Twenty-five Things about Shani (by Shani)
1. I need to sleep about nine hours a day to flourish. I also need to read for pleasure for about an hour a day. I can skimp on either or both, but sooner or later I have to make up the deficiency.
2. I am essentially the same person I always was. My earliest childhood memories have me thinking in ways that seem entirely consistent with the way my 37 year old self would. I just have more information now. My current friendships also seem to be analogues to earlier ones, which makes it convenient when people from different stages of my life meet. Everyone generally gets along splendidly.
3. I love all forms of transportation (cars, horses, trains, airplanes, motorcycles, boats…). The open road (ocean, sky, space) calls to me. I’m an excellent driver. Transportation is a longstanding passion, when I was a child my parents would drive me around the block to put me to sleep. There may be a genetic component to this, my grandfather was a truck driver and pilot. These days the sound of trains in the distance lulls me to sleep. I’d like to get into sailing someday and I’d really love to get my pilot’s license.
4. My secret mutant power is the ability to find good parking spaces. It’s uncanny.
5. I’ve considered myself an agnostic ever since I was four and first learned about the Greek pantheon. The thought of the ancient Greeks believing in their gods left a deep impression on me and utterly spoiled me for religious indoctrination. I also don’t remember a time when I didn’t know the deal about Santa Claus, but I kept quiet because I thought my parents believed in him. Obviously I hadn’t worked out all the details.
6. I would wear the same clothing every day if I could get away with it (with fresh underwear, of course). Time spent deciding what to wear just seems like time stolen from my real life. I love the thought of Einstein’s closet of identical outfits.
7. Self awareness and integrity, rather than humility, were the things to strive for in my family. To this day, I don’t mind arrogance when it’s justified, though I find that it rarely is. I am amused that my fiancé is so very humble about his awesomeness.
8. Since I was about 11 I’ve been an occasional lucid dreamer, meaning that I become conscious that I’m dreaming within the dream and can choose to exert a godlike control over the experience. When I realize that I’m dreaming I usually choose to fly.
10. When I was really little I was fascinated with colors (still am, that’s probably the thing I like best about knitting) and would spend time playing with the tubes of oil paint my mother had scattered around the house. When I went to be tested for kindergarten I wowed the tester with the names for colors I came up with. This set the stage for all future academic achievement.
11. I believe I feel physical pain more acutely than most people and it takes a significantly greater amount of painkiller to achieve the desired numbing effect on me. Interestingly, this appears to be a redhead thing.
12. I love books. I find it enormously comforting to be surrounded by books. I think of books as my friends and confidantes. I enjoy owning books and I don’t much care for libraries. I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that I spent a good deal of my childhood convinced that the library police were going to come and take my parents to jail for my failure to return overdue books. I received a letter to that effect at some point and thought we were only a step ahead of the law every time we moved. It’s because I know what it’s like to be a fugitive that I’m now immobilized by my books.
13. I do not believe birth order or astrology have anything to do with personality (well, perhaps a smidge on the margins for birth order), but people keep correctly guessing that I'm an only child and an Aries.
14. For many years I had an elaborate 100 question test which I used to screen potential suitors. The love of my life turns out to be someone who knew of the test’s existence but wasn’t interested in seeing it. In retrospect, perhaps the test could have been boiled down to a single question: “are you willing to jump through arbitrary hoops?” And I was looking for someone who'd say "Nope." Of course, there’s something on the test which addresses this very thing, “The most independent of the types, INTJs want their mates to be independent as well, able to stand up to the sometimes formidable strength of their personality.” My fiancé thinks that Myers-Briggs is pseudoscience, only a step above astrology.
16. My first starring theatrical role was as the title character in The Littlest Pumpkin. Sure, I was typecast due to my orange hair and round face, but I delivered a dramatic tour-de-force performance that forever changed the way the audience viewed pumpkins. I also trod the boards as Peter Rabbit’s mother in Peter Rabbit, Elf #1 in some long-forgotten holiday pageant, Irma the French waitress in The Madwoman of Chaillot, Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town, and Alice Sycamore in You Can’t Take It With You. I went to drama camp summer after summer after summer.
17. I think of myself as a scientist at heart and I’m drawn to science-y types.
18. I won the spelling bee in 6th grade, but couldn’t go on to the citywide competition because we moved in the middle of the school year. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life (which only goes to show what a charmed life I’ve led).
19. As an only child I developed a complex inner life. Even now I’m constantly playing little mental games, counting things, making lists, imagining counter-factual scenarios, rearranging letters, engaging in competitions no one around me is aware of. One of the things I like best about my relationship is that we construct elaborate imaginary worlds together.
20. Owning land is tremendously important to me. I fantasize about owning a ranch with thousands of acres in the Southwest. Someday I’d like to look to the horizon and know that everything I see belongs to me. I attribute some of this to reading Gone With the Wind at an impressionable age (9 or 10, I mentioned I was precocious, didn’t I?) and taking Scarlett’s father’s advice to her to heart.
21. I've made a solemn vow to use my superpowers only for good, although this is damn inconvenient at times. I'm still trying to figure out whether Cheetos or small talk is my kryptonite; maybe both. I'm powerless when faced with either.
22. I love almost every aspect of food: eating (of course), cooking, baking, reading about it, gardening… Every. Little. Thing. Grocery stores almost always cheer me up when I’m down and going to a really good farmer’s market is almost a transcendent experience. I appreciate the contemporary emphasis on food culture.
I was dubbed the Queen of the Nerdfests in high school. Mock trial, quiz bowl, science fairs, drama club, school newspaper, student government, math quiz bowl, etc., I did (and loved) them all.
24. I’m intensely competitive. I can turn anything into a competition. Fortunately for everyone, I usually only compete against myself.
25. I always imagined my adult self would be more successful career-wise and less successful relationship-wise than I am. Success is a tricky thing. I’m extraordinarily happy, though. I’m not sure if this would have been the case if the balance were the other way around.