The delightfully witty Ms Musings tagged me ages ago for a meme in which I had to list seven personality traits. I thought about this for a while but never could seem to come up with seven, and I wasn’t all that sure about the authenticity of the ones I did identify. So finally I decided on a variation on a theme. Below you’ll find seven representative snippets from my life, and you can judge my character for yourselves.
1. From a job interview, which was nearly over before it began:
Him: How do you do, I’m the master, and here on my right is the tutor for modern languages. We’re both astrophysicists.
Me: Oh how lovely. You’re practically in the arts.
2. From an email from my academic publisher:
‘It is quite extraordinary how much your emails are representative of you (the you that you represent when you meet others, or … this could be protracted).’
3. From reviews of an academic book:
‘An empathetic teacher, she frequently introduces a ‘difficult’ movement or work by adopting what she imagines to be the perspective of her audience, injecting a dose of humour that may amuse some readers (while irritating others).’
‘Written in a witty, incisive style which punctuates first-rate research with amusing asides, this book is far too enjoyable (I read it on holiday around Italy) to seem like serious academic reading.’
4. From an aborted attempt at cognitive behavioural therapy, which I loathed, but which remained archived on cassette tapes (I threw them out when I moved college room):
Him: This fear you say you have. Well you don’t have it. If you found yourself broken down in the middle of a traffic jam, you’d be fine.’
Me: No I wouldn’t.
Him: Yes you would. You’d go and sit on the side of the road until the AA came.
Me: I might do what I needed to, but I wouldn’t feel fine exactly. I’d be overwhelmed with anxiety.
Him: No you wouldn’t.
Me: Yes I would.
5. From a conversation with my son:
Me: Would you say we were a critical family?
Him: Ha! You? I don’t think I’ve ever heard you criticize me, not even when I deserve it.
Me: Oh, but. Well, I suppose I don’t think you ever do things that deserve criticism. Apart maybe from French, I think you try at whatever you do.
Him: Well you’re right about the French.
6. From a conversation with my husband at 10.45pm one evening as my son and his two friends walk out the door:
Me: So they’re going to spend the night at Stefan’s?
Him: I know, I thought they were going to Fergus’s.
Me: And what did Stefan say as they left?
Him: I asked him if it was okay with his parents and he said he was sure it would be fine. This is when I’m glad we didn’t have a girl.
Me: Oh no. Unless there are boys involved, girls make sensible decisions. I can imagine this lot being turned away by Stefan’s parents and then thinking that the park looks good.
Him: [Brightening] They’ve got their sleeping bags. They’d be okay.
Me: One of my old school friends used to tell me about the evenings he spent down on the railway lines with his mates. They discovered a hollow under one of the tracks, dug it out deeper, and then lay in it while trains thundered by overhead. I told him, “If you ever tell that story to my son in a way that makes it look attractive, I will kill you.”
7. From a friend’s email:
‘I have to say you have a very catching way of giving tantalizing snapshots of your life in your blog. It’s not full-on revelation – it’s like the occasional emergence of real life, which meshes intriguingly with the insight into who you are via your book reviews. It reminds me of that Colette quote about playing cache-cache with the reader.’
Update: I don’t know where my head is at the moment; let’s be charitable and put it down to late summer madness. The charming John Ray at Bookflap interviewed me last week and if there is anything at all that you don’t know about me after this meme, I’m pretty sure it’s answered here. Meant to add a link to this the first time around….sorry!