Yeah, this post was inspired by one of those dumb internet memes. I saw it on someone’s blog and thought it might be fun.
We’ve been traveling together for a while now, but apart from the obvious stuff like books, music and traveler’s tales, we really don’t know that much about each other. That’s a bit strange, considering how long we’ve shared the road.
Road friendships develop in compressed time. In a week you can reach a depth of familiarity that would take a year under normal circumstances. Maybe it’s because time is limited: we’re more open, more willing to share, and less afraid of judgement. Relationship development is a process of mutual self-disclosure, after all.
So here goes… 25 random things about myself, scribbled down as they occurred to me today…
1. I hate calling people on the phone. It takes me days to get around to it. I don’t receive many calls either. Three people in the world have my phone number.
2. I played the lead role of Robin Hood in the school play in 6th grade. I did a bunch of other theatre stuff in high school too, including improv.
3. I spent nearly 20 years training in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Every day. And I earned two black belts in these arts. It taught me more than university ever did. Travel—taking that knowledge out into the world—taught me the rest.
4. I can’t stand to be around people who pretend to be something they’re not. And I will not be associated with them. Most of all, I can’t stand someone who lies to him or herself.
5. I got kicked out of school a lot and was totally expelled in the 10th grade. Mostly because I hated being told what to do.
6. My favorite film stars are Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. I’ve watched their films more times than I can count. I don’t really watch any current films, and I’m completely out of touch with anything that’s happened in Hollywood since the mid ’90’s.
7. I’m a slow person to get to know, but I’m absolutely loyal to my friends. That’s my strongest trait. The opposite is also true. When someone has done something to hurt or betray me, I shut that person out of my life. I become completely indifferent to them, and I never have anything to do with them again.
8. Two television shows shaped my early teenage years: MacGyver and Moonlighting. To me the greatest thing about MacGyver was that he had all these outdoor skills—on one show he was skydiving, on another he was flying a hang glider and mountain climbing. It inspired me to want to learn those things too. And I also respected the fact that MacGyver was intelligent and made being smart cool. I took chemistry and physics in high school because of it (I didn’t learn anything fun, but that’s another story). Moonlighting made up for MacGyver’s lack of cool in many other areas. David Addison was quick witted, funny, and he had great taste in music. Put them together and you have two sides of the ideal personality. At least in high school.
9. Compliments make me uncomfortable. I don’t know why.
10. My friend Joe Wilson once said, “You may be the most HONEST person I know.” It makes me uncomfortable to hear that (see Number 9 above), but I guess it’s true.
11. The first concert I ever went to was Honeymoon Suite. The most recent concert was The Church.
12. I hate getting up in the morning. I have to set the alarm to get up by 9.
13. I’ve sometimes had people come up to me and say “thank you so much, you changed my life” because of my fitness work. I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy inside when this happens. In fact, I feel nothing. Not because I’m not happy for this person. But because I didn’t do anything—THEY did. They found the discipline, will and determination to make changes in their life. They don’t need me or anyone else to lead them. It makes me uncomfortable to have that “teacher” or “guru” status projected on me. They should be shining that light on themselves. THEY are the heroes of their own life story.
14. At the same time, I am happy when someone tells me that something I wrote in a blog or travel article inspired them to make a change in their life, or take a journey they were afraid to set out on. Because I remember all those people who told me I couldn’t do it.
15. On more than one occasion during my “starving artist” years, I was down to the last $15 in my wallet. That was all the money I had in the world. Rather than hoard it, I went out and bought the best bottle of wine I could afford. I was poor, but I didn’t have to be miserable. Sure enough, an opportunity showed up the next day.
16. The real message behind everything I write is that you can create the life of your choice. You can live in any way you see fit, no matter how many people call you a fool or tell you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with following even your most outrageous dreams. You only get one life and in the end, YOU are the one who has to look back on it and evaluate it. You can do it. I know it’s possible, because I’m doing it. Don’t accept the shit that they sell ya. Follow your own path.
17. The first thing I ever won was a Max Headroom sweatshirt. I won it as part of a draw after mailing in a bunch of those old rubber Coca-Cola bottle cap liners.
18. I went out and got a paper route in 6th grade because I wanted to buy a stereo and needed the money. I had a lot of part time and summer jobs after that, including pumping gas, planting trees, pruning Christmas trees at a Christmas tree farm, cutting lawns, shoveling snow, painting houses, and working as a carpenter’s assistant.
19. I spent several years of my life volunteering in an organization where I defended and enforced the “party line,” and I was harsh with people who couldn’t meet those standards or who questioned them. This is something I’m not proud of. In hindsight, I was wrong to defend it and they were right to question it.
20. I had braces on my teeth for 3 years, from 8th to 10th grade. I refused to wear those elastic things during the day because I couldn’t speak properly and it made me feel stupid. My orthodontist decided to make each tightening adjustment two cranks instead of one to force me to give in. We fought a war of attrition for the entire 3 years, and every time he adjusted my braces it hurt so bad I couldn’t eat for 3 days. Not even ice cream. But I never gave in.
21. I suck at math, and I sometimes count on my fingers when doing simple sums. What the hell, I can’t be good at everything can I?
22. Related to Number 4 above: I feel very strongly that it’s unforgivable to exaggerate or lie about one’s travel stories. Either do it or don’t. There’s no shame in either choice. But don’t pretend that you did.
23. I can’t stand rap music, reality TV, or watching sports on the telly. The only sport I enjoy watching is sumo. I got hooked on it when I lived in Japan.
24. I’ve got an extremely good memory for stories and incidents, and I remember the details of our exploits better than any of my friends. I write because I hate the thought of all those stories and memories just fading away.
25. I have a major weakness for Cadbury Eggs. Some are filled with delicious caramel. And the original Creme Egg is filled with a lovely whipped white that surrounds the rich yellow of that magical faux-yolk. Both are lovingly encased in a protective shell of thick chocolate that provides a satisfying crunch even as it reveals the delicate frothy treasure within. Like gold or the convenient alibi of a sprig of mistletoe, Cadbury Eggs are a highly valued commodity because they’re only available once each year.
So there you go. Lots of trivia, lots of secrets, and a few serious things thrown in for reflection.
How about you? Got something you’d like to share with me? Post your “25 Things” in the comments below. I’d love to get to know you better.