These are bbbsg’s questions for me. Unfortunately, in a couple cases my ability to answer them is hampered by my notoriously poor memory.
- who has been the single most influential person in your life?
Hmmm. This is tricky. The three most important people in my life are (in chronological order) my mother, a wonderful housemate I had in New Jersey named Ilene, and of course Tigris. Ilene’s definitely a strong third; she had a very strong effect on my thinking and my ways of relating to people and making choices in a small time period, and she plugged me into bi and poly communities. It’s hard to pick between my mother and Tigris, though. My mother is basically responsible for me learning critical thinking, for most of my value system, for my questioning conventional wisdom and working things out for myself. And she taught me to read. But Tigris’ effect on my life for the past decade has been pervasive and marvelous — I see things through her eyes, look forward to telling her things, get excited about the things she’s excited about, and have put a lot of work into building a life together (with perhaps not exactly the results we’d expected). Just a small example is that I’ve internalized her enthusiasm for dogs, and I get excited when I see a puppy the way she does (but I didn’t before I met her). I think I have to end up going with my mother, because she’s responsible for aspects of my personality that have been with me since childhood, and if she hadn’t raised me so well (instilling virtues such as humility, as you can tell) Tigris wouldn’t have liked me so much in the first place.
- if you had to choose between being poly and being bi, which would it be and why?
Interesting question. The question is a little different depending on whether I interpret it as being about rearranging my internal makeup, how my head works, or how I live (i.e., I had to live as if I were straight/gay or mono). But either way I think the answer is the same: I’d rather be celibate and alone than monogamous, and while I kiss and suck and scope men with the best of ’em, I’m only Kinsey 2 or so. I’ve known monogamy didn’t make sense to me since childhood, but I only began the process of identifying as bi in college (when I discovered to my great surprise and delight that some other men were actually people, just like women were), and finished it a few years later. So I’d choose poly.
- what was your best birthday to date?
This is one of the ones that my terrible memory makes difficult to answer. I don’t think I can remember, specifically, any of my birthdays! I certainly remember parties, some of which were probably birthday parties, and I remember gifts I’ve gotten, some of which must have been birthday gifts. But I don’t have anything I can describe that I’m sure was associated with one of my birthdays, and if I did, I wouldn’t remember what birthday it was. I did get a great gift in the past few years, a Zoob construction set from Lisa and Bearpaw, and that was probably a birthday gift, but it might have been a solstice gift. Anyway, it was a great gift, but of course gifts are not the main thing that makes a birthday good, so that doesn’t answer the question.
If people want to make future birthdays of mine wonderful, they should email me privately for suggestions. :-)
- pick one: doing interesting work that benefits society, but getting no recognition for it, or being well known for something trivial. explain your choice.
Definitely doing interesting work that benefits society. My superego is fun, friendly, and highly unconventional, but it is firmly in charge. I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing what I feel is right, even if I personally don’t benefit from it. If I could see little changes here and there and feel like I had a hand in them in some way, I’d feel wonderful, even if nobody knew about my role. (Actually, the work I’ve done on Poly Boston feels a little bit that way, although of course there’s recognition involved in that.) Also, while I’d like to be well known for doing something important, I think I’d be embarrassed if I were well-known for doing something trivial, and I’d feel like it was an impediment to things that did matter to me. As I was discussing recently, I tend to have a low tolerance for triviality, especially in myself. (I probably carry that too far, actually.)
- did you have a favorite toy as a child? if so, what was it?
And here’s where my memory does the worst damage. I can’t remember a single toy I had as a child! There’s one (a little toddler-sized car I got when I was two that I could sit on and ride around) that I have an image of, but I think I remember being told about it rather than actually remembering it itself, and it certainly wasn’t a favourite. Oh, wait, I do remember I had some Star Trek dolls, but they weren’t favourites either. I’ve got a mental picture of my bedroom growing up, and I can’t place any toys in it, although I know I had some. Oh, well. I liked making plastic models; I don’t know if they count as toys.
My favourite toy (in the child’s-toy sense) I have now is probably the Zoob construction set I mentioned.
Thanks for the questions, bbbsg! If other people have questions for me, feel free to post them, although I am very busy and occupied at the moment and may not get to them right away.