Saturday, January 27, 2007

Six Surprising Things

Green Kitchen tagged me with this topic.

I have a bit of a problem, in that I really don't think there is much about me that would be surprising to anyone who knows me well. A stranger would also find nothing surprising about me, because he or she wouldn't really care. Weird, maybe; surprising, no. Therefore, I imagine that the ostensible audience of a post concerning "six surprising things" about me is people who sort of know me a bit. Since I think that the people who read my BLARG either know me well or are strangers, I guess my only real audience is futuregirl, who doesn't know me well (yet), but is not a stranger, and who reads my BLARG (Q.E.D.). So, to Alice: Enjoy!

1. When my first boyfriend dumped me and I had my first nervous breakdown, I used to call his house at all hours (which isn't that surprising) and then play "I - feel - feel like - I am - in a burning building - and I gotta go. Cause I - I feel - feel like - I am - in a burning building - and I gotta go" from "Let X=X" on Laurie Anderson's Big Science Then I would hang up. And do it again. And again.

2. I have been known (though not lately) to go every week to the local Spooky Dance (i.e. goth night) wearing all black with platform boots and, once there, throw myself about to loud music, casting out demons. Becky says I dance like a broken doll.

3. One of the chapters in my never-completed dissertation analyzed the media accounts of the execution of Timothy McVeigh vis-à-vis Elizabethan and Jacobean revenge drama and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century public execution.

4. I have handled a document signed by Queen Elizabeth I. It was in English, not Latin, but was still in secretary hand, which made it hard to read even in English. Luckily, I had been trained to read that kind of handwriting, a skill that actually still comes in handy when deciphering doctors' handwriting. This document was at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where I was doing research and taking a course on secretary hand. The manuscript archivist didn't know about this particular document, which I found in a box with other not-very-well-catalogued items.

5. Although my mother denies it, I know for a fact that I only took a bath once a week when I was a kid. I may have changed underwear slightly more frequently, but not that much more frequently. The reason I know this is that my well-meaning (but, in this case, cruel) third grade teacher, Mrs. McClenndon, had us go around a circle and say how often we changed our underwear. I, luckily, was not first and, as the others revealed their underpants truth, I realized that "once a week" was Not a Good Answer. So I said every other day, because I wasn't so much a liar as to say every day, which seemed to be the preferred answer. Or maybe I did say every day, after Jeff Sidler was chided for every-other-day panty rotation. Whatever. I didn't feel personally bad about my infrequent bathing and underpants changing; I was prepubescent, and my outer clothes were clean, so it's not like I smelled. I was just embarrassed to have to talk about it in front of others whose standards were clearly different.

6. I like riding around in the car with Michelle because she has been listening to the same Best of Billy Joel album for at least a year, and her older son sings along now. He appears to be undamaged by the experience.


Green Kitchen said...

For me these aren't weird or surprising, but I enjoyed them anyway. :)

stephanie s said...

now, if you two were singing to billy joel AND eating crisco, THEN i would be concerned...

Blaize said...

See? I know my audience. I just wonder if there is ANYTHING I could do that would surprise you. Maybe become a high-power executive with a cell phone, a BMW, and an expensive wardrobe of power suits? Well, that's not going to happen, so I guess I just have to remain unsurprising.

futuregirl said...

Enjoy, I did. :)

The only thing that was fully surprising is that you can read secretary hand and that you've handled a document written by Elizabeth I. Mostly because I didn't know there was something such as secretary hand.

Well, the underpants thing was surprising, but not about you. What kind of teacher talks with little kids about their underpants? It gives me the shivers.

In your case, you'd have to do a list that started with ...

1) Jennifer Aniston is my role model.

... if you wanted to surprise us. :)

Blaize said...

I'm sorry to disappoint, but the document was only SIGNED by Elizabeth. She had a scribe (i.e. secretary) to actually write the thing. Interestingly, if she HAD written it, it would have probably been in italic, which looks a lot like modern cursive.

Most upper class people wrote in italic at the time, although the Earl of Shrewesbury wrote in The Most Atrocious Secretary Hand in the Universe (tm). My friend Nick and I, since we were both pretty good at reading it, tried to decipher some of his letters to his wife. Endearingly, they all started with "My owne sweet harte." But even with both Nick and I working as hard as we could, we would only be able to read about half of one page after a couple of hours of work. It didn't help that the Earl (or tearle, as I have seen it in other documents) had spelling that was even more wildly variant than was usual at the time, and would spell the same word in three different ways in the course of as many sentences.

Studying Renaissance manuscripts has ruined me. I still tend to want to spell "subtle" as "sutile," and on my shopping lists I call lettuce "salletts."

On another note, Mrs. McClenndon was one of my favorite teachers, except for the whole underpants business.

futuregirl said...

Oh, Blaize. You never disappoint. I just didn't read closely.

As for Mrs. McClenndon, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt ... even if it still seems odd and not entirely proper to speak of underpants at school.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that is glad you aren't pedestrian. :)

Green Kitchen said...

I think the teacher was weird, too.

Anonymous said...

What you didn't mention was the fact that you often replicate the Queen's signature at parties and small gatherings.

Bitterbetty said...

I like the Laurie Anderson reference.
"Oh Superman" reminds me of my dad.

When I broke up with my live in boyfriend i wouldn't let him tell me his new address or phone number.. because I was afraid I would fire bomb his further adventures in dating. I think Laurie Anderson could have helped me out there.

I also bathed less than daily around that age. But I think my mom ( a third grade teacher).. checked up on the underwear deal.

I think if you said you subsribed to Star, I would have been surprised at that.

Blaize said...

Yeah, replicating Q.E.'s signature. What a party trick, huh?

And to bitterbetty: sometimes I still buy a Cosmo magazine, but I knew I was getting older when all I really wanted was a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.

Tom said...

unsurprised, but bemused