I got tagged by Matt Bailey a couple of weeks back, shortly before the meme started spreading through my feeds, but I didn’t have time to post then. In fact, I did a lot less blogging in 2006 than in previous years, thanks mostly to the work that’s gone into An Event Apart and my latest books. Well, a new year, a new start.
So here’s five things you may not know about me.
I played piano for seven years, and violin for eight, becoming fairly good at both without ever really becoming great. I showed a fair amount of talent on the violin, actually, but wasn’t disciplined enough to push through to the next level of proficiency. I also did a little drumming, though I never really studied, and still own a (disassembled) five piece kit with a cowbell. Ya gotta have cowbell.
I once nearly killed myself in a car accident. Five days into driving on my license, I hit a large rock on a back country gravel road. I very clearly remember thinking to myself, as I lost control, If you don’t know what to do, do nothing.
The car slid into a ditch at speed, plowing into the far bank on the front right corner of the car, and rolled once, coming to rest upright. My friend and I walked away with only cuts and bruises, thanks to our seatbelts.
I can still see the cornstalks rotating just beyond the windshield as we rolled, but I barely remember anything from then until my parents arrived on the scene, almost an hour later.
I have been married more than once.
And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.
Something I’ve come to realize late in life is that my senses are more vivid than most people’s, or else I have less of a dampening filter on the input, which really comes to the same thing. As the man once said, “All my nerves are naked wires, tender to the touch…”
You know what it sounds like when a speaker is driven past its abilities, the way the sound gets crackly and distorted? That happens in my ears when sounds get too loud, and they don’t have to be terribly loud. When it happens, I can actually feel the muscles around my auditory canals trying to slam them shut. I get similar effects in all my sensory channels: push the input too far, and it starts to overload in uncomfortable ways.
Because of this, I cannot stand alcohol, carbonated beverages, chocolate, coffee, or hot spices. Every aspect of my being is influenced: how I act in social situations; my handling of personal relationships; my taste in art; my sexual responses and interests; my perception of world events; my reaction to stress.
I don’t know if I’d trade this for a more ‘normal’ sensory response or not. On the one hand, turning down the dial would open up whole experiential areas I can’t currently access. On the other hand, I’d lose the ability to truly savor a subtle and complex flavor or scent.
In what is perhaps simply a desire to extend what’s already there, I’ve always wanted to (temporarily) experience letter-color synaesthesia. Seeing colors from license plates doesn’t count.
What’s really odd is that I have a fairly high pain tolerance.
In private and around people I know really well, I have a tendency to swear to an extent that would probably shock regular readers. I avoid that kind of stuff here because I know there are people who visit or read this site from work while researching CSS and I don’t want to trip their content-filtering proxies and get them in trouble with middle management. That kind of stuff leads to all kinds of icky paperwork, and who needs those kinds of headaches, you know?
Besides, I generally find that when I do want to start cursing in writing, there are better and more effective ways to express myself. I agree with Mr. Twain regarding the utility of profanity, but it’s no way to frame an argument or plead a case. Not for me, anyway.
I’m not going to tag anyone specific, because I’ve decided to stop propogating these sorts of memes for many the same reasons I don’t forward chain letters. Instead, if this post inspires you to post five little-known things about yourself, then consider yourself tagged and let us know a little bit more about you.