It's been a busy couple of weeks, and now that it's Saturday morning and I'm sitting down at the computer with a little sliver of time on my hands for the first time in many days, I discover that most of my friends and acquaintances have made good use of the intervening weeks by...um...tagging me with memes right and left.
I'm going to answer them all. Really, I am.
The most recent one comes from Barb at So the Thing Is..., but she gets to cut, so I'm starting there, even though this looks like a LOT of questions...
1. What were you afraid of as a child? Spiders. When I was about four, I told my mother there was a spider on her back and she told me to knock it off; I was too afraid to touch it, it bit her, and she went into anaphalaxis and nearly died. Ironically, this created in me a fear of spiders that ran so deep that my allergic mother had to run around killing them for me. It was so paralyzing that if I saw a spider on the wall, I was a virtual captive unless someone could hear me calling, because I could neither kill it nor let it out of my sight.
2. When have you been most courageous? Generally, I would not say that I'm a courageous person. The few instances I might point to are, alas, confidential (as they arose in my legal practice). I did once pluck a spider off of my daughter's shirt with my bare hands, though.
3. What sound most disturbs you? Sadly, the human voice. I can get used to almost anything regular--my daughter has mentioned more than once that I don't seem to hear things like her mice running on their wheel or the noise my computer makes, and it's true--but the constant variance in tone and volume that comes when people are TALKING intrudes into my brain like knives.
4. What is the greatest amount of physical pain you’ve been in? Unbelievably, it's a toss up between labor (wherein I screamed at regular intervals for fourteen hours) and when I broke my molar. Actually, I think the broken tooth was worse, because the pain level was pretty similar, but contractions come and go and that just went on and on and on.
5. What’s your biggest fear for your children? (or children in general if you don’t have some of your own.) Some sudden harm from an uncontrollable outside force. There's so much to worry about with children, but the nagging fears-out-of-nowhere are always random accidental violences that might occur outside my presence: What if she gets hit by a car? What if she falls from the top of those monkey bars and gets paralyzed or brain damaged? What if those chemicals they're using in science splash in her eyes?
6. What is the hardest physical challenge you’ve achieved? I don't do physical. Seriously. So I guess it would have to be childbirth--though I tried to wuss out of that, too, and tell them that I couldn't do it and they'd have to find another way.
7. Which do you prefer: Mountains or oceans/big water? Oceans. Or lakes. Or ponds. Or streams. Or large swimming pools. Or my own bathtub. Mountains are pretty, but water is essential to my mental health.
8. What is the one thing you do for yourself that helps you keep everything together? I'm too busy keeping things together to do anything to help me keep things together.
9. Ever had a close relative or friend with cancer? No. My best friend's mother died of cancer, and she was a gutsy, fun, energetic and generous woman whom he loved like crazy and it was hard as hell to watch her deteriorate and the toll it took on him, but I can't even begin to imagine what it's like that giant step closer.
10. What are the things your friends count on you for? Rationality, I think. I can usually put things in perspective. People who are not my friends often see this as a major character flaw--I'm not likely to get caught up in the emotion of the issue--but those who choose to hang around me seem to appreciate my ability to cut through the...um...fringe issues.
11. What is the best part of being in a committed relationship? How the heck would I know?
12. What is the hardest part of being in a committed relationship? See above.
13. Summer or Winter? Why? Winter. Snow. Clean, clear air. Snow. Christmas decorations. Snow.
14. Have you ever been in a school-yard fight? Why and what happened? "Fight" would be the wrong word. I knocked a kid down and hit him once, but he never got a chance to fight back. I was 13, and I was walking across the school yard with my 6-year-old sister when a 12-year-old boy hit her in the head with an ice ball. She cried. I tackled him and slugged him. His mother stood by and watched with her arms folded and didn't say a word.
15. Why blog? Before there were blogs (or personal computers), I used to write whatever came into my mind down on paper and toss it in my desk drawer (and, for the most part, never look back at it). Now I do that here instead.
16. Did you learn about sex, and/or sex safety from your parents? No, I don't think so, but I don't recall there being much mystery or being in any way disadvantaged by having missed that.
17. How do you plan to talk to your kids about sex and/or sex safety? In ongoing dialogue. I don't think that there's much value in "the big talk"--I think it makes kids edgy and they don't take in a whole lot and it's too much information (especially such potentially disconcerting information) to absorb in a lump. I try to address little pieces naturally as they arise in life or books or movies or whatever opening I see, so it's easily digestible and so that it seems a natural topic of conversation that doesn't have to be momentous if she has questions.
18. What are you most thankful for this year? Money. I hate to admit that, and there's a huge irony in it because I don't care all that much about money or material things--I drive a seven-year-old car and still have the stereo my mother bought for me when I was in college in the 80s, and I wouldn't even have a television if someone hadn't given it to me as a gift. But as a single mother who has seen so much in my work (representing victims of domestic violence, attempting to collect child support, running a welfare advocacy clinic) I know how incredibly fortunate I am to be in a position where I never have to say to my daughter, "No, we can't afford that." Well, at least not to any REASONABLE requests.