This is where someone with a blog has been asked to list a certain number of things about themselves that nobody knows, then to tag a certain number of other people with blogs to do the same thing, and they do, and you are one of the certain number of other people. Then you are in the difficult position of either complying or publicly rejecting an invitation from someone you have a relationship with. I’ve been dreading this happening to me ever since I started posting.
I am twice fortunate. Once, that I have only been tagged to list eight random things about myself. They don’t have to be secrets I have held for up to 43 years. Twice, that the person tagging me is someone I know only incidentally. I commented on her blog recently that I was imagining little joeys in my Bartholin’s glands, so she drew my name when she decided to tag her commenters. Thus I can choose not to accept the tag without damaging a friendship.
Hm. Not so dreadful. Maybe I can do this.
1) I received my high school education in Nigeria at a mission school primarily for children of missionaries. Moving to Nigeria was a bit of a shock, but not a big one. It was clearly different from where I came from, which was Montreal. So, keep an open mind, look for opportunities to enjoy and learn and share, and do what you need to do to keep yourself safe. Attending a mission school was disorienting in a much more fundamental way. The greatest difficulty was coping with the fact that the other kids looked like me. They were mostly white Americans, wore western dress, spoke English with American accents. It was hard to see and adjust to the cultural divide. Not only were they fundamentalist Christians (at the time I started at that school I hadn’t realised there were still people who believed in God), most had been born in the bush. They spoke various West African languages and Pidgin in addition to English. They believed in witchcraft. The friends they were raised with from babies, and who they played football with when they went back to stay with their parents over summer vacation, were West Africans who spoke little or no English. Some of their friends died in childhood of illnesses like dysentery. One of the school’s functions was to teach American culture to these children of missionaries to help them when it came time for them to go ‘back home’ to college. I didn’t get this at the time. I knew (North) American culture as well as most thirteen year olds, and I didn’t understand why a school for (mostly) white children in Nigeria would not put more effort into bridging cultures – which was my need. I didn’t get that I was one of the few who didn’t already have a very solid bridge of their own.
2) I loved Bible class in high school. We were taught about how people think and make judgements, which was fascinating to me. The agenda of course was to prepare us for missionary work so that we could overcome people’s resistance to our attempts to convert them, but I subverted it to my own ends.
3) I googled some people from my past not too long ago. One I liked and respected greatly. I found out that he died in 1995. He’s still being mentioned in current publications. Another I allowed to harm me. She now has a colostomy. I think because she had cancer. I don’t know how I feel about either of those facts.
4) When I split up with my girlfriend of ten years, she took one of our three dogs and moved into a crappy apartment. Six years later she’s living in a different crappy apartment, is lonely without a girlfriend, is unhappy at work and her dog is always sick and needing expensive vet care. The dog has also recently started to leave large puddles of pee everywhere. In the meantime I have gotten together with a Man, we have bought the building my ex and I lived in together and the Man has been fixing it up and making it beautiful, I’ve had promotions at work and my dogs are as healthy and continent as they were ten years ago. I feel guilty but not responsible. I think there’s something immature about my feelings but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be aiming at.
5) I am a lesbian married to a man. I never thought I would marry – as a true Canadian I hold that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation – but now that I’m married I like it. I freely recommend it to everyone. (Note also that as a Canadian I could marry a woman just as legally as marrying a man. By recommending marriage I am not at all promoting heterosexuality. No. Here in Canada those are two completely independent thoughts!) (Oh – the answer to the usual question: “Well, I’d certainly prefer him to be a woman, but nobody’s perfect.”)
6) I am addicted to medblogs. This has almost completely supplanted my earlier addiction to advice columns. What I have learned is that medicine is a profession that will engage you intellectually, physically and emotionally. It will keep you sharp into old age. These are good reasons to go into medicine. A bad reason is wanting to help people. If you think you want to help people it’s just because you haven’t met enough of them. I don’t know if this is a widespread or universal attitude among doctors, though I suspect it is. From a patient’s perspective, I find it comforting. I don’t have to be likeable to get good care. An individual doctor’s level of misanthropy (or distance) is well-established before they meet me, and they are still in medicine. Because they want to be. For reasons that have nothing to do with me or my likeability.
7) I have almost no imagination. I can think very analytically about something that already exists, but I have almost no ability to create something that does not yet exist… say, a trip to somewhere I haven’t been yet.
8) I wonder how my life would be different without my dogs. They are wonderful companions. Pepe asks to be carried all the time, and carrying a soft, sighing 2.5-kilo creature is very soothing. Poupoune’s absolute joy in her walks is infectious. So one would think they improve my life, and perhaps they do. Perhaps without them I would be more driven to seek human companionship. I can’t know.
Who I tag: nobody. This one ends with me.