There has been a Facebook meme going around lately that is almost as inescapable as that silly giraffe picture: the list of X number of things that people don’t know about you. My friend Michele, an old J-school buddy of mine and a truly great photographer, tagged me with the number 8, and although I wasn’t initially inclined to play along, it slowly dawned on me that it could, if nothing else, be blog fodder. Also, I can’t resist the lure of a list or a gimmick. The problem is that I am such an oversharer that there is practically nothing that people don’t know about me. Still, though, I will give it a try.
- I hate voicemail. It is a completely irrational source of anxiety, I know, but I still hate it. Seeing the blinking light on my work phone or the alert on my iPhone fills me with dread. I go back and forth between listening to them right away to get them over with and letting them pile up with a deep sense of denial. I am currently in the latter phase and have 15 messages on my cell phone: 40 percent from my dad, 46.67 percent from my mom, and 13.33 percent from my dentist. I know the last two are from my dentist even though I haven’t listened to them and even though I don’t have my dentist’s number saved in my phone; I know this because I Googled the phone number rather than listening to the message. That’s how crazy/paranoid I am about voicemail. Even my outgoing messages on both my personal and work phones instruct people to text or email me.
- I have had an iPod since my 28th birthday (which, Jesus, was more than five years ago), but I am still not totally sure how to use it. I have an adapter so I can play it in my car, but I generally opt to listen to the radio. I like almost all of the songs on my iPod, and I know it has a shuffle mode, but there’s just still something special about hearing a great song on the radio; it seems more serendipitous somehow. Plus yesterday I heard “Don’t Worry Baby” and “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” back-to-back, and neither of those songs is on my iPod, and I love them both.
- I have pretty terrible taste in music. My musical diet is the auditory equivalent of eating McDonald’s every day. I love accessible, easy-to-sing-along-to, mindless, poppy trash: Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga. I listen to a ton of modern country. I always turn the radio up if a Jim Croce song comes on. My musical knowledge is exactly on par with that of my 12-year-old stepson, and I feel zero shame about that. I enjoy music in most genres, but I have no patience whatsoever for songs with pseudo-deep lyrics, and I absolutely cannot tolerate a pseudo-deep line repeated multiple times for emphasis or used as a chorus. I will take dumb music that knows it’s dumb but is fun to dance to over dumb music that is impressed with itself and thinks it’s making a big statement any day of the week.
- I hated dancing until I was old enough to drink. I was an extremely uncoordinated and self-conscious kid. I refused to take ballet or tap classes with my friends in early grade school (who had time with all of those Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books to read?), and my father and I fought more than once at Jazz Fest because I wouldn’t dance with him. “Come on,” he would say, holding my hands and trying to force me to move around a bit. “This is New Orleans, kiddo. This is Jazz Fest. You’ve got to loosen up.” The more he prodded me, the more stubborn I became, staring daggers at him and locking my knees until he gave up and let me go back to the shade of our umbrella. Being forced to learn Cajun dancing in the eighth grade still stands out as one of the most brutal embarrassments I have ever been forced to endure. The clumsy dancing, with the teacher correcting my every move, was one thing, but adding insult to injury, I was paired with my equal in awkwardness, a clammy-handed boy named Tutt, and for the rest of the year, everyone called us “Eveis and Tutthead.” With the exception of a few slow songs at prom, I didn’t dance again until one night my sophomore year in college when I’d had a few Cape Cods and suddenly thought, “Hey, I want to dance!” And I did, and it was so much fun. When I came back for Jazz Fest my junior year of college, my dad and I had a couple of beers and danced together for all of Paul Simon’s set. It is still one of my favorite memories.
- Ruby is about to turn 7, and Georgia is 18 months, and it still sometimes shocks me to look in the mirror and realize I am someone’s mom.
- I have driven a stick shift since I was 19. My then-boyfriend-now-ex-husband and I were on our way to St. Louis in my secondhand ’89 Camry when he lost control of the car, and we spun across two lanes of Interstate 70 and slammed into the median. It was terrifying, and as soon as I got over being thankful to be alive, I was furious at him for wrecking my car. I decided to buy a standard transmission car because I knew he didn’t know how to drive one; the problem was, I didn’t know how to drive one either. But through sheer force of will, I taught myself, and now I refuse to drive anything else. I tell people this is because I am a control freak, and that’s partially true. But the other part is that I am just so damn proud of myself, and if I drove an automatic, no one would know that I could drive a standard.
- I got pregnant with Ruby immediately after a second-trimester miscarriage. Anybody who knows me even a little bit knows that. But like many people who struggle with infertility and loss, I had weird superstitions and talismans. The most enduring for me was my tan-colored T-shirt. At first, it had no significance; it was just a T-shirt I wore a lot. But because I wore it so often, I ended up wearing it, coincidentally, to my first and second ultrasounds, and when I realized that, it suddenly became my Lucky Ultrasound Shirt. I wore it to every scheduled appointment. Once, when I had to make an emergency appointment because I was bleeding, I actually went home and changed. By about the sixth month of pregnancy, the shirt no longer fit me, but I still wore it underneath a maternity shirt for every appointment. By the ninth month, it was freezing cold, but I still wore the shirt, which only came about halfway down my stomach at that point, under sweaters, and I was wearing it when I reported to the hospital for my C-section. I wore it until I traded it for the hospital gown just before surgery. After Ruby was born, I kind of forgot about it – I might have worn it to one appointment when I was pregnant with Georgia, but that pregnancy was such a cakewalk compared to my pregnancy with Ruby that I really didn’t need the “luck” I only halfway believed it conferred. The other night, though, Ruby was rooting through my T-shirt drawer to find a soft shirt to sleep in, and she pulled out the Lucky Ultrasound Shirt and put it on. It came down to her knobby, bruised, adorable 6-year-old knees, and suddenly, I was so overcome with love and gratitude that I could hardly breathe.
- I write all of my work emails in the Georgia font. Ruby, just by virtue of existing for so much longer, is much more represented in my cubicle – photographs, original artwork, love notes, a macaroni heart with “Mom” written inside in split peas. So to keep it fair, I write everything in Georgia. (I am very glad I didn’t name her Arial. Because that font sucks.)