Pretend You Know Who I Am

More mind-exercising (exorcising?) questions from the Irish Bird Assassin.

1. Guide Me, Swami—What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? And what is the worst advice you’ve ever been given – or, in the alternative: what is the worst example that you have followed, legitimately believing it to be a good one?

The best advice I have ever received may sound terribly cliche, but it is to “be myself”.  It’s advice that I have no problem following in some situations, but in others, being myself is terrifying.  I can be a chameleon and fit into almost any situation, and usually do it without losing my sense of self.  But, when it comes to desire… well, my struggles are self-evident in these very pages.

The worst advice I have ever been given is to stop being too nice.  I understand the spirit in which it was offered and yet it makes me bristle.  As much as I lose myself in desire, the one thing I cannot, will not, change is my proclivity toward kindness.  It is important to me.  I have done mean and unkind things and have done things of which I am completely ashamed, so I am far from perfection, but the value of compassion and kindness cannot be overestimated.  If you don’t appreciate that in a person, you won’t like me much.  Unless you catch me on a bad day… then I can be a right ass.

2. Stoopid Facebook—Do you have MySpace, or participate in any other social networking arenas besides Facebook? FB is obviously a time- and energy-sucker, but do you find that, overall, it has had a more positive or negative effect on your life since you’ve been involved? Can you foresee a time/circumstance in which you would leave it for good?

I don’t quite understand the Cult of Anti-Facebook.  Is it a timekiller?  If you allow it to be.  Can it be a proxy for “real” interaction?  Connections are made in many ways, and frankly, Facebook allows me to reconnect with people whom I would have, and did, lose contact because of my own unwillingness to pick up a telephone or write a letter. So, it has been a remarkably positive experience for me.  It has also been a wonderful exercise in honesty for me.  Others may fill their profiles with chaff, and that’s fine, but I prefer to make at least some small statements in mine.  It’s a soapbox, a megaphone, a mirror, and a prism.  It’s my audience, and I am theirs.  And it’s full of people I like and trust to varying degrees.  I would leave Facebook if a majority of those I know on FB were to leave, because the primary reason for being there would be gone.  It still seems pretty cool that the whole thing is free.  As for those pesky ads… my browser and a nice little add-on leave my online experience almost ad free, so those are no issue.

3. The Dream Journals—Do you think that anyone would pay to watch your dreams onscreen? What sort of movie fans would find them the most interesting?

My dreams would end up at the local art house cinema, or as part of an undergrad’s pretentious surrealist manifesto in Film 101.  My dreams are linear – to a certain degree – but jump the shark early and often.  Things and people transform constantly so that logic loses all meaning.  There is no middle, beginning and end to the “narrative”.  And that bears itself out in my conscious moments, as I am a ridiculously poor storyteller.

My dreams are a pastiche of memories that string together. The flow of events in them are unique, but everything in my dreams is built upon an actual experience or sense memory.

If you want to pay to see something overblown, mind-numbing and/or confusing, I can point you to Baz Luhrman, Ken Russell or Michael Bay, all of whom have done that better than me.  So, I hope no one would be foolish enough to pay to see mine… but they probably would.  People are dumb sometimes.

4. The Ole College Try—What one thing could each of us humans do, to make things better for each other?

Accept complexity.  So often we get bogged down in trying to shoehorn the beautiful awesome fantastic-ness of this world into a vision made up of black and white.  Imagine if we would base our judgements upon each individual situation?  Are there certain similarities across situations and people?  Certainly.  But look to the complexity and uniqueness of each thing you encounter and the diversity that makes up our small corner of the universe almost makes your head explode.  Not everyone who is politically opposed to your views is an ignorant idiot, not every criminal has a dark soul, not every child is an angel, not every Christian acts like it, not every Buddhist finds enlightenment, not every tragedy offers hope, not every cloud brings rain – and most important… not every question has an answer.  Once you observe that and accept that, it’s liberating. It allows you to love without conditions.  I’m not there, but getting microscopically closer every day.

5. Animal House—As you know (and may or may not regret by this point), I find it very easy to talk to you, and we share confidences readily and often. This leads me to think that if we lived closer, we would spend more time together, and our lives would intermingle in interesting ways. Imagine if we shared a large house filled with a few friends. Who would you invite to live there? (Descriptive nicknames only, please! Let’s protect the innocent…and ourselves!) And, most importantly: why?

Regret trust?  Never!  It’s one of the kindest things someone can share with me.

When it comes right down to it, I am terribly picky about with who I spend my time.  There are people who are far from me with whom I wish I had the opportunity to spend more time.  I’d want my friend, The Choir Director, because he has a way of inspiring me, making me laugh and challenging me.  We would have to invite Lola Granola because every house needs someone dedicated to healthy eating and free love.  Anyone in whom we are romantically interested is off the list, because that’s just the kind of chemical toxicity that makes an Animal House unbearable.  The Social Worker is a must, because every house needs someone who is just plain fun.

That would do it for me.  Now, how about you?


3 thoughts on “Pretend You Know Who I Am

  1. 1. I think that under the right circumstances it would be very instructive for me to experience you being “a right ass” – difficult as it may be to imagine. I’ve never, in all the years I’ve known you, thought that of you.
    2. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” [Abraham Maslow, but not you!] Your ability to see, and use, the value (and to ignore the downsides) is one of the things that I love about you. You’re hard on yourself but you seem so sunny-hearted (on the outside)….
    3. It sounds like I would pay to see your dreams, for sure! And Baz Luhrman is a favorite of mine; “Strictly Ballroom” is one of my absolute LOVES.
    4. A terrific answer. You always give me lots to think about!
    5. …like this one, which wound me up so much that it’s taken forEVER to respond to your thoughtful post. I would invite Fluffy, because she’s the best at late-night heart-to-hearts, and driving to nowhere to clear your mind. (She also bakes like a dream!) Birthday Boy would be on my list for a dozen reasons, but his phenomenal taste in and love for music, skill with cooking, and ability to recommend awesome books are great ones (all right, so is his prodigious bank account). And finally, if the house were sufficiently large and perhaps only if we were wealthy enough to have an outside cleaning service, an excellent addition to our crew would be Loopy-Doopy. She’s flighty and an inveterate slob, but she has the best heart of anyone I’ve ever known. Plus she’s a creative cook, she’s always up for doing something without being too ON all the time, and she’s just soothing to be around.
    When do we move in? 🙂

  2. Your responses always make my day! Your questions always inspire and seem to bring out some of my best thoughts.

    1. It’s not terribly instructive, although I am capable of petty and petulant behavior. In fact, I exercised my prerogative this evening with someone who has become less of a friend. I am not proud to say I ignored her completely, and I did not feel terrible about it. (Paying attention to her would have taken more emotional effort than I wanted to expend for someone who has decided she has no time for me) I feel a bit ashamed now, however, because my actions tonight ran counter to my sense of compassion. Curse my inability to be a complete asshole!
    2. Honestly, I am a relatively optimistic person most of the time. I believe that the angels of our better nature ultimately do win out. And while I question myself constantly and possibly undervalue myself a bit, I definitely take it easy on myself overall. I’m kind of a wuss that way. 🙂
    3. I’m sorry, but I still cannot forgive Baz Luhrman for his adaptation of Romeo and Juliet – some interesting ideas, but really kind of blecchy. Of course, I have not seen “Strictly Ballroom”, so I am willing to withhold final judgement based upon your recommendation.
    4. That is one of those answers that appeared in a moment of inspiration. It’s one of my favorite questions that you have asked.
    5. With the house full of wonderful people, I am ready to move in right now!

  3. 1. Perhaps not instructive in the general sense, but I think it would be both for me as a seeking/growing/learning individual and also for me as your friend.
    Also, there is such a vast difference between “being a right arse” and “not dancing attention on someone who’s failed to give you even the barest minimum of friendship when you’ve really needed it”. Forgive yourself your honest reactions; give yourself a little grace in this.
    2. Questioning ourselves is, I think, sometimes what allows those angels to come to the surface. I know that mine often carries my conscience with him.
    3. OMGOMGOMG, you have to see Strictly Ballroom!!! It is funny/silly, “dramatic” in the most wonderful sense of the word, romantic (without being at all cloying), and just so ineffably…Australian. Mmmmm! I’ve seen it five, maybe eight times, and every single time I’ve ended up on my knees 3 feet from the TV with tears streaming down my cheeks at the end.
    *LOVE* that movie.
    (And my copy is being held hostage by a nitwit, too. Dang it!)
    4. Mister, I like the way you think.
    5. I wonder what our selections would feel about this process? Hee hee hee….

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