Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

1/9/2006

Freaks, freaks, everywhere

File under: Know Thyself. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 9:49 pm.

Tag, I’m it: Declan wants to know five weird things about me. Like a true Canadian, Declan explicitly declares that this tag is just an invitation, and he’s not making any demands: if any of us taggees decline to respond, that’s okay with him and he won’t hold it against us. However, being a Canadian myself, I am finding myself self-consciously wondering if he put that disclaimer at the bottom of his post because of anything I said, like that last time he tagged me and I acted less than appreciative…it was that, wasn’t it? I’m sorry! I’ll do the damned meme!

All righty, then, how am I a freak? Let me count the ways:

  1. I have a bizarre and dysfunctional relationship with natural light, which has been mentioned before in this space. Noise does not wake me up or keep me awake, but I wake up when my room becomes light. Around the summer solstice last year, when I had a south-facing bedroom apartment with an unobstructed view of the water, this meant that I was routinely awake before five. This time of year, when the sun rises anytime between eight o’clock and never, I will sleep quite late on non-work days. On work days, I’ll wake up at sevenish without an alarm clock, because I fear and loathe alarm clocks and my body has conditioned itself not to rely on them - but I’ll still feel tired even if I’ve slept for eight hours.

    During the summer, I will wake up early if I am in sleeping in a room with a window, particularly one that faces east. The solutions to this problem, I realise, are simple: get heavy curtains! Sleep with one of those eye masks! Rent a poorly-lit basement suite! But this is where the dysfunctional part comes in: no. Forget it. I insist on sleeping in well-lit apartments and I do not draw the curtains when I sleep; I feel uneasy and out of sorts otherwise. I recently started house-hunting - well, condo-hunting - and I am already started making local realtors’ lives miserable by asking them which direction the condos I’m looking for face. North or west? Forget it.

  2. Somehow, I managed to grow up more or less immune to the usual body-image issues that afflict most teenage girls in this culture to some degree. To be sure, I was beanpole thin for my entire childhood and adolescence, and no doubt this played a role in my self-image, but I could have been insecure about any number of other aspects of my appearance. I wasn’t. I had - have - some element of detached sympathy for thin and regular-sized girls and women who think they’re fat, but…I don’t get it. And it took me a long, long time to realize that I should get it, because - even though I don’t think I’m fat, I really don’t feel like I have long hair. My hair, for what it’s worth, touches my tailbone, and by any standards is no more short than your average dieting teenage girl is fat. I have trimmed it myself for the last decade, because I have heard that hairdressers think that four inches of hair my length constitutes “just a trim”, and if I wanted such short hair I’d just take a razor to my head myself.

  3. I have had cravings for one type of substance, ever, in my entire life: fruit juice. I have woken up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty for fruit juice which I must have RIGHT NOW THIS SECOND IS THERE A GROCERY STORE NEARBY OPEN AT THIS TIME OF NIGHT? I never smoked or drank, and have similarly avoided most of the traditional implements of addiction; I like chocolate and other such sweets, but I have never desired them as urgently as I did fruit juice. A few years ago, at camp, I found myself craving fruit juice one night, and the closest thing I was able to find was this crap in a vending machine. I was climbing the walls until breakfast the next morning, when I downed a litre of actual orange juice. I now make sure I always have a stash in the fridge.

  4. My aversion to various flavours of medical care varies inversely with its invasiveness. I am spectacularly good with needles, and at age six (have I written about this before? I’m sure I have) I became a legend in my pediatrician’s office for calmly watching the nurses administer my allergy shots, not even uttering an “ow”. I haven’t had any real surgery in a long time, but I remember the pain of having my wisdom teeth removed being more bearable than the general anesthetic. And I get unreasonably agitated when a doctor asks to listen to my heart or poke gently at various places of my body. Can’t I get a needle instead?

  5. Despite my mathematical background and my frustration with the general population’s inability to reason even slightly quantitatively, I keep terrible track of my money. But I keep terrible track of it in the best possible way: I massively underestimate how much I have, and live well within my means. One semester when I was in grad school, my grant unexpectedly ran out; despite the fact that a quick check of my bank account would have revealed I had enough savings to get me through the next six or eight months, easily, I found myself perusing the aisles in the grocery store to see if Ramen noodles were on sale this week. I get more agitated when I am without income than when I am without money. In other words, if f(t) is the amount of money in my bank account as a function of time, I am less concerned with the value of f(t) than with the value of f’(t). Consquently, I am one of those people who would continue to work even if I won the lottery - not because I find my job that fulfilling, but because being without income is bad for my peace of mind. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t buy lottery tickets.

Is that five? It is! Time to tag people…hmm. I’m going to tag the last five untagged bloggers who commented to TD&M, which means that saforres, Brian F., f-i-n, wolfangel, and Polymath are it. Have at it, freaks.