Day 32: My First Meme

Oh, boy, oh boy!! I’ve been tagged! Thanks, New Kid – now I really feel like one of the cool kids!!

Here are my responses to the Meme that Shall Not Be Named:

1. What are the three stupidest things you’ve done in your life?

A. I grew up a smart feminist liberal in a small southern-midwestern town. For some strange reason this just didn’t play well among kids in that community during the Reagan years. Imagine that. So I was pretty socially ostracized throughout my jr. high and high school years. I had a few friends – folks also on the fringe: the vegetarian with a Mohawk, a couple of speech geeks, an occasional bandie or drama rat -- but for the most part was fairly isolated and desperately unhappy. A few years ago, I was farting around on the internet procrastinating the dissertation and decided to look up my high school. They had a site, with a separate page for alumni where they asked those who had visited the site to register for a viewable on-line directory. I thought, ok, why not – I’ll be brave, and work on healing some of this lingering pain connected to my growing up experience. After all, high school was a long time ago. I can do this. It may even help me feel better. So, I typed out all of the registration information, but made a pretty big typo/error. No problem. I hit back on the browser, corrected the error and then finished. I hit send. Then, I thought, hm, I wonder who else has registered? I did a search for my class year and there were two listings. One for me. And one for me. Somehow, when I hit “back” the browser had sent in the info. So there it was my listing with a particularly embarrassing typo AND also my corrected listing. Both there. The only ones listed for my year. I was pretty humiliated, but thought, well, ok, I’m just the first one to find the page from my class year. Maybe other people have signed up in other class years. So I did a search for the year after me. 0 entries. The year before me, 0 entries. Feeling desperate, I searched for Any Years. Yep, you guessed it. 2 entries. Me. And Me. #1 Stupidest thing ever: not checking who else was there BEFORE FILLING OUT MY STUPID PERSONAL INFORMATION AND LOOKING LIKE A TOTAL FUCKING LOOSER IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHO ALREADY BELIEVED THAT I WAS A TOTAL FUCKING LOOSER!! (The good news was after a week of self-loathing numbed by copious potato chip eating and a screening of “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion,” I was ok. A year or so ago I got the courage to check again, and discovered that the site is no more – the only time I’ve been glad of internet impermanence!)

B. Parent’s weekend my first year at college my Mom drove 8 hours to visit me, but in the pre-cell phone era I didn’t really know exactly what time she was scheduled to arrive. Caught up in the social whirlwind of college, thrilled to have a whole GANG of friends for the first time, and not just one or two, I went to a movie on campus with the gang because I couldn’t resist a social invitation, leaving my room unlocked with a note for my mom. She arrived all excited to see me and I wasn’t there, and she had to wait for hours and was pretty upset that she had come all that way and I wasn't even there to see her. In my defense, I really didn’t think she’d get there as soon as she did, I figured we’d arrive around the same time. But, regardless, it really hurt her feelings. It was a totally shitty thing to do that I still regret.

C. I think vehicular stupidity has got to be a common one for this list. I did my first M.A. at a school that was about a 45 minute commute away. One evening after a late night class I decided that I would drive home despite the heavy snowfall. It was WAY dangerous and I shouldn’t have driven, but I had had a rough day and I really wanted to be with Spousal Unit. About an hour and a half into the 45 minute drive, I had to drive down an amazingly steep hill that all trucks take up at like 10 miles per hour. I slowed down as much as I could, but slid all over the road, and suddenly lost control as the car slid closer and closer to the right side, barely coming to a stop next to the guardrail that was all that was between me and a 100’ drop beyond it. I was really shaken. The weather continued to be awful and it took me another hour to get home. It was really stupid of me not to just stay put and drive home the next day.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

My advisor/committee – they just don’t know it.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick? (I think Bitch, PhD wins for best conversationalist with Dorothy Parker. And a friend told me yesterday that a few weeks ago on Oprah John Stewart had the best repsonse to this question, ever, of all time: Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, Confucious, and Eve, as in Adam and. No way to top that one, really.) I'll go with a few of my favorite 19th century folk:

Jane Austen
Frederick Douglass
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Walt Whitman
Mark Twain

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

Of course, I’m with New Kid in wishing for peace and an end to poverty. In the altruism category I’d also have to wish for a reversal of global warming, reliable and efficient alternative fuel sources, and a better way to deal with all of the garbage that we generate. (Garbage is one of the things I lay awake at night worrying about. Where does it all go? What do we do with it? How long until there is no more room for it? Why can’t the flying monkeys take it away instead of coming for me?) Three that are in the actually attainable category, since I’d have to file all of the above as impossible without some kind of supernatural intervention given the current global mood/priority:

A done dissertation.
A defense that doesn’t leave me a shattered shell of myself, destroyed by humiliation, defeat, and shame.
A successful first year at my first academic job.

5. Someone is visiting your small town. Name two things you regret your city not having and two things people should avoid.

Spousal Unit and I had a field day with this one the other night at dinner. Two things our city needs: Good Mexican Food (I’d happily exchange a few of our 1-per every resident Thai restaurants for ONE Mexican place in a heartbeat!), and a beach. (hey, a girl can dream…) Two Things to Avoid: the obscenely large feral cat population and stepping on the ooey yellow slugs that emerge everywhere after a (frequent) rainfall.

6. Name One Event that Has Changed your Life:

It actually hasn’t changed it much yet, but I have high hopes: getting a job. I’ve been a student almost all my life. I don’t know what life will be like to not be in school, to not be beholden to one's teachers.

7. Tag five people: Fun, fun fun! I tag: Mon, Histgrad,Cleis, Wanna Be PhD, and Overread.


At 2:00 PM Scott Eric Kaufman said...

You know one great way to prevent yourself from ever finishing your dissertation? How about reading other people's blogs and filling out online surveys that have as much to do with the use of the word "male" in the Fourteenth Amendment as this comment has do with the status of evolutionary theory during the Progressive Era...and, um, crap. I have to go. Stuff to do. Important stuff. Like wash dishes, yeah, you know, like wash dishes. Washing the dishes sounds awesome...

At 2:28 PM Stewgad said...

Yes, blogging can be a definite time suck. But in a good way, no?

I figure as long as I am writing SOMETHING than I'm ahead of the game, whether it is a blog post or a chapter. I have found lately that blogging has really helped keep the creative thoughts flowing. When I'm stuck with the writing, I turn to the blog - and pretty soon, I'm back to the writing again. Maybe not the most efficient system, but its working for me thus far.

And, besides, there is just no way to ONLY write the dissertation. Dishes have to be washed, clothes have to be cleaned, pets have to be walked, lemon trees have to be watered... and maybe, just maybe sometimes, a brilliant thought will occur about evolutionary theory during the Progressive Era WHILE you're scraping last week's lasagna from your favorite plate.

At 3:40 PM Scott Eric Kaufman said...

Actually, I agree with you 100%. The knowledge that I have an outlet, and that I can use it to collect stray thoughts, liberates me to work better when I work and, generally speaking, to be more attentive to stuff that'd pass below the radar were it not potential blogging material. Blogging makes life more interesting, but it doesn't make me any more likely to think about the diss. while washing dishes. I'm into Zen dish-washing.

No, I'm not kidding.

Sometimes I'll zone over the sink for 15 or 20 minutes and run out of dirty dishes, which compels me to cook, i.e. Zen cook, which allows me dirty some dishes I can then Zen scrub and Zen rinse later. All of which is only to say, yes, I agree with you that blogging often--to use the gustatory metaphor that's no doubt popped into my head from all this talk of dishes--gets the juices flowing. Better to be writing something than nothing, as the odds of working later increase with every step that's not in the direction of the kitchen or the couch.

P.S. Lemon trees don't have to be watered anymore. Lemon trees died under a brutal aphid assault a few winters back. Lemon trees, as well as fresh free lemons, are missed.

At 5:14 PM Stewgad said...

Bummer about the trees.

And, I hear you about Zen washing -- although, I'm more of a Zen dishwashing-watcher. I should openly confess here that Spousal Unit is the washer in the family.

But, I've been trying. Cleis has a great saying posted up by her sink about how washing each bowl one should be mindful as if you were washing the baby buddha. I just love that. It works for me for a while, but then I just get grumpy that the silverware isn't shaped like a baby buddha but like forks and knifes and spoons with glued on muck. At that point, I usually walk away and leave the rest for Spousal Unit with the happy excuse that I have to go write my dissertation.

BTW - thanks for stoping in!

At 2:22 PM Wanna Be PhD said...

Thank you so much for tagging me!! I've seen it already yesterday, but in fact I'm trying to work right now (completed 2 1/2 pages today!) so doing procrastination things like memes and quizzes is forbidden right now.

I WILL complete the meme, as soon as I'm done with the part I'm currently working on.

Thanks again!

At 11:53 AM Stewgad said...

Wanna -- Happy working! By all means, put off meme time wasting! Kudos!


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