Tuesday, November 06, 2007

7.5794559776 random things about me

1) That subject line has to be good for at least half credit :-)

To my dear wife, BOO, HISS! Of course she knows about me that, as much as I deserve the nickname Android (by which I was affectionately known to my Washington Bible College colleagues), I cannot bring myself to abstain from this detestable task when she, of all people, tagged only me (of all people). With that,

2) I also despise picking life verses, but if I had to pick one honestly, it would probably be Matt 21:28-31a:
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first.
And so, like the first son, I will often begin by saying no, by giving every reason why I shouldn't, by giving every impression that I won't, and finish by doing the very thing that was asked.

3) My most recent meal was rosemary chicken and white bean soup, with bread machine sourdough--this morning--at 4:30 a.m. (No, I didn't get up at 2:00 and make it fresh--the soup, on sale and with a coupon, was $2.00 from Safeway on Saturday; the bread I made later that day.)

4) What I'm currently reading. I have bookmarks stuck in:
  • America First! Its History, Culture, and Politics / Bill Kauffman
  • The Portable Edmund Burke / Isaac Kramnick
  • The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot / Russell Kirk
  • Exposition of the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke / Saint Ambrose of Milan
  • The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to John / Blessed Theophylact
  • From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire / Pierre Briant
I will probably finish them in that order--the first three are library books, which I tend to read in order by size. (I'm also expecting Who Owns America? to arrive today, which will probably come on the list somewhere near the top.) I'm reading Ambrose along with the daily Gospel selections in the lectionary. I'm about halfway through Theophylact and will get to the rest as soon as I have a lull in library materials. Briant is about 10,000 pages (give or take) of .25-pt type, with margins so small that the words actually keep falling out of the book. I will finish it when the coming nuclear holocaust wipes out all the other books on earth (and several of the outer pages on this one, but probably leaving intact at least 90% of the volume).

5) I got my dad's facial hair patterning--for years, I couldn't get my beard to come up very high, and it took too long to grow a mustache that would connect with it, for the few months of each year when I was allowed to grow a beard (yes, I went to a college that forbade beards and long sideburns). At one point I gave up and grew a beard without a mustache, but I had people I didn't even know calling me Amish, so I gave that up. My ape-like body hair, however, comes from my maternal grandfather. This is supposed to be random things about me--there's probably nothing more random than the line where a haircut ends, somewhere on my neck, chosen arbitrarily to save the trouble of shaving my entire back. It's both a blessing and a curse to have my own fur coat wherever I go--I'm perpetually overheated; the other day my boss came into my office with a sweater on and said she'd have to bring a coat for her next visit.

6) I was banned for several years from cleaning the bathroom. I did nothing intentionally to avoid the job, though I can't say it was a particularly negative side-effect. Apparently I'm more efficient than germophobic--what looked to me like a convenient source for floor cleaner looked to Julie like a toilet. I tell you, sometimes she just has no imagination.

7) It's election day, or so the calendar says. I have no idea what offices are open or who's running. I haven't seen a single campaign commercial, poster, or button. I'm not voting, and you probably aren't either. The fact is, it would be irresponsible for me to vote, because I'm completely uninformed about this year's election. (I have to specify this year's, because for months now, it's been impossible to look at any news source without something in your face about next year's election. Sadly, the offices that are up this year are probably of more local significance and should therefore concern me more than next year's choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

8) It's nothing short of a miracle that I've made it through this post without quoting the Simpsons. (Though there were a few places where I really wanted to.)

I'm not tagging anyone else, because I wouldn't subject my enemies to this form of torture, much less my friends. Let it lie here where it fell, in all its pseudo-randomness.


Julie said...

For something that you despise you used an awful lot of words for your 8 random things! It's amazing that for as quiet as you are in person you are awfully chatty online. Whereas I'm probably the other way around!!

Trevor said...

Well, in this case, there's a very simple explanation: I turned each "random" thing into its own mini-post, valuable in its own right. I often get this accusation about being chattier online than in person. I still think it's unfair, because I can be very talkative in person when the topic interests me.

I think some of what's going on is the different dynamic between talking and text-based communication. When I'm writing a letter, e-mail, blog post, or anything similar, I can sit down and write in complete isolation--I determine how much to say and when to say it. Even if there's back-and-forth (as in an e-mail conversation), I still have a lot of personal freedom to set my own limits.

In direct speech, however, the other person might jump in and cut off a thought I was in the middle of articulating. If the conversation moves too far away, I may never come back and finish. It's polite to give way when someone else has something to contribute, so a lot goes unsaid.

Even with text-based direct communication like IM, the conventions seem to be different. Because you have to send each message discreetly, you don't get into a situation where one person gets cut off in the middle of a word. I can keep typing my thought long after the other person has interjected with something new. Now, I might decide that the conversation is moving on and delete my thought before sending it. Or I might send it, and because the topic has shifted, the other person never responds, so it drops where it is. But the point is that it's much more common in IM to have finished thoughts moving back and forth, even if the conversation gets a bit out of sync. (I might finish responding to one thing after the other person has started something new, so that I have to catch up later. Because you can go back and read what's been written, it's easy to move around, within logical limits.)

So all that's to say, written communication is more conducive to full articulation and generally allows more space in the conversation for reflection and careful construction of a phrase or argument. So coming back to how non-random I am, whenever I have something to say, I also have in mind a whole universe of associated ideas. I don't necessarily have to articulate all of them, but if there's a need to explain myself, I will want to be very thorough about it. In writing, I can usually do that. In spoken conversation, sometimes I can, but often I can't. It's usually not an intentional process, but I think I unconsciously filter what I say based on the likelihood that I can say it the way I want. If it seems unlikely that I will be allowed the opportunity to explain myself clearly, I more often than not just say nothing at all.

To boil it all down, if something is worth saying, it's worth saying clearly. If I were a better communicator, I could probably do that with fewer words. This comment is a good example :-)

Amber Mc said...

Nice comment, Trevor! :) I enjoyed learning random things about you. Don't touch my bathroom either, kay?

Jody said...

that's a comment and a half!

And I second the stay away from my bathroom!!!