Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The unexamined life

A very long time ago, around when organisms first crawled from primordial soup towards certain violence and bitter disappointment (not intended as a birthing euphemism), the eternally-wise Alyson tagged me in a game of 20ish questions as per the GuardianHere, many evolutionary stages later, follow my answers to the questionnaire, abridged to save on reader eye strain.

You may wish to whip out this affidavit the next time you can't sleep. Or if you ever suspect that your own life is very boring, a quick glance back here should convince you of your rock star powers

Who would play you in the film of your life?
I'd like to say Jessica Rabbit, but I suspect it would be Gene Wilder.

What is your favourite smell?
Earth after a thunderstorm.

Where would you like to live?
In a Taos adobe with a chilli patch.

What is your favourite book?
Something Wicked This Way Comes.

What is your most unappealing habit?

What is your earliest memory?
Discovering vertigo while riding around on my Papa's shoulders.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Cake (all flavours). 

What do you owe your parents?
Lots of things, including a carrot cake. 

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
See previous question and explanatory letter (Mom, the cake is in the mail). 

What does love feel like?
Even better than cake - which is a pretty high bar.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Dishwasher at a country cafe. Putting aside issues of pay and boredom, melted cheese is murder to get off plates.  

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I admire my grandfathers. They are both veterans, humourists, wise men, and all round nice guys. One of them baptised me, and the other is a spitting likeness of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood fused.  

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A pair of car-seats. The deposit was modest, but the payment plan is quite long term. 

How do you relax?
Hmm? Relax? Is that Latin? 

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Lost in wanderland.
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
I once wandered off barefoot into a rattlesnake-infested Utah desert with no water, lost in thought. It got dark and I got actually lost. Years later I wandered off and got deeply lost in a bear-infested Wyoming wilderness. Luckily, this time I was armed with water and Papa. In both instances I (or rather Papa in the latter) muddled back to civilization eventually.

Happily, I now live in England, where one is never more than five miles from a pub, thus totally safe from dehydration and bear-snake attack. 

When were you happiest?
Here's another Wyoming memory. 

About six years ago, my beloved and I pitched a tent in Wyoming (not a euphemism). We cooked dinner over a pine fire, kicked in the coals and went to sleep. Deep in the night I heard a creature sniffling, circling, slouching towards our tent. My mind painted a picture of a huge ravenous woman-eating bear (not shocking considering my extreme fear of bears - they carry my mugshot and are sworn to eat me on site). 

Being a sheepish chicken, I nudged Papa to communicate that he should go chase off the beastie with his bare hands, or with a can of soup, or whatever else he could find. With admirable courage in the face of extreme sleepiness, he stumbled out of the tent. 

Silence. A spate of crackling. More silence. Then in a hoarse whisper: 'You better come out here.' 

I swallowed my sheep-chicken instincts and pushed through the tent-flap. There it was - the brilliant Milky Way. It looked bigger and brighter and more beautiful than ever before - like all the stars of time and space collected in a net and scattered across my corneas. Papa and I held hands and gaped at the beauty of creation (again, not a euphemism) before retiring back to sleep. 

As it turned out, the creature we'd heard was just nearly-spent campfire embers, crackling a last hurrah before returning to dust. We were better at putting out our fires after that (as above). 

My fabricated bear-beast continued to stalk our tent for the entire duration of the trip, never quite showing its evil face. 

Any victims you'd like to pass this on to? 
Here is a no-obligation invitation to three lovely bloggers with far more exciting lives than mine to complete the Guardian questionnaire (or the bits of it they want to) should they feel inclined to do so:
Dummies and Dog Hairs
Scandinavian Sojourn
What Are We Doing Today Mummy?


  1. Loved that list. Particularly the Milky Way story.

  2. OMG you are so kind to remember me and nudge me - my lack of current blogging activity nags at me every day, which compounds the problem. My life is definitely LESS exciting than yours! I consider myself tagged (by the way, if you are a Slogger, what on EARTH am I? x

  3. Done. And there was I planning an early night. Well you got me back into the saddle, so to speak....

  4. A Taos adobe with a chili patch sounds very lovely. Lovelier still would be a Taos adobe with a chili patch on the day after it rains, and the smell of wet clay earth in the slightly misty air.

  5. Thanks A Farmer's Wife, I suspect you have a similarly beautiful starry sky from your back porch every night (lucky, lucky).

    Zookeeper, you are super-speedy, and compared to you I am a super-slogger!

    Mila - that's exactly, exactly it - I'm filled with a sort of homesick nostalgia just remembering it.

  6. LOVE your story about the Milky Way. In a few weeks we are moving to somewhere quite far up a mountain. The daytime view is the whole reason for going. We are also hoping for beautiful skies at night.


    PS. Please try not to wander off...

  7. Ah Bibsey Mama, you have your priorities so straight. Someday I'll get brave and move up a mountain for the view. Till then, you'll have to periodically remind me what the stars look like...

  8. Thanks A Farmer's Wife, I suspect you have a similarly beautiful starry sky from your back porch every night (lucky, lucky).

    Zookeeper, you are super-speedy, and compared to you I am a super-slogger!

    Mila - that's exactly, exactly it - I'm filled with a sort of homesick nostalgia just remembering it.

  9. I would LOVE to live in a Taos adobe. And I LOVE cake so describing love as better than that is perfect. :)

    Good list.

  10. Now that is beautiful and makes me want to find some kind of wanderland. I think I can definitely see the pub from here.

  11. That had me chuckling away. I'm SO jealous about Wyoming (apart from the near death experience) - I'd love to go there.