Damn Peenee! The evil creature has sentenced me via blogtag to write ten honest things about myself. Given that to me the whole point of blogging is a certain amount of obfuscation, this runs against the grain; add in the whole WASP “never begin a paragraph with ‘I’” background, and you have recipe for, if not disaster, then certainly discomfort.
Even so, when duty calls…
Herewith, my answers to the Honest Blogger Tag:
1. Just in case any of you were worrying/wondering: there really are a Mr. Muscato and a Koko the Wonder Dog, although neither is likely to respond if called by those names. They are both as wonderful as you might think from my feeble attempts at description, which sometimes leaves me gobsmacked at my good fortune. I may not be as beguiling as advertised, but they easily are, or more so.
2. I love our life here, but there are times – and they are usually trying times – when I truly, deeply, madly wish we lived somewhere more interesting. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, and the people are lovely, and we live lavishly…and there’s absolutely nothing to do on a weekend night. A slight exaggeration, but only slight. I miss old movies in rep houses, I miss live theatre of any kind, and concerts, and dancing, and smoky dark cabarets. I miss wandering around a neighborhood of clever little restaurants and trendy boutiques, and, alright, I’ll say it: I miss drinking in public – a glass of wine at a sidewalk café, say, and I miss drinking that wine while eating a pork chop and wearing shorts.
3. The weight: really must do something about it. And every passing month makes it harder to lose.
4. I might be the biggest walking stereotype you’ll ever meet. I really do love Judy Garland, and I do cry every time Beth dies in Little Women, and I can’t throw a ball to save my soul. I listen to Bette Midler albums and I quote Joan Crawford, and the way that I’ve most identified with my semi-adopted culture, Egypt, is by getting crushes on its divas and Big Movie Ladies. I’ve spent untold hours eradicating my sibilant “S” (having lived the childhood described by David Sedaris in his essay about speech therapy), and sitting in Big Serious Business Meetings I doodle random ideas for what I think Kate Middleton should wear when announcing her engagement. My wrists? Don’t ask; those hands are all over the place. My principal compromises with conformity and advancing age have been renouncing high-maintenance hair, my earring, and most cosmetics. I miss them all.
5. Egypt. I really do love the place in some way that approaches the mystical. When I was in third grade, like many kids, I went through an Egypt phase, but in my case it never went away. I was obsessive and weird, and I spent my teen years memorizing pharaonic succession tables and trying to teach myself Ancient Egyptian (note to any weird, obsessive teens reading this: you can’t). When I finally, as middle age approached, got to Cairo, it was everything I had thought it would be and more. And right there waiting for me was the love of my life, which when you think about it is almost too neatly tied up.
6. There is nothing in the world I like eating so much as well made mashed potatoes. Necessities: well-cooked potatoes, cream, butter, salt, pepper, maybe just a little garlic. Atrocities: cheese, bacon bits, chives, and the most horrendous of all possibilities, the addition of other root vegetables. My Great-Aunt Edna once tried to slip parsnips into hers, and I’m still recovering from the shock four decades later.
7. I have drifted away from far too many old friends simply by virtue of living so far away from them. It’s hard to keep up, and somehow all the new technologies don’t make it, really, any less so. The hard truth is that you are not there for either the good or the bad times, and the bank of shared memories that makes for great friendship becomes too rarely replenished to sustain the connection. I miss many of them, but in an increasingly abstract way that probably seems harsh and uncaring. I don’t think it is, but maybe I am harsh and uncaring.
8. Odd vanity: my elbows. I remember, when I was a young boy-about-town, thinking that the saddest sign of aging was ugly, wrinkly, loose-skinned elbows. It therefore makes me unreasonably, secretly proud of my taut, boyish arm joints.
9. When it comes to Barbie, I’m with Peenee, although I can go him one better: not only was she a guilty pleasure of my queer boyhood, but in the mid-80s I was, for a spell, a rabid collector (you should have expected that, I suppose, from #4). Somewhere in storage I have more than 50 Barbies, Midges, Teresas, various tragic knockoffs, a battered Julia, and even a coveted Billy Boy Barbie (that's her, albeit not actually mine, to the left - the most fab 80s outfit imaginable, although almost all now have lost their original glam updo as the rubber bands rot. Why do I still know this?). And lots and lots of clothes and tiny shoes.
10. This was surprisingly a great deal easier than I had expected. Perhaps I ought to sit down and think about myself more often. Since one of my greatest fears is succumbing to what I have always thought was potentially crippling narcissism, this idea is making me very anxious.
Time to go have that glass of wine, even if I can’t do it on the sidewalk…
Now I have to tag people: I'm going sic this one on Angry (and I bet she does it, 'cause she's a good sport) and MJ (who definitely is not and probably will not, but whose tantrum about not doing it will be as amusing as if she had).