It’s been a few months since I was last linked to a blog award — I was starting to think you all didn’t love me! — but the award train is back. Mommy Rotten awarded me the Versatile Blogger award a couple of weeks ago. (Thanks Ms Rotten!) As my regular readers know, I don’t do chain letters, chain emails, or chain blog awards (or chainmail, but that’s a different story). But I do have a compulsion for talking about myself and the attention span of a gnat, so I thought I’d (hopefully) amuse everyone with 7 fun facts about myself.
Plus, I’ve been goaded into it. Mommy Rotten said, “I picked those versatile individuals who I thought would have the funniest things to say about themselves.” Really, Mommy? Funny? No pressure or anything, right? Mind you, I was at the bottom of the list, so perhaps you’re only expecting me to be mildly entertaining.
I can do ‘mildly entertaining’.
1. I am totally a cat person… When I was 2 1/2 years old, I decided I wanted my own cat. Every day I asked my parents, “Please can I have a cat?” And every day they said no. Because we lived in a caravan park, because we didn’t have space for a cat, because we didn’t have the money for a cat, and because (above all) my Dad is allergic to cats. But day after day I asked the question. “Please can I have a cat?” After several years (or possibly weeks), I stopped asking. I got smart. I got cunning.
I didn’t ask for two days. Two. Whole. Days. And then, when I was grocery shopping with Mum, I asked, “Please can we buy some cat food?”
“Cat food?” she repeated. “Why would we buy cat food?”
“Because if we buy cat food, Daddy will have to let us have a cat to eat it!”
I got my cat the very next day.
2. … because even nice dogs can be scary. I’m not a dog person. If a dog starts sniffing at me, licking me, or looking at me with cute “puppy dog eyes” I have to fight the urge to flee, vomit, or cuff it upside the head. If it’s your dog doing any of those things (and you do nothing to make it stop) my esteem for you starts plummeting. I don’t like dogs. They’re too dependent, too overtly affectionate, and too eager to please. (I’ll take my cat with a mile-wide independent streak and a subtle hatred of the world, thankyouverymuch.)
But there was one dog, once, whom I came to love.
His name was Bundy, and he was a Rhodesian Ridgeback cross (I don’t know with what). My family inherited him when I was 17. He had been abused and then abandoned by his previous owner, and was on the way to the pound when my Dad saw him and brought him home. Mum hated him. She made it clear that he could stay one week. One. And then Bundy started sitting behind her when she hung the clothes on the line, “protecting” her from the birds of the neighbourhood, and one week stretched into two. Then three. Then a month. Then ten years.
Bundy was big and aggressive. He bit more than one idiot who decided that coming into our yard without one of the family was a good idea because “dogs like me” or “Bundy’s met me before”. He was big and aggressive, but oh so gentle and caring when it came to “his people”. He’d grasp us gently by the wrist and tug at our arms, dragging us to see his latest treasure (which was often a dead animal that had dared enter his territory) without so much as denting our skin. He’d sit guard whenever we were outside, chasing away birds and insects that tried to get too close. (Mind you, when we were inside he’d just lie there and watch those same birds eat the food out of his bowl.)
He was big and aggressive, but I was never scared of him. I never had reason to be. And then one night, when I was 18, I staggered home at 2:00am, a few drinks sloshing in my belly, and decided to sneak in the back way so as not to wake my parents. I walked as silently as possible to the side gate, reached over, and clicked the latch up. I was about to push the gate open when out of the darkness came a massive, growling, frothing monster.
The beast slammed into the gate so hard I was sent sprawling backwards. But not before I felt his hot breath on my face, his teeth barely missing my nose as they snapped closed.
I landed hard and let out a gasp of pain and surprise and (need I say it) fear.
The snarling stopped. Silence. A questioning sound from Bundy.
“Bundy?” I said, my voice quivering a little.
He whined apologetically, his tail swishing slowly and rhythmically against the fence. I got up and called his name again before I reached my hand over to unlatch the gate. He pushed his muzzle against my hand and licked my palm gently before backing off every-so apologetically. He was extra-attentive the next few days.
I learned two things from this experience. (1) Never try to sneak into a yard with a dog, even if he loves you. (2) Being terrified for your life does wonders to sober you up.
3. I am often unnecessarily verbose. I know. Shocking, isn’t it?
4. My brain lives in a historically mythological dimension. Did you know that Cupid was Aphrodite’s son? Or that after Loki cut off Sif’s golden locks of hair, he had actual golden hair made for her as a replacement? Did you know that Easter is variant of the heathen festival of Ostara? Or that in the year 1000, Iceland voted to adopt Christianity as its primary religion in order to be allowed to continue trading with the mainland? Did you know that the Dreamtime has no past or future? Or that the Celestial Bureaucracy has hundreds of gods and goddesses who operate within an organisation similar to an old Chinese political system?
I know all those things and more.
What I don’t know is anything about current events, reality TV stars, modern political figures, and the name of that actor who played the bad guy in that movie with the girl who sang the song about the flowers.
5. If you want to know something, call me. My sister does this. We live a long way from each other and communicate sporadically (once a day for two weeks, then not for six months, then a couple of times a month, etc.). It’s not at all unusual for our first phone conversation in months to go something like this:
Sis: Hey. What’s goulash?
Me: It’s a type of food. Like stew.
Sis: Cool. Thanks.
Me: No prob.
Sis: It’s me.
Sis: Spaghetti or lasagna?
You may be thinking that these conversations make more sense in context. But here’s the thing: there is no context. There is just this.
6. Don’t come to me for sympathy. My husband once (famously) told me that I was as sympathetic as a plank of wood. He complains that I’m not sympathetic if he’s hurt or sick. Even the boys know not to come to me with whinges and complaints and expect me to give them a cuddle and feel sorry for them — and one of them’s only just a year old. No boys, if you want outpourings of vicarious pain, go talk to your father. He’s the sympathetic one.
All that being said, I don’t think I’m unsympathetic. I care a lot about people (sometimes too much, in fact) and have a tendency to take their pain on to myself. I just have no patience for people who don’t help themselves.
Got a headache? I’m sympathetic. I really am. What can I do to help?
Wait. What do you mean you’ve had a headache for hours and you haven’t (a) taken any painkillers, or (b) stopped staring at the computer screen? Yeah, so my sympathy’s all dried up.
Or, in the words I use with my four-year-old: “I’m really sorry you hurt yourself. Do you need a kiss? Now, what did you learn about jumping off dining room chairs? What are you going to do differently in the future?”
Come on, if trying to prevent a repeat of the situation doesn’t qualify as “showing compassion”, I don’t know what does.
7. I’ve learned that dancing is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. And after three of Big Brother’s dance classes, he’s loving it more and more. We’re treated to daily dance recitals, and he talks about his next dance class all week long. But I’m not sure I’m really equipped to be a “Dance Mum”. There’s the time spent waiting outside the studio, the time spent preparing costumes and uniforms, the shoes, the fashion, the practice, and the money.
Oh yes, the money. I’d say I’ll need a second job to support the
habit hobby lifestyle, but that would imply that I already have a paying job. Anyone know the going rate for a kidney? And what’s that in dance shoes?
I’m not going to forward this award on to anyone, even though I’m supposed to tag 7 people and then wait for the
money love to come rolling in. Sorry. I should have added “I’m not much fun” to my list of 7 things.