of a winter person, in predilection as well as in
coloring. I like sweaters and soups and chili and hearth fires, sleeping in a cool
room and snuggling, and being indoors watching a storm outside. I like wind and I
like snow. (Except driving in it!) Of the four ancient elements I am emphatically
a water person.

I don't consider reading a hobby; it's just what I do
when I'm awake. I used to read mostly F&SF and children's literature (especially
fantasy) but now I probably read more mystery than SF, and more nonfiction than
either. I still read children's books a lot because I think good children's books
touch essential truths in a way that often only great adult books manage. Their
meanings are much less cloaked, and more in tune with my unconvoluted mind.
Learning more, always, is very important to me, but I learn at least as much from
fiction as from nonfiction. I retain more by reading than by listening, but have a
very good memory for lyrics and verses, as well as printed words. There are
several books from which I could probably finish a sentence read from anywhere in
the book, or at least tell which episode it came from. If I didn't have to be
polite to other people, I would sing whenever I was moving. As it is, I mostly
restrict it to my own house and car, and to whistling when walking outside.

People sometimes think I'm smarter or stupider than I am because I
speak up when I don't understand, and sometimes figure things out by talking
through them, instead of figuring and then speaking. People have told me I'm
detail-oriented, but that only holds true with words. Rudder once said if he had
to describe me in a word, it would be "free-spirited". It's one of the nicest
things he's ever said, but I'm not sure I always live up to it. My mother once
wrote me that I'm "more open to new experiences that anyone she's ever met", and I
think that's the truest thing anyone has said of me. (Which may mean I
underestimate her perceptiveness. Hmm.)

My ambition is to live my
whole life, not just half of it. I want to be one of those people who always has
someone home behind their eyes, who is a little larger than life. Who walks alone
when necessary and who leads or follows only when the crowd happens to be going in
the direction she chooses.

The funny thing is, this is probably the
most starkly honest entry I've written, but I'm not sure it will make sense to
anyone but me. There's still more to say -- I would pity a person who could be
fully described in only a few paragraphs -- but I'll stop here, because I'd also
rather not be fully, completely described. I want to believe there's still more
to learn and grow into and discover.

Posted by dichroic at July 26, 2002 04:59 PM
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