Wednesday, September 29, 2004

109 Things

Because I don't know when to put the crayons down. Enjoy.

  1. I graduated from high school barefoot.
  2. It was an accident: my sandal strap broke as we were processing to the bleachers and all I could do was kick both of them off.
  3. No one believed it was an accident.
  4. I went to the “Alternative School” that was part of the regular high school.
  5. My friend who was behind me in the processional kicked her sandals off in solidarity.
  6. Both of us came out in college.
  7. But we never had a thing for each other.
  8. People often assume I’m a vegetarian.
  9. That friend who kicked her sandals off? She also suggested we go to the senior prom together, as a couple.
  10. At that time, students had to go to the prom in boy-girl pairs. That’s how the tickets were sold.
  11. I said I didn’t think we should.
  12. I’ve always regretted that.
  13. I have never been a vegetarian. Not even close.
  14. As a kid, I once got a second-degree steam burn because I was reading by the light of the night-light while the vaporizer was on (I had a cold, probably because I was always staying up too late reading) and stuck my elbow in the vaporizer.
  15. After that, my mom let me stay up as late as I wanted to read. With the light on.
  16. I am pretty good at imitating accents.
  17. Another thing I did once when I was a kid: gave myself a black eye.
  18. It wasn’t a self-mutilation thing. Or not the way you might think.
  19. I was lying in bed, bored, wondering how people actually got black eyes, and started punching myself in the eye, experimentally, to see what it felt like.
  20. Eventually it started to hurt and I stopped.
  21. In the morning, I had a black eye. No one could understand how it had happened.
  22. My parents split up when I was 7.
  23. I never thought it was my fault.
  24. Or wanted them to get back together.
  25. I was born in Manhattan and lived on the Upper West Side until I was 5.
  26. Then we moved to New Jersey.
  27. I didn’t want to move. Really, really didn’t want to.
  28. One good thing about my parents’ divorce was that my dad moved back to the Upper West Side and I got to visit him there most weekends.
  29. The Upper West Side was not fancy when we lived there, especially above 100th street, where we lived and where my dad moved to.
  30. The apartment my family left in 1971 is still rent-controlled.
  31. I have only recently forgiven my parents for moving to New Jersey.
  32. They were worried that the public school I would be sent to wasn’t safe, and it was cheaper to move to the suburbs than to pay for private school.
  33. My daughter starts kindergarten next year, and I am already obsessing about it.
  34. My mother lives in Israel now.
  35. The first car I owned was a blue 1971 Dodge Dart that used to belong to my grandfather.
  36. I bought it from my dad for $1.00.
  37. A friend and I drove it cross-country on our way to Alaska to can salmon for the summer.
  38. By the time we got to Seattle, we weren’t speaking.
  39. We are speaking again now, but it took a while.
  40. I have a freakishly good memory for song lyrics.
  41. I am a slob.
  42. I have a collection of old New Yorker magazines that I’ve been saving for years.
  43. I don’t do yard work.
  44. As far as I can remember, I’ve only successfully completed three craft projects in my life.
  45. Two of them were no-sew fleece throws that I did last year.
  46. The third was a sewing sampler from the Plimoth Plantation that my cousin gave me when I was about 10.
  47. I have a younger brother and a younger stepsister.
  48. My father, my brother, my (female) cousin, and I are all married to non-Jewish women; all four spouses have an interest in the Renaissance and are also only children.
  49. I don’t wear a watch because whenever I try to, I take them off and lose them.
  50. This means I am always frantically searching any room I am in for a clock.
  51. My mom sometime used to let me stay home from school to finish a big assignment the day it was due.
  52. I still have almost no self-discipline.
  53. But I got excellent grades all through high school.
  54. They were only okay in college, except in my major.
  55. My major was English Literature. I rocked at that.
  56. I have never belonged to a book group.
  57. I cut my own hair.
  58. I’ve been going gray since college.
  59. I have severe psoriasis, but not as bad as that guy in The Singing Detective.
  60. As a result of #59, I have overcome a lifelong fear of needles and learned to inject myself with an insanely expensive prescription drug which keeps the psoriasis down.
  61. It’s kind of a thrill.
  62. I have an early-summer birthday, which was great as a kid because there was no school but mostly people hadn’t left town yet.
  63. The first rock concert I went to was REO Speedwagon.
  64. My parents bought tickets for me and 3 friends as a 15th birthday present.
  65. I also saw The Who at Shea Stadium my junior year in high school.
  66. I took my little brother with me, and almost lost him in the crowd when I insisted on trying to sneak down for better seats and he didn’t want to.
  67. I had my first boyfriend when I was 14-going-on-15.
  68. He owned a moped.
  69. My mom told me not to ride on it with him, but I did anyway.
  70. I felt like a rebel and a bad girl.
  71. I was not a rebel or a bad girl; in fact, I was embarrassingly good, except for that moped thing.
  72. When I was about 17, I decided I wanted to try pot. I told my friend, who told the local dealer, who was a sweet, spacey boy who’d known me since 2nd grade.
  73. He told my friend that he wouldn’t sell her pot if it was for me.
  74. I was pissed off but also kind of touched.
  75. I went to a drama camp and was in the drama club in high school.
  76. But I kept getting cast as the maid.
  77. I decided I wasn’t really cut out for acting.
  78. I discovered Sylvia Plath when I was 13 and memorized several of her poems.
  79. I also wrote poetry.
  80. I don’t write poetry any more.
  81. Well, hardly any.
  82. I do have a residual fondness for Sylvia Plath’s poems, but I don’t think I would’ve liked her as a person.
  83. I kept a numbered series of journals, which I called “notebooks,” from 1973 until about 1995.
  84. I was originally inspired by Harriet the Spy.
  85. My spouse and I were friends for 6 years before we got together romantically.
  86. She was the first person I met in Seattle.
  87. I don’t like dogs.
  88. I got a cat for my 3rd birthday and named her Mary.
  89. We had to give Mary away when I was 7 because my brother was allergic.
  90. Growing up, I always thought I would move back to New York when I could, but after one miserable post-college year in Brooklyn I decided the city was too much for me and left, thinking I could always move back later.
  91. My spouse hates New York.
  92. My daughter likes New York.
  93. I nourish fond hopes that she’ll move there when she grows up.
  94. I spent a summer in Alaska in a tent city, working in a salmon cannery for 100 hours a week.
  95. I got carpal tunnel syndrome, which I still have.
  96. I also learned how to make a fire in a fire pit on one match. I can still do that, too.
  97. I learned how to cook from the Moosewood Cookbook.
  98. I hardly ever do real cooking any more.
  99. I voluntarily went to a Jewish supplementary (after-school) school for 2 years in high school.
  100. I flunked my driver’s test the first time for going through a stop sign.
  101. I might have flunked the second time too, but back then they didn’t test parallel parking in New Jersey.
  102. I have never been to Florida. I have now! [December 2004]
  103. But I’ve been to Hawaii. Once. For three days.
  104. I have rarely had a full night’s sleep on a school- or work-day.
  105. My job starts at 8:00 in the morning.
  106. I can’t believe I’ve been at this job for almost 7 years.
  107. My first job after college was writing the Oils, Fats, and Waxes column for a chemical marketing newsletter.
  108. I was rotten at it, partly because I knew nothing about chemistry or marketing and partly because I completely lacked the reporter’s instinct for timeliness and brevity.
  109. I had to edit this list even to get it down even to 108 109 items.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Els - loved your list. Laughed and laughed. I can vicariously keep in touch w/ you via your blog. Alice.

7:01 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Alice! Hi! So glad you came to visit and liked the list. Give my best to everyone at the compound.

10:51 PM  
Blogger jilbur said...

morbidly curious about #60: methotrexate? We have these in common: 15-ish (my mother had to reconcile my habit of staying up til the wee hours when I was a child); 16; 40; 58; 97.

12:27 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Embrel. Used to take Methotrextate, but after the first liver biopsy I decided I'd rather learn to shoot up.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you are always so nice about my various dogs.


6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re no. 49: Have you ever found yourself checking the time on cash register receipts, bus tickets, etc.? A bizarre habit of non-watch-wearers.

re. no. 83: I did this too, and I *still* call them Notebooks, and I still slam them shut!

yrs truly, Ellen's friend E Wein

7:48 AM  
Blogger Rosie Bonner said...

Oh, elswhere! If we weren't already friends, I'd know we were made for each other. Do you know how many of these items we match on? 22, by my count (and I was being pretty strict with what counts as a match). Except I failed my first driver's test by going through a red light, rather than a stop sign. And it was the absence of parallel parking on a different state's driver's test (not NJ's) that accounts for my having my license today.

And YES, Ellen's friend E Wein, I am continually checking the time on ATM and store receipts (as well as sneaking sidelong looks at the watches of people next to me on the bus).

11:18 AM  
Blogger debangel said...

Hi again! (Followed your link from Phantom's site) Us lefties gotta stick together.

They test for parallel parking in NJ now?? Back when I got my 1st DL there, that was the only way I passed, I planned to fail it (and succeeded!). I only parallel-parked for the first time about three weeks ago.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Alison C. said...

Okay, I somehow happened to look at this list today for the first time. I love this list, and love being a part of your history :-)

I do have a slight correction though for #72 & #73, if it's referring to the incident I was involved in. I believe that the sweet spacey local dealer in fact did break down and give us some "pot," which I have ever after believed was actually oregano, but what did we know? :-)

12:55 PM  

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