I made a few stabs at posting last week, but pretty much all I could think about was the fallout from our oh-so-lovely stomach bug. And by fallout I mean I pulled my neck muscles so badly that the pain migrated to my head and my ear and it felt like somebody was stabbing me with an ice pick. And I couldn’t stop crying – in the car, at the urgent care clinic, and (most dramatically) at the pharmacist’s counter, waiting for my muscle relaxer.
I wrote up a whole post on the matter, and then thought better of burdening you fine people with that tedium. Aren’t you relieved?
So to get myself over the obsessed-with-debilitating-pain-in-my-ear hump, here I am with another round of Answer Me This, a link-up with Kendra at Catholic All Year. She asks the questions, we answer them. Be sure to head over to Kendra’s to see who else did the answering.
1. How often do you take public transportation?
These days, just about never. Once in a great while I’ll get on the Washington Metro to do touristy things with out-of-town visitors, but that’s pretty much it.
When I lived and worked in the immediate DC area, however, I took the Metro almost every day. I mostly loved it. I didn’t like the hot, crowded, stressful days when you couldn’t get a seat and you barely made it onto a train, but I liked the boring, slower-paced days.
Not only did Metro give me great access to parts of the city I would never have attempted driving to (or parking in), it made commuting easy and (at times) even refreshing. Both my apartment and my office were within walking distances of stations, so once I grew accustomed to my route, Metro allowed me to not think much about the process of commuting. I had the freedom to daydream and read (I read far more in that period of my life than I’d done before or I’ve done since) and engage in some fabulous people watching.
When you commute on public transportation, you tend to see the same people over and over again. There was one gentleman who dressed all in white and had a head full of the craziest gray hair. He looked just like Mark Twain. Another man, immaculately dressed, would stand stock-still, so close to the doors that you swore his nose must be touching them. Once they opened, off he would go with maximum efficiency. And then there was a great, big man – a burly, biker-looking guy – who did the most beautiful cross-stitch on his commute.
Hands-down, the happiest day of my DC-commuting life was the day that Mark Twain sat next to Cross-Stitch Guy! I just about skipped into my office and squealed the news to my colleagues, I was so excited.
On my evening commute, I loved watching one young family with a small daughter. Sometimes her mom picked her up from daycare, sometimes her dad did. Regardless of which it was, they would pull out some beautiful picture book and read to her the whole way home. It was entrancing. I loved watching the parents’ tenderness, hearing their gentle voices, seeing that little girl so well cared for. And it was nice, just for a moment, to feel the warmth of being read to, even if the stories weren’t meant for me.
I also, unfortunately, can’t help but associate my metro-commuting days with September 11. I saw smoke rising from the Pentagon from one of those trains. I spent weeks being rushed past the Pentagon station, smelling the acrid smoke. And I spent years wondering what happened to the people I saw get off at that station on that awful morning.
2. How many cousins do you have?
More than you can imagine.
To begin with, I have 32 first cousins: 21 on my mom’s side, 11 on my dad’s. Though I’m one of the oldest grandchildren in both families (my youngest first cousins are only seven years old!), we already have quite a few cousins in the next generation: between the eight of us grandkids who are married so far, there are 22 great-grandchildren. Imagine how many there will be when the rest of my generation marries! (My boys, by the way, have twelve first cousins.)
Then there are my mom’s cousins. She’s got a boatload (I don’t know, 60 or so?), quite a few of whom I know, and some of whom I know well. And then they have kids, so I have those cousins too. (Again, some of whom I’m close to – one was even one of my bridesmaids.) And of course, some of them also have kids.
Then there are my grandparents’ cousins (again, scores of them), some of whom I know. This summer, I’m on a family reunion planning committee with several of my grandfather’s cousins. (It’s mind-boggling to me that the patriarch and matriarch of the family who will gather for the reunion are my great-great-grandparents.)
Crazy stuff! My college friends used to say, “Can’t we go anywhere without running into one of your relatives?” Umm… nope. Not in this region. That’s what you get when (1) your family is good at – ahem – propagating and (2) your family has been in the same place for hundreds of years.
3. Have you ever fired a gun?
Yes, but I did not enjoy it. My family are very into hunting and shooting, and each year on Thanksgiving morning, my uncle and aunt host a “Turkey Shoot” – that is, a trap shoot for the adults and a turkey-shaped target shoot for the kids. My husband and brother and most of the menfolk (as well as some of the women) love it. I just love that they love it.
One year, the guys insisted that I give it a go. So I – begrudgingly – hoisted up a big ol’ shotgun and pulled the trigger. I liked absolutely nothing about the experience: the gun was too heavy, it was too loud, it kicked too hard, and I didn’t come anywhere close to hitting my clay pigeon.
Never again. (With a shotgun, at least. I do have a modest desire to learn how to shoot a handgun, just because I think it’s one of those skills that would be good to have.)
4. Do you ride roller coasters?
Absolutely not. I rode a few, many years ago, but they were not happy occasions. And as my motion sickness has gotten progressively worse over the years, I’d better not try them again.
5. What’s your favorite flower?
Lily of the Valley: they’re so dainty and refreshing and they smell so sweet. I tend to prefer other flowers that are clusters of small blooms too, like hydrangea and lupine and lilac. Oh, and I just love peonies and roses – what’s not to like about them?
6. Are you allergic to anything?
I’m allergic to three or four antibiotics and what feels like almost every skincare product I encounter. I have one soap, one lotion, one perfume, one brand of make-up, and one brand of hair products that I’ve been using for years. I dare not try new ones because it seems like every time I do, I have an allergic reaction.
That said, I am very grateful that neither my boys nor I have food allergies. Boy, does that make life easier!
And with that… we’re done! Stop over to Kendra’s for more!