08 July 2009


Ms Musings, from her sofa, nominated me for some sort of nameless award, provided that I write of seven personality traits. She was thus tagged by ZoesMom and passed on the honors to me and others. In what I'm sure is evidence of that old 'telephone' game we played in school, where one person would whisper a statement in another's ear, and by the time it traveled to the other side of the room would have transformed into something entirely different, I'm fear I've missed some important feature of this award. I think the photo above is part of the award. It's a nice one for this blog because it features a book, and the admiration of books and a sense of humor certainly would be the ninth and tenth personality characteristics I would list (alongside not playing fair and square with rules) if the rules allowed me to expand beyond seven. Perhaps the award itself is in the doing, as writing usually is.

Now, onward with my seven traits:

1. Unlike Ms. Musings, I'm rarely punctual. I live in my own timezone. Good for me that I have the flexibility with my job to come in when I please, because I'm not sure when my 'starting time' would be if I had to punch a clock. I always think that I'll be better about this, but I never seem to put forth much effort to change it. When it really counts, like airplane flights, funerals and such, I'll be there on the spot, but don't expect me, for heavenssake, to be early. If I am, there was probably a time change that I didn't know about. Best thing about this trait: I can lose hours reading a good book!

2. Like Ms Zoe's Mom, I am a shy person. I don't know how to make small talk. I am not very comfortable in new surroundings where I don't expect to know anyone and I haven't been before. Unless -- and I realize this is so narcissistic -- Ihave some sort of role in the gathering. For instance: recently I co-hosted a fundraising event and was expected to MC the evening. I could put on my competent MC/party planner/fundraiser hat without any problem. I pulled it off, looking cool and competent. Well, not cool, as it was 95 degrees outside and the AC wasn't working properly. Had I just been an attendee, I would have been quite agitated at having to chitchat with people I didn't know. Positive aspect to this trait: I've learned to compensate for the inability to small talk. Sometimes I'll talk about a book I've read; however, this fails monstrously if you're with non-readers.

3. I detest talking on the phone. I have a few exceptions -- some friends, a few members of my family, some colleagues with whom I'd rather not sit in a meeting room -- but generally I find it very difficult to understand the gist of conversations while on a telephone. If I can't see you, I just can't seem to understand all of the nuances of our conversation. How I deal with this trait: on important phone calls I outline items to cover before I dial; on conference calls, I love the MUTE button.

4. I find it too easy to take on the moods of others. Crabby people bring out the uber-crab in me. I don't like getting on that fast train to bitchiness, but it can be so easy at times. I want to avoid grumbly people. I struggle with it all the time. If I could change anything about this side of my personality: I hope for a time when that grumpy, cranky, crabby inner me stops wanting attention, shrivels up entirely, and falls into some dark, forgotten, flat corner of the world, leaving a much better, happier, joyous person out in the world. That would be nice.

5. I sometimes feel that I have no sense of what people think about me or why they get the ideas that they do. I remember a friend who had previously been a student in one of my writing classes, telling me about how some students talked about me one day. They envisioned me having gourmet dinner parties with lots of friends, fancy china and crystal, perfect centerpieces. I don't think I owned two plates that matched at that point in my life and my idea of gourmet was buying a salad at the drive-thru and serving it in a pretty cut-glass bowl, one that I had borrowed from my mother but not yet returned. Another friend told me recently that when she first met me 20 years ago, she initially disliked me because she thought I was everything she wanted to be: competent, confident, outgoing and portrayed those traits with ease. I guess she only started liking me once she saw through my facade. A true friend, indeed, who loves me as I am, not as how I appear to be. The upside: the older I get the better I am at understanding how my words and actions might be perceived -- and the less I care about perceptions and misperceptions.

6. I am very inquisitive. I know all sorts of trivia because at some point in time I thought "I wonder why that is?". I used to make myriad trips and calls to the reference library to satisfy my curiosity. Now, I just have to google it. I've been this way since I was a child. My sister used to tease me, calling me Encyclopedia Brown. I don't know why I file away the obscure but I do. An example: my doctor could tell you all about the very specific type of foot injury I sustained in an automobile accident a few years ago, but I would tell you only that this particular injury is named after Napoleon's gynecologist. You have to admit it: it's much more fun to know that than the anatomical details of healing torn ligaments. Potential benefit: As a result of this lifelong curiosity, if I could have a garage sale of trivia facts stored in my brain, I'd make a killing.

7. I have never revealed so much about myself to acquaintances as I have since I started blogging. I think my blog persona is more easily able to be an authentic person than I can be in real life, but also a much better person. Maybe that is because blogging, with it's ability to craft/draft/edit my voice, doesn't take all that energy to put up a facade. Benefits aplenty: I don't have to worry about being on time or too shy; I don't have to talk on the telephone, make small talk, or host dinner parties with matching china and crystal; I can easily choose not to let my crankiness surface here, and I won't see you roll your eyes when I share an obscure fact that I find fascinating and you find absolutely boring. Thanks for stopping by to read my blog and letting me be me. :)

Tagging seven bookish bloggers who I am glad share their voices through blogs:

Danielle, A Work in Progress
Ted, Bookeywookey
Dorothy W, Of Books and Bicycles
Stefanie, So Many Books
Diana, Diaphanous
SFP, Pages Turned


Dorothy W. said...

Many, many thanks for the award! I will have to think about my own list. I like your item #5, as I've found myself as I get older realizing that I know little of what others are really thinking about me. I'm moving from feeling that I can guess what somebody else is thinking to realizing that I actually can't, and also to caring less about perceptions and misperceptions, as you say. In a lot of ways, it's nice to get older!

Anonymous said...

2, 6 and 7. Yes, yes, yes.

Emily Barton said...

I'm very with you on #5, so often surprised by what others think of me (especially those who say they are "intimidated." I find that VERY strange).

Cam said...

Dorothy - glad you did the meme. Enjoyed reading your responses.

DWW - Given our overlapping lists here and on 15 books meme, I think we have a lot in common. I suspect you are a more disciplined writer than I am though.

Em - I think I was a little intimidated before I met you (IRL), but felt at ease once we started speaking.