Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mass Observation

via Ben Peek (Read about it; it's interesting)

1. Age?


2. Married, unmarried, divorced, other?


3. What are your superstitions, in order of importance?

Hm-wha? Um. I have no list for this. Sometimes I am a bit obsessive-compulsive, but rarely am I superstitious.

4. Do you pay attention to coincidences?

Yes. At times I feel like synchronicity is in operation, but likely it just has to do with awareness. Or apophenia.

5. What is your class?

Lower Middle Class, probably? Maybe lower, now.

6. What is your father's profession, and your own?

My father was a civil servant (he worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation). He's retired; now he ushes at the Ordway and works the gate during the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Myself, it depends on how you look at it. I'm either a student, a temporary office worker, a writer, or a bum.

7. Do you or did you hate your father, and if so, why?

I did, for a while, mainly because I was a teenager and I thought I was ready to be out on my own. We had some strong disagreements, mainly on religion, and it was hard for a while. But he's a good man and now I love him like crazy.

8. Do you or did you hate your mother, and if so, why?

I never did, no.

9. Do you or did you want to get away from home, and if so, why?

I did want to, and I did so, though never all that far. Why? Because it's healthy to do so, I think, at least for a while. It's good to go back once in a while, too.

10. Do you want to have a son, or a daughter, or both?

Either one.

11. Do you hate your boss; do you hate your job?

I'm not sure how to apply this to temping. I don't hate temping, although it can be dreadfully dull. The concept of "boss" in the temp world can be pretty nebulous, but there's no one I hate at present.

12. What is your greatest ambition?

To make at least half of my income from writing.

13. Did you want President Clinton impeached, and if so, why?


14. Were you glad or sorry when the World Trade Centre was destroyed and if so, why?

Sorry. (Not sure who would be glad?) Not because the building itself meant anything, but because of the lives lost. I was pretty freaked out by it, honestly, and the 9/11 attacks are a big part of the reason I wrote Superpowers.

15. Do you approve of the institution of marriage as it exists in this country at present? If not, how would you wish it changed?

I don't know that marriage is as important as people make it out to be, but it should be equally available to all; in other words, if gay people want to get married, there's no sensible reason to prevent them. On the other hand, if people want to live together and raise families without getting married, there's no sensible reason to prevent that either. Marriage can be a nice way to declare a bond, but the bond can exist without it.

16. Are you in favour of the disestablishment of the Church?

Church, smurch. I was raised Catholic, and there was a fuss when I chose not to be confirmed. (See above.) Turned out, I just should have gone along with it to get the cash. But that's me, always taking the wrong kind of stand.

17. Are you religious? If so, in what form?

I'm agnostic. I'm fascinated by religion, though not so much by Christianity, which has been more or less stripped of all the mystery and made consumable. I don't believe in anything in particular and don't expect to, but I like exploring belief and myth and all the ideas surrounding religion.

18. Do you welcome or shrink from the contact by touch or smell of your fellow humans?

This is a very strange question. I'm not that touchy-feely, but I'm not averse to it either. Human contact is good. Smells are good and bad. Are you implying that I stink?

19. Can you believe you are going to die?

No, because the world is a hallucination I am having. OK, not really. But really, no, I don't think I do grasp the idea of my own death, although I fear it. I like to pretend that I will live forever.

20. How do you want to die?

I don't. That's my answer.

21. What are you most frightened of?

Losing my mind. That would be worse than death.

22. What do you mean by freedom?

This deserves some thought. OK, I think that freedom is the right to live your life as you wish to, insofar as it doesn't impinge upon the right of others to do the same. In other words, do no harm; physical harm, or financial harm, or harm to the environment we share. It is the freedom to disagree AS WELL AS the freedom to be disagreed with, because without dissent and debate no one's beliefs have meaning. The main challenge to freedom, I find, is lack of privacy; and privacy becomes more difficult to maintain the more crowded and interconnected the world becomes. Sometimes we voluntarily give up some of that freedom--say, in a relationship--but everyone needs their own space. It seems to me that this is what we fight about, almost every time, on every level. Which probably means it's only going to get worse.

On that cheerful note . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The weird thing about the blogosphere (and life) is how the same things crop up in a dozen different places all at once. Wacky.

Which is to say, I've been thinking about space this week (and for a while, thinking about it and trying it out and screwing it up and thinking about it again). And I've been thinking, the issue is maybe less space than lines around space. Physical space, headspace, whatever. People are _bad_ at marking it off.

I've got my theories (I've always got theories) as to why this is. I've got my theories (ditto) about how to fix it, or how to cope. In a lotta ways, I think the world would be a nicer place if people could just bring 'emselves to say, "Okay, please back off now." And if people could take being asked to back off with good grace. Because it's _not_ something that needs to be personal or taken personally--it's just that so many people (just people I know?) aren't willing to draw lines until they're already feeling trapped, and that's when badness ensues.

But it doesn't have to. I can't believe that it has to. And now I'm thinking about Never Cry Wolf and should perhaps add that that isn't quite the sort of space-marking that I mean (and might, alas, cause badness to ensue).

- H

2:02 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Are you talking about lines-on-the-ground borders, or these-are-my-ground-rules boundaries? I think that the first is problematic by definition; the other can be handled well. F'r instance, because of the vagaries of our schedules, I get a lot more alone time at the apartment than Marianne does. But we've talked about it and I understand that she needs that time, so I make sure to get lost a couple of times a week--usually to my favorite coffee shop--to write or read or do homework. This is good for both of us, as we get less on each other's nerves when we're not in each other's face all the time.

But I'm not as optimistic about the solvability of this. Too many people don't communicate about this sort of thing, and for whatever reasons don't have enough of their own space. And we're losing space all the time.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is a line-on-the-ground border like a line in the sand? Or like a physical line? Either way, nah, not what I mean. More the ground rules--just knowing how much and what kind of space you need and letting people know when they're standing too close (literally or no).

Hrm. I think I'm talking about mental space, mostly, and certain kinds of physical. And that you're talking at least in part about a different kind. And that kind, yeah. Yeah. I think it's enough _own_ more than enough _space_--I can think of plenty times that I've felt gnaw-my-own-leg-off feeling trapped without anyone close and utterly at ease in tiny space or with other people close (lot to be said for the companionable silence). But: yeah.

And I've no glib answers for that one. I've been trying to figure out for a while now how to carry a bubble of own-space around with me. But it's easier some days than others.

- H

6:21 PM  

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