How Are You?

How is this letter finding you today? In other words, “How are you?” Have you ever noticed that we hide our vulnerabilities, automatically replying that were doing fine? We don’t want to think seriously about an everyday question posed to us by an everyday person, for we fear to reveal our true feelings to a quasi stranger or friend, but I challange you to tell your interlocator how you really feel, and start a dialog. Maybe you can connect with this person in a more meaningful way.

What is making me think of this? It is the actions of a fellow blogger, who has nominated me for what is termed a “Vogue parody,” comprising 73 questions mimicking a Vogue magazine series which interviews celebrities, designed to let its readers know more about them and their lifestyle. The person interviewing me is the anonymous author of the blog

Reasons2Stay.

I shall answer the questions he asks which I feel are relevant to me personally, in a format I feel comfortable with, and I hereby thank him for nominating me.

You ask me what is my usual Starbucks order. It used to be a large mocha, but one was never enough because I’m a caffiene addict, and had to join a support group to keep me away from it. I still suffer from chronic inflammation in my stomach from my abuse of espresso, so I have to stay away from coffee shops from now on. I no longer drink coffee. What I am the most grateful for this year is that I finally broke myself free from my addiction. What is the best thing that has happened to me this month? I made it through six weeks of caffiene sobriety, and as a reward, I ordered a set of books from Amazon. The best thing that has happened to me today is that I arose with a motivated mind in spite of all this, feeling alert, and ready to take on the day.

What is my favorite author? That is hard to say, because I am a voracious reader and different books have captured my imagination at different times. The last author which moved me immensly was Marcel Proust. It was his massive work in six volumes, In Search of Lost Time, which inspired me to start writing myself, in an effort to imitate him. The fictional character I relate to the most is Sal Paradise, the anti-hero of Jack Keroac’s novel On the Road, because it showed me that there was an alternative to living as a cog in the machine of capitalism, but it had a dark side, as Keroac seemed to be celebrating the life of a vagrant who didn’t feel he could do any better.

I like to collect books, and I have my own private library in my living room. They don’t make books like they used to; now they are made up of cheap paper and glue. My favorite kinds of books are cloth bound, containing ideas as magnificent as their binding. As far as movies go, I used to be a movie buff for a brief time. My favorite director was Stanley Kubrick, and my favorite movie of his was 2001: A Space Odyssey. If I were to play a historical figure in a movie, I would like to be the star of Cecil B. DeMille’s Ben Hur.

What does my workstation look like? It is a rolltop desk with a overhead lamp placed to my left, with my laptop placed upon beneath it. Sometimes, if have a book to read, I’ll move the computer to another table, and just sit here and read beneith my lamp, usually in the hours before dawn.

My favorite food is steak, and, yes, I like muffins, but I don’t eat them very often. I cook at home, but I let the oven, the microwave, and the crock pot do most of the work. My favorite dessert is chocolate cake; a dessert I do not like is cocanut cream pie. I prefer cake to pie. My least favorite food is spinach, but I eat it from time to time because I know it’s good for me. My favorite condiment is cheese. If I should wake up hungry in the middle of the night, I will probably warm up some left-overs in the microwave and bolt them down. My guilty pleasure treat is a bagel filled with cream cheese. 

If I were to describe myself in three words, I would repeat what my psychotherapist told me about myself the other day. I would use these three words: intelligent, kind, and caring. My favorite kind of blog post is one which reveals the personality of the person behind it. WordPress is the only form of social media I will use. I quit Facebook and Instagram years ago, because I don’t trust the people who owns and operates them. It isn’t difficult to put people down or call people names on those platforms, and they are not a representation of a person’s reality. I don’t like Twitter, either.

And I don’t really like surprises. I like everything to be predictable. My biggest surprise came as a shock and it destroyed my life for a very long time. It was a surprise which made me want to cry.

What am I doing for tomorrow? I will probably go over to my girlfriend Laura’s house to visit with her. She has a cat named Pumpkin. I prefer kittens to puppies because the neighborhood dogs aggrivate me with their incessant barking. Laura’s next door neighbor has a pit bull pinned up in their back yard, and the racket he makes is unnerving. Cats don’t make as much noise, and they are more independent.

You ask me if I got good grades in school. I didn’t get along well in high school or college, but I managed to attain an associates degree. I enjoy intellectual discussions, and my dream job would be a college professor. If I were to teach a college class, it would be on the subject of philosophy or literature. The project I’m working on right now is to read the Great Books of the Western World series, which is the backbone of a liberal arts education. This is what is on top of my wish list now.

But do I play any sports? I enjoy cycling for pleasure and for transportation, since I don’t own a car. My favorite season is fall, because it gives me the best scenery as I pedal down the rural roads past the family farms. I really don’t like the holiday season, because of the stress and all the commercialism. I don’t have a favorite holiday.

I don’t have any tattoos. If I were a rapper, I have no idea what my stage name could be. If my life were a song, it would be Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony! I would sing you an Ode to Joy!

The country I would most like to visit would be Canada.

And I am a citizen of the United States of America. I live in the small hamlet of Robersonville, located in the eastern part of North Carolina. It has a recreation complex that I frequent often. I enjoy walking the half-mile circle, wearing my wireless headphones, listening to different kinds of music as I exercise. Currently, there is a three-way race here in the campaign for mayor. The incumbent, Frank Mesamer, has been running this town for years. He owns and operates Village Pharmacy, one of the few businesses left among the abandoned store fronts downtown, where I go every month to buy my medications. A new person has moved down here from New Jersey, named Don Fulman, who came into the Robersonville library while I was in there one day, telling everyone what a terrible job Frank was doing. He had sold Robersonville’s assets off for next to nothing, he told us, and it was obvious why the everything here was going downhill. Frank was old and it was time for him to retire! Don talked about having local law enforcement giving out more tickets, because eighteen-wheelers were traveling through downtown instead of using the bypass, in violation of traffic laws. At night, people were slowing down at the traffic light on the intersection of Highway 903 and Highway 64, looking both ways, then running past the red light before it changed. Don also proposed putting up surveillance cameras to catch teenagers breaking windows in the vacant buildings around there. He would even try to bring in a Walgreen’s (a drug store chain) in order to put Frank and his crew out of business. Then, there is Tina Brown, who operates the Community Center and the food bank. She wants to be mayor, too. Tina is African-American, and the vote in Robersonville is going to be primarily along racial lines. If Tina should win, it would be good for people like Laura and I, but there is a lot of white people that are well off financially who would never vote for her.

So this is the end of my interview, but I won’t nominate anyone. Follow the link if you wish to participate, and I would like to invite you to follow the Reasons2Stay blog. I am sure he will follow you back.

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