Egad, a tag!

Or, if you like anagrams: a data egg!

So when I first started this blog, I promised myself that it would be very serious. It would contain no levity. If any levity should happen to slip past the editorial board and make it onto the site, it would promptly be removed and an apology would be issued. Then I went and posted pictures of my cat.

Anyway, David Schraub has tagged me with a meme, so away we go:

The rules!
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself. (See below)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (See further below…)
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I have curly hair. Yes, yes, I know, who ever heard of an Ashkenazi with curly hair? What a strange concept. Hear me out, though. My hair didn’t start growing in curly until I was eleven (before then, it was very fine and wispy), and the event ushered in about ten years of teasing, self-loathing, and lots and lots of headscarves. My nickname in sixth grade was Fro. I had it straightened more than once, but it never came out right. It was so brittle and unhealthy that it never grew past my shoulders, and my few trips to salons (where hairdressers seldom worked with curly hair) always ended in disaster – like the time I left in tears with a golf ball-sized knot on the left side of my head. Growing up, being able to wear one’s hair down seemed positively mythical – and the idea of wearing it down without shellacking it in product still feels too fantastical to be real. It wasn’t until sometime in college that I started consciously thinking of my curly hair as a mark of Jewishness (and found out that people around me had seen it as such all along), and it wasn’t until I reached my twenties that I discovered that if I didn’t wash it every day, it’d stay healthier and grow longer. Now we’re down to the shoulder blades, baby.

In short, for most of my life, my hair has been an integral aspect of my identity, in both positive and negative ways.

2. I used to be afraid of telescopes, which is even odder than it already sounds because I’ve always been a space nut. I’ve been puzzling over this one for years. The fear always went something like this: I’d approach the eyepiece of a telescope or hold a pair of binoculars and feel a surge of visceral terror at the thought of looking through it. I remember being at the Griffith Observatory with my grandmother and closing my eyes when it was my turn to look at Saturn. It was something about being pulled up close to a faraway place. I think I was afraid that I’d see something looking back at me. Or maybe it was just that the fascinating and the terrifying so often go hand in hand. In any case, about a year ago I inherited my grandfather’s telescope, and got over my fear during last February’s lunar eclipse. Then I went back to the Griffith Observatory and finally saw Saturn.

3. My favorite work of fiction is Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. Some close seconds are Beloved, American Pastoral, One! Hundred! Demons!, Girl in Landscape, and Janet Frame’s “The Bedjacket.”

4. Right now, I’m totally turned on to the permaculture movement. Permaculture, briefly, is the creation of sustainable food systems that mimic patterns found in nature. This is where the phrase “food, not lawns” comes from. We’re talking gardens that use guilds and companion plants instead of chemical pesticides. Using urban public space to grow crops instead of ornamentals and grass. Keeping chickens, bees, and ducks in backyards. Now that the election’s over, I’m going to see about getting a community garden plot; in the meantime, my cilantro is infested with aphids but my avocado tree is doing quite nicely. Fresh sage is unbearably delicious. Spinach is hard. I should have started with lettuce like the book told me to… but, damn, lettuce is so boring.

5. I love wearing glasses. I love looking smart and mature. I love picking out frames. I love that after I get my new prescription this Thursday, I’ll be able to read street signs again.

6. I was named after John Lennon’s mother. In high school, I dated a boy who hung a John Lennon poster over his bed because he liked to imagine that Lennon was watching over him as he slept. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that John Lennon was just a guy – a very talented and important guy, but still just a guy. Also, I went to the same college as Yoko Ono. While I was there, legend had it that she’d donated the ice cream freezer in the cafeteria.

This is embarrassing, but I’m having trouble thinking of people to tag. Most people I know either don’t go for this type of thing or don’t blog often enough to be a viable candidate. When I think of people, though, I’ll post them below.


3 Responses

  1. don’t tag me. but! i totally understand your response to telescopes. i’ve neve been afraid of them, exactly, but visceral is a great word. it’s outrageously sudden, much more jarring than it might be to zoom in slowly. and i definitely remember moments in childhood when i felt as if something would be looking back at me to yell “boo.” i think of our evolution and how recent an invention these really are. even given all our fancy technologies, the ability to look (even somewhat) far into the sky is still confusing and awesome.

  2. I was teased about my hair, too, even as many adult women told me they’d love to have my hair. (I got more comfortable with it when those adult women grew to be my own age.) Like you, it wasn’t until later in life that I’ve regarded it as Jewish, which puts a quite different spin on all that teasing.

  3. I always thought of curly hair as Jewish, maybe because I went to high school in the mid-70s, when every boy had a “Jew-fro”. Which now that I think about it, is pretty awful.

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