Note: The pandemic does strange things to you. I’ve only done a couple of surveys, but a global disease conflagration makes me more likely to want to do them here because I have a lot of time in isolation to think about my life and how long I might have left. That is, since I’m retired. The pandemic also forces me to think hard about my values and philosophy of life, as well as making me keenly aware of my own mortality. I realize that even a careful trip to the grocery could lead to my contracting a deadly new disease the world has never seen before and was totally unprepared for. (Side note: I don’t go to the grocery or any store now). Even the simplest, and on the surface, most inane surveys can cause me to look seriously at every conceivable question or topic and either write honestly or miss the deeper meaning behind those “silly” surveys.
I discovered this one at Open Diary. I’ve also eliminated a couple of questions that were either cringe-worthy, too embarrassing to consider, or too private. But like most surveys, this one is deceptively complex.
1) Beach or mountains — Mountains, but only because I’ve lived 9 miles from the beach for 25 years. It’s very flat here and there are no rushing mountain streams or any other kind of stream except for tidal creeks, which have their own magical beauty, of course. And, the ocean has its rhythmic waves and blissful sea breezes transporting the dreaming soul to another world far from this sordid mess we’ve made here on Earth. The few times I’ve been to the mountains, I’ve felt like I was on top of the world.
2) Dream car — A beautifully restored 1956 Chevy Bel-Air, a car with THE classic 50s lines, and the one in which I learned to drive back in the Good Old Days when life was a lot simpler, to all appearance, that is! :)
3) Favorite dog type — A lovable, smart mutt that’s totally nondescript. Is that a “type?”
4) Favorite movie star — A tie between either Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau in “The Front Page.” I have an extensive background in journalism, and thus my friends and I could laugh hysterically at certain lines while no one else in the theater “got it.”
5) Favorite movie —Hands down, “Breaking Away.” Dennis Christopher and Paul Dooley, and everyone else in that amazing cast made life in an Indiana college town circa 1979 come alive in such a joyous and life-affirming way that I cheered at the end along with everyone else in the theater. I felt intensely the glow of life, real life. I was very happy every time I saw it. A movie for the ages.
6) Dream vacation — No question, a long trip to the English countryside, concentrating on The Cotswolds and The Lake District in the north of England. I love English gardens, and I want to see as many as I can. Also, I want to explore the countryside where William Wordsworth wrote his poetry.
7) Do you eat meat? The thought of eating cows and pigs, when you think of what transpired to deliver that steak or plate of pulled barbecue pork to your table, is so appalling to me now that I’m ashamed to even lift a single fork of meat. I am almost off chicken (fried chicken is probably my favorite food and has been since childhood), but this last meat is by far the hardest to give up. Deride me if you want, but I’m militant on this issue.
8) Favorite scent — Sadly, I’ve lost most of my sense of taste and smell in the past 10 years which is rather tragic for someone for whom smells are so integral to fully calling forth memories from the past. However, I can still faintly detect the sublime scent of gardenias here each late Spring, and I won’t ever give up on that.
9) How many brothers and sisters? One of each and I’m the eldest. Can you tell?
10) Longest relationship? 1 year. A sad and impossible friendship/love story if you will, that could never have survived or been fulfilled. A story from 42 years ago of epic pathos.
11) Can you drive? Yes, and quite well for my age, though I try to avoid driving at night. This is pretty easy since I never go anywhere except to the park to walk once a day near sunset. The pandemic is making a hermit out of me which is really not at all hard to imagine. One other thing about driving. I vow that I will NEVER become like those old folks who drive 10-20 miles an hour below the speed limit and seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that they are a total menace on the road and are endangering people’s lives because there are a lot of very impatient drivers out there. Ever heard of “road rage?”.
12) Do (Did) you make good grades? Yes, all the way from first grade through years of graduate school working on more than one masters degree (strictly for career purposes). My siblings and I never even remotely considered not living up to our parents’ unspoken expectations in this regard.
13) Do you have a job? No, I retired three years ago. Finally, and ironically, in the closing chapter of my life I am able to live life as it should always have been lived. I feel more alive than I ever have even as “time’s winged chariot” flies ever faster toward its final destination.
14) Do you want to get married? Never have been, never will be, and never want to be. Marriage is a legal contract that can have absolutely disastrous consequences. Look avthe percentage of marriages today that end in divorce. The ritual and formality, and often the hopeless optimism bordering on fantasy, of a formal And costly wedding ceremony seems very much misplaced to me in this supposedly modern age. I so much more admire the couple wed under the oaks at the nearby city park with a small lake and fountain in the background. A simple, free celebration in the finest of cathedrals — Nature.
15) Do you want to have kids. No, don’t have any, never have, and never wanted to except fleetingly. Look around you and see what kind of world has been created in the name of progress, and really ask yourself if you’d want to bring an innocent baby into such a world. Yes, the world has always had poverty, war, famines, barbarity, disease, class subjugation and warfare, and evil and corrupt leaders such as we now have in the United States. But never in the history of our species have we brought the earth so close to climate disaster, depletion of natural resources, total over-population, and pandemics that have the capacity to kill untold millions despite our scientific and technological progress. “For whom does the bell toll?” For you and me.
16) Who do you think will do this survey? Someone like me.
Last updated August 30, 2020