Sunday, 18 September 2005

Prepare to be FASCINATED! 100 things about Me.

Will 100 be enough? (ha, ha.)

1. My hair is 80% grey at the right temple. On good days I think of it as distinguished in a very Susan Sontaggy way, on bad days it's just another sign of incipient old age.

2. I have read Brideshead Revisited at least thirty times.

3. My first job, when I was fourteen, was selling cigarettes at K-Mart. I wore a red dress that zipped up the front, tan pantyhose, and white court shoes. There but for the grace of God, etc.

4. I'm left-handed.

5. When I was sixteen, a man locked up in Pentridge wrote me several creepy letters, care of my school. He'd read a story of mine that my English teacher sent to the local newspaper without my knowledge. The story was about being savagely bitten by a German Shepherd. I just googled this fellow, and he's still in prison, on the sex offenders list, not surprisingly.

6. I've been a student since I was five.

7. All the pop stars (and most of the local boys) who I had mopey, brooding crushes on as a teenager, turned out to be gay.

8. I can swim 2km without stopping.

9. Every piece of clothing I own has cat hair on it.

10. I would love to be able to sing and/or dance, but hey, you can't polish a turd.

11. In 1993 I borrowed Fluxus Codex from a university library (not the university I was attending at the time.) I've still got it. Other unreturned library books from that era include History of the Peloponesian War, Goldfish and Koi In Your Home, and The Birth of Tragedy.

12. Once, I really, really lost it halfway through delivering a lecture (it was on Emma.) I was standing there, droning away, and suddenly my mind was flooded with the absolute, unshakeable conviction that what I was saying was the biggest pile of shit. I lost my place, I tried to pick it up again, I couldn't, all the students were looking at their hands....somehow I got it together and continued. Oh god, it's creeping me out now just remembering it. Let's move on.

13. We moved quite a lot when I was a kid. Wonthaggi to Hepburn Springs to Warrnambool, and two or three different houses in each town. I liked it.

14. I have a very good memory, particularly for the appearances of things and for disconnected pieces of information.

15. I like: mandarines, fuji apples, mustard, brie, haloumi with lemon, honey, cumin, dark bitter chocolate, aloo paneer, peppermint tea. I don't like: cooked peppers, aniseed, ripe banana, zucchini, pawpaw.

16. I have an intermittent obsession with cannibalism as a last resort for staying alive, and have read a great deal about the Donner Party, the wreck of the Medusa, and the plane that crashed in the Andes. I'm not interested at all in the Ed Gein sort of cannibal, that's something else entirely.

17. Out of an estimated total of nine jumpers I've laboriously knitted for myself in my thirty-two years of life, only one was actually wearable.

18. I don't enjoy shopping, and I don't get many kicks out of acquiring possessions. I'd rather borrow a book from the library than buy it.

19. Because of gaps where teeth were extracted to make space, when I was ten, my eye teeth are disproportionately long, and I think they're getting longer. I certainly hope so - it's like having big pointy vampire fangs.

20. I can't automatically tell the difference between left and right - I've got to think about it for a second first. Possibly related to this is my complete inability to drive in countries where the cars go on the right instead of the left. I prefer the Asian system of driving wherever you like and vigorously honking the horn.

21. My nose is slightly crooked. I think it might be from a minor car accident I was in as a little girl. I didn't actually notice till I was in my mid-twenties.

22. I once tried out for Sale of the Century, but goddamn it I never got called back, despite passing the retarded test with flying colours.

23. My first real boyfriend was a sailor.

24. The most physically low I've ever been laid was over a hellish twenty-fours in a hotel room in Saigon: hot itchy thrush, constant vomit, constant diarrhea, sweating, heat rash, tremors, and nothing but Vietnamese versions of Good Morning Australia on the telly and nothing but a tiny packet of peanuts in the bar fridge.

25. When I was fourteen I made my PE teacher cry. For some reason that escapes me now, I thought it'd be funny if I stood up and yelled out "MS READ-A-THON" and the whole class of us then followed me running out of the gym. This I arranged, and we duly ran out the door. When I went back in (to see why she hadn't come after us?) the poor woman was weeping as if her aerobicised heart was about to break. Fourteen years old: high time to learn that mean stupid behaviour hurts other people.

26. Things at primary school I liked: cusinaire rods, and folding up the flag after Moday morning assembly.

27. My brother is eight years younger than me. I was happy when he was born, although my finches both died because they were left out on the verandah overnight.

28. I've never had any sort of crush on a teacher. Thank Kee-rist.

29. One January day on the beach at St. Kilda I allowed myself to fall asleep, consequently getting burned so badly that I fainted on the bathroom floor. Spose that'll come back to bite me.

30. When I met Dorian, I was vegetarian, but that didn't last! First meat meal: lamb kebab.

31. I get angry a bit too easily. And then I break crockery. But I'm trying to stop indulging in that sort of behaviour.

32. I can't miss The Bill - even though it's utterly shit - or very bad things will happen!

33. In 2002 I borrowed four hundred and nine books from the library.

34. The only New Year's resolution I've ever successfully kept was to not drink Fanta for a whole twelve months. That's the key: choose a resolution you'll never be tempted to break.

35. I am an atheist, and I don't believe in life after death. In fact, I think religion is stupid and venal.

36. But I do believe in tolerance and good manners, and I'm perfectly willing to entertain the idea of alien life forms.

37. I have Australian and Irish citizenship.

38. For my fifth birthday I was given a model yacht, and a rag doll my mother made. Her name was Dolly Dishwasher.

39. I've read all of Agatha Christie's novels, most more than once. (All those published under her own name.)

40. Sometimes I think I should have trained as a textile designer.

41. The Australian bush appeals to me much more in theory than in reality. I can stand it for about a day and a half, then I want to go back to civilisation.

42. Astral Weeks and Twin Peaks helped me through the loneliest six months of my life, when I first left home.

43. My first car was bought for me by my lovely parents. It was an ex-RACV service truck - a Ford Escort panel van - still painted RACV yellow, automatic, and about as fucked-up as a motor vehicle can be. I changed the head gasket myself, following the instructions in the manual, parked on St Kilda esplanade.

44. I got 100% for English Literature in year 12.

45. The only thing I remember being smacked for was cutting a series of eye-holes in the new floor-length curtains down the hallways, circa 1976.

46. The lady who used to look after me before I was old enough for kinder was almost certainly not called Jeannie Little, but I've got it stuck in my brain that she was. Also that she used to do manicures on other women at her kitchen table which involved "soaking" in a bowl of Palmolive dishwashing liquid. An extremely vivd memory which I know is completely false.

47. I swear a lot.

48. The half-dozen or so occasions that idiotic loser men have exposed themselves to me, I've invariably failed to notice until the flashing has been going on for quite some time. This creates an interesting dilemma: does one suddenly start shouting, thereby letting Pervert know one has only just woken up to his tricks? or does one act like nothing's happened and go about humiliating him in subtle, sneaky ways? I've tried both.

49. Skiing terrifies me and I'm really bad at it, as at any kind of sport which involves sliding on wheels or rollers or slippery surfaces.

50. I bite my nails. Deal.

51. I've never written anyone a fan letter.

52. I think my favourite movie is either Beau Travail, Pee Wee's Big Adventure or else Tommy.

53. When I was thirteen years old I liked nothing better than to coat the back of my hand in clag, wait for it to dry, then pick it off with the sharp point of a compass, like a rubbery tacky snake skin. This may be why I can't do long division, nor any other kind of maths taught in year 7.

54. My middle name is Jean.

55. At a friend's 21st birthday party I drank a whole (small) bottle of vodka by myself. Say NO! to country towns!

56. 12 midnight, New Year's Eve, 1990 (?) I pashed a really, really unpleasant fellow I met ten minutes earlier in the disco of the Lady Bay Hotel, Warrnambool. Even while I was kissing him, I knew he was a philistine. I was wearing a dress my grandmother had worn to the wedding of her eldest daughter.

57. I had a book, as a kid, about a rabbit called Hannibal, who was rejected by all the other rabbits becasue he liked the taste of meat.

58. I know all the words to Advance Australia Fair: yes, both verses, der. Additionally, I've a theory that it's a lie that most Australians don't know the words to their own national anthem.

59. I can't speak or read any language but English, feck it!

60. I'm a member of the NTEU.

61. My favourite perfume is Jean-Paul Gaultier, the one in the corset-shaped bottle. If a woman wearing it comes near me I start up uncontrollable sniffing behaviour.

62. The furtherest north I've been in this country is Cooktown. I've never been past Mt. Gambier, travelling sideways.

63. If I had ten thousand dollars, I'd buy a Sidney Nolan painting. Stuff paying off the loan!!

64. My favourite picture in the National Gallery of Victoria is Anguish by August Schenck. What's not to like? In general the oddities and crud in a state collection is usually more fun than the big, serious paintings.

65. I have a port-wine birthmark under my left arm, and a tiny blue tattooed inkspot on my left wrist.

66. I really, really hate going to the doctor.

67. Countries I'd dearly love to visit: Canada, Iran, Russia, Finland.

68. Places I have no interest whatever in going to: Nepal, Germany, Antarctica, New Zealand.

69. I never managed to break the teenage habit of jiggling my legs and fidgeting when I have to sit still for a long time.

70. In cinemas, theatres, on planes, and any other place where I have to share an armrest with a stranger, I'll always just concede rather than get involved in a surreptitious battle of the jostles & nudges.

71. I would like to try novel-writing, but I don't think I've got the confidence not to make a spectacle of myself.

72. I was born in 1972.

73. I used to think I'd never have children, but that's changing.

74. Despite being forced to learn Typing in high school for three years, I can't touch-type. I only use the first two fingers and the thumbs. I think my fingers do know where the keys are, but still, I need to look.

75. I don't have a favourite colour. Guess that means I'd be sucked into the abyss.

76. The last two Federal elections I voted Green, the one before that I voted Democrat, before that, Labor.

77. For about fifteen years I've been collecting Woods Beryl Ware (scroll down for the picture). All I really want now is the butter dish....

78. The best live band I've ever seen was The Flaming Lips, by a country mile.

79. Things I once knew how to do but have long since forgotten: play the flute, surf, orienteer, tap dance, crochet, complicated rope-jumping routines.

80. I feel miserable dressed entirely (or mostly) in black.

81. I worked in retail for nine years, it sucked mightily! But it paid better than what I do now.

82. My earliest food memories are all of offal: lamb's fry, black pudding, and brains. Unsurprisingly, none of these feature prominently in my present diet. The lamb's fry is particularly puzzling since my Mum has said more than once that when she was a little girl, her mother made her sit at the table in front of an uneaten, cold plate of the stuff, long after everyone else had finished and gone away.

83. I only like beer when it's really, really hot (the weather, not the beer.) Even then I'd mostly rather drink cider.

84. Before I took up literary studies I went to art school for two years (that's how long it took me to find out I was quite bad at it.) I studied Drawing.

85. If anyone asks me if I think they should do a PhD, I say NOOOOOO!

86. The last thing I ate was a piece of wholegrain toast with Vegemite.

87. For one night I had a job waiting tables in an Indian restaurant. Highlights of the evening included bringing only one menu to each table, and dropping a tray loaded with open cans of Victoria Bitter down the back of a diner's neck. All very Fawlty Towers. They asked me - nicely - not to come back.

88. I hate talking on the telephone and avoid it whenever possible. I don't have a mobile phone & don't intend to get one.

89. I concentrate and think better late at night than in the morning.

90. Even though I know I'm prone to mumbling, I still have a tendency to mumble, especially (or so it seems to me) when I'm making a conscious effort not to mumble. So I think "don't mumble", then I say something, and my interlocutor leans inward and says, "sorry, what was that?"

91. I love a good Carry On movie.

92. I once ran over a kitten. It was on a country backroad - it just ran out on the road in front of the car & there was nothing at all I could do. I can still see how it looked in the rear view mirror with its tail convulsively thrashing around. This is why Baz is locked inside from dusk to after dawn.

93. I love that there is a character in a Jane Austen story with my name - and she's a real star, too, not one of your walk-on bit-parters - and I feel a little bit sorry for those of you who aren't so fortunate.

94. It's a funny thing, but I feel much more self-conscious fully dressed than I ever do in my bathers or in the dressing room at the pool.

95. Opera bores me.

96. Best piece of advice I ever received: don't tell a friend or acquaintance that you're reading their novel (or going to their play or whatever) until you've actually finished it and know whether you have anything nice to say.

97. First LPs bought with my own money: Wham! Make It Big, The Smiths The Smiths (see number 7 above), and Cyndi Lauper, She's So Unusual. I still have the second two, but shame must've disposed of the first somewhere along the line.

98. I'm reading Bleak House at the moment. Don't know why.

99. I LIKE to procrastinate (see #98).

100. I have work to do.

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Another Outspoken Female said...

I have a cat who could be Baz's twin sister, so I too suffer from #9 syndrome.

Men have (allegedly) walked on the moon, but still no one has invented a devise that really does get the cat hairs off clothes!

Ampersand Duck said...

I can't even begin to start on how many of those I connect with. Let's just say that one day we'll be sitting in the pub mumbling and swearing at each other, peeling the labels off our bottles (the pub equivalent of peeling glue off your fingers) and definitely NOT eating zucchinis.

I miss my ID test on my comments pop-up! the word I just had to type for you made a very rude but satisfying sound which I had to say out loud as I typed it.

Kate said...

Cat hair, dog hair... embarrassing when guests come over to dinner and you serve them food on dog-hair laden plates. Must dust more often!

Lucy Tartan said...

Mumbling, swearing, fidgeting, and laughing. I can hardly wait.

Even though I sticky-roller myself especially carefully before going on planes (the Romance of Air Travel, etc), I still managed to shed cat hair from the sleeve of my back cardigan onto the immaculate sleeve of the immaculately pinstriped suit on the man sitting

Lucy Tartan said...

lapse of concentration due to Latham Spectacular Spectacular on the telly. It's like when Father Ted got the Golden Cleric award - "I'm still doing 'liars', and he goes under 'twats'"....


Scrivener said...

Great list! I still haven't done one of these. Guess I need to get round to it one of these days.

I'd like to hear more about #78. I'm right there with you on #71 and once upon a time I was with you on #73, but I guess the cat's outta that bag. My wife is with you on #20, which is one reason why I've spent so much time teaching my kids right and left.

Ampersand Duck said...

I spent my time watching Latham harrumphing and wishing I could turn the dvd player back on to something more interesting, like 'King' Khan.

I was going to comment about Latham's weird attitude towards women but Naomi beat me to it.


jo(e) said...

What a great list. I too hate to shop or go to the doctor's. And I bite my nails.

But I love to ski.

Lucy said...

skiing is actually the one exception to my fear of sliding activities, maybe because snow is generally softer than other surfaces for falling on.

jacqueline said...

There are copious amounts of cat hair / dog hair in my house, and I have cleverly aquired animals with hair colours ranging across all spectrums: black, white, tan, brown and tabby. Sigh.

Tip of the Day: Warn guests that if they find a dog hair in their dinner, they have to do the dishes. Thus even if they DO find hair, you will never know about it.


Ben.H said...

I'm sorry, I couldn't get past the one about you STEALING the Fluxus Codex. Do you have any idea how much those things cost? Yeah sure you do, cos you linked to the Amazon site. Why the hell didn't I think of that? This is gonna leave me in a snit for at least a week.

eoolc (too easy!)

Lucy Tartan said...

Ben Ben Ben. I didn't steal it. It was borrowed fair and square. I just haven't returned it yet.


Lucy Tartan said...

and frankly, upon reflection, I'm deeply disappointed that you missed the GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY provided by EMIGRATION, for feck's sake, to make a very special selection of library books to take out on long-term loan. YADIA!

Phantom Scribbler said...

Ah, Lucy is here! Did you know that we are the same person? 'Tis true.

I want to know the wherefores of #68. Not that I've been to any of those countries myself; I'm just wondering.

I am also a terrible skier. The first time I ever tried it, I couldn't stop and thus skied right into the picture window of the ski lodge, rather like a bug hitting a car windshield. Lovely. Luckily, I am excellent at drinking hot chocolate in the lodge while other people ski.

I concur on #19. I was missing two teeth, so they moved the eye teeth over. They are nice and pointy. Well-meaning dentists keep offering to cap them for me, but I refuse. I tell them it's an ethnic pride thing: I'm Transylvanian.


liz said...

#20 is so me. I tell everyone to go the way I point, not the way I say.

harry said...

An intensely interesting book on cannibalism is The Buried Soul by Timothy Taylor.

It is one of the most fascinating and thought provoking books I've ever read.

Lucy Tartan said...

Thanks Harry, I will definitely read it.

Anonymous said...

There is one object that can stop your house filling with cat hairs.

It is called a mastiff.

Couldn't stop myself.

I pick my toenails. I mumble too. I talk to myself. I procrastinate so much I become nocturnal. I swear at computer screens.

I went skiing once. I counted the number of times I fell over. When it reached a hundred, I knew this would not be part of my life.

All this is enough evidence to suggest that going into business with me is a very very bad idea.

- barista

boynton said...

This is a novel isn't it? Wonderful stuff.

Because of the canine variation of #9 and because (au contraire) I love wearing black, I learned early on that black dogs make life easier. Especially with double coated labradors. Now there's only 2 dogs with white hair combos round here, I may need to upate my look. Or move out of Melbourne.

Mel said...

Did you ever ruminate bitterly on the irony of driving an ex-RACV vehicle that always broke down? I speak as one whose unreliable car was recommended by the RACV as a reliable model. I think they did it just to get my repeat business.


James Waterton said...

Dunno if anyone mentioned this, but you don't know all the words to the Australian national anthem. It has a little known third verse.

Lucy Tartan said...

Dunno if you clicked the link, James, but the national anthem has only two verses. The song Advance Australia Fair has four or five, I think......

Ben.H said...

OK, fair enough. I once found an unreturned library book left behind in a house I'd moved into and returned it, 20 years overdue.

PS: Forgive the lateness of my reply.


Rod Williams said...

"35. I am an atheist, and I don't believe in life after death. In fact, I think religion is stupid and venal. "

Hahaha. Amen. So do you call yourself a "radical athiest" like Douglas Adams (RIP) used to? I wonder what you think of the great Richard Dawkins...

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Elliott Broidy said...

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