Friday, July 6, 2007

The Eight Wonderments Meme

Thank you all for your commiseration on the head trauma! NK, yours had me laughing out loud! :) The dent has been replaced by a lovely knot and it's still tender, but my cranium is still intact.

But now to business! Squadratomagico tagged me for a revision of the "Eight Facts About Me" meme - this one is much more challenging! I've been thinking about this meme for a couple of days and it's been a little hard to come up with 8 Wonderments. "Perhaps it's because I wonder about too little? Or too much?", I asked Hilaire in a recent email...8 facts about me seemed easier (e.g., some of you know that I bartended at a strip club for a while - fully clothed). But then I realized that the things we wonder about also tell us some facts about the wonderer, yes? Maybe even more interesting things...

So, (just to beat this personal wondering/personal fact dynamic to death) I've decided to list 8 things I wonder about and then in parentheses include the fact about me that I feel lies behind that wondering. A combination of navel-gazing and deep thoughts by Medieval Woman. I'm going to stay away from the wondering about what's going to happen with The Dutchman's and my living situation/marriage/dual, long-distance careers over the next couple of years. Anyone who has read my self-indulgent blogging over the last few months (but is any blog NOT self-indulgent?) knows that I wonder about this a lot. So, that wonderment goes without saying - these don't:

Question the First:
Will I be able to sustain my long-term research agenda? I realized the other day while driving TD to the airport that I do actually have a legitimate (i.e., not artificially bloated for the job market) research plan that includes 3 or so articles and a book. I even ostensibly have a second book project. But can I really do all this without the guidance of a dissertation committee? The answer is, yes - I know the "yes" intellectually, but I don't feel the "yes" in my gut at this point. I wonder, when will if feel the "yes"?
(Attendant fact: I'm obviously a totally healthy, newly-minted Ph.D. starting her first t-t job.)

Question the Second:
(PART A) I wonder when we're going to get incontrovertible evidence that there is intelligent life on other planets? And I know the old joke: have we found evidence of intelligent life on this planet? :) But seriously, I totally believe this and I wonder when (or if) this is going to happen.
(Attendant fact A: MW is a total sci-fi geek - but I wonder about this in a more Jodie Foster Contact kind of way than in an alien invasion Independence Day kind of way. Beam me up, Scotty.)
(PART B) I wonder what that proof of intelligent alien life would do to our Western religious mindset? Or any mindset - religious or scientific - for that matter. Seriously - for those who believe that God made man in his image and that was it, aliens would kind of blow that out of the water, eh? How would the religious right deal conceptually and practically with evidence of intelligent alien life?
(Attendant fact B: Medieval Woman secretly wants to see most conservative organized religions reduced to total doctrinal higgledy-piggledy...just the ones who say, "no gays, no chicks, no hanky-panky...")

Question the Third:
I wonder what it will feel like to be pregnant? I've stated in the past that TD and I would like to have a baby in the next couple of years. But I wonder what it will be like specifically to feel the baby move inside me?
(Slightly Buried Attendant fact: I have a hard time giving up control of things - especially where my body is concerned. Will having a child inside me moving of their own volition feel cool or creepy? Maternal or alien parasite? Hmmmm.....)

Question the Fourth:
Why do cats get such a buzz off catnip? I'll admit to sniffing it questioningly sometimes and it smells fresh and herby, but I don't get a buzz of it (alas, unlike other herbs...) - what gives?

Question the Fifth:
Is it all just chance? Sometimes I wonder about the random series of events that leads one to a potentially painful or annoying outcome. Case in point: I banged my head pretty bad last night. The reason I did this was because I saw what looked to me to be a baby fly buzzing around my office. "Baby flies?", I thought, "are they coming from outside or inside the house? Did I clean out that pot from last night? Ew..." So I went in the kitchen and leaned over the pot to make sure there weren't any gross thingys in there and - WHAM! - suddenly I didn't give a shit about the flies anymore. (I checked again this morning and there wasn't). The lesson here might be - just wash the fucking pot, MW. Don't look into it to see if you can get out off washing it for a while longer. But I slightly digress. Everyone's heard of the glass is half empty/full dichotomy - it's basically about interpretation - how do you interpet an outcome or the events that lead up to that outcome? If you extend your analysis far enough back from an event and also project far enough forward, you can find meaning (good, bad, or indifferent) in just about anything. So, I wonder: is there anything like destiny? Or chance for that matter? Or is it all just about interpretation? Is what we call "fate" or "destiny" or whatever large external guiding force we prefer really coming from inside us? From our own interpretation of our lives? Is this comforting or terrifying?
(Attendant fact: when the Dutchman is away, MW doesn't do the dishes as often as she should. Also, I simultaneously believe in The Force that Binds the Galaxy Together (and I do believe that it's always with me, Yoda) but I also cede no intellectual or physical power over my own life to The Force. Paradox?)

Question the Sixth:
How many more good friends will I make in my lifetime? How many more do I need? I would like to live in a place long enough to make a few good friends (rather than work acquaintances or colleagues) where I live - right now they're all in far away places...
(Attendant fact: I'm feeling a bit lonely right now - I realized that I don't have any friends in Dutchman U city - the one I did have has moved far away to be with her husband. I would like to have a drink or lunch with someone....but there's no one. Sigh.)

Question the Seventh:
I wonder why I'm terrified of spiders and not snakes? I've found that most people are afraid of one and not of the other. Why am I an arachnophobe? I've never been bitten by a spider (random factoid: unlike J.R.R. Tolkien who was bitten by a baboon spider - an African version of a tarantula - as a child. This is where his notion of Shelob, the giant, psycho spider in The Lord of the Rings comes from. My students loved that one...). But why me?
(Attendant fact: We have a picture on our fridge that is a polaroid of me and the Dutchman with a 6 foot python named Lucy wound around our shoulders and necks. Way cool.)

Question the Eighth:
I wonder, who wrote the book of love? :)
(Attendant fact: this last one is a bit of a cop out, but I've had that song stuck in my head while I've composed this post. And I'm hungry and want to go and eat Triscuits...)


Hilaire said...

These are great questions and facts!

Your #7 made me think about the fact that I'm afraid of neither snakes nor spiders. But I am afraid of insects. Why insects, and not spiders?

Well, I haven't gone anywhere after all, so if you want a reprieve from loneliness, I'm here -- and with no plans, for once!

squadratomagico said...

Yay! for a super set of questions!

I have to say, though it's unlikely I ever will have kids, I've really wondered about the pregnancy thing, too. On the one hand: how unbelievably amazing! On the other... well, couldn't it gestate in a pot or something, and I could water it?

I also love the question about fate or destiny, or what SweetCliffie's texts would call "karma" (which is a little less impersonal). I am particularly interested in this issue because, well, without wanting to sound annoying, I think I have had more than my fair share of lucky breaks. Don't get me wrong: I work very hard at nearly everything I do, and certainly some of my good fortune is due to my own industry. But I often feel like I just beat the odds more frequently than most people.

Thanks for playing!

medieval woman said...

Hilaire! Feel better! I'll email...

And Sq, first off - you could never sound annoying! :) I love your idea of gestating a baby in a pot - kind of like a Chia Child? And I actually feel the same way about my karma - I've had pretty good luck so far in life. The job market has been a challenge until now, but it did mean that I got to live with TD for the past 4 years. And the living apart thing - is it a tough break or just kind of par for the course with a dual academic family? And it might be over after a year, which would be dandy. Indeed, I've had a tidbit of news that there might be a chance it could be over in a year. At least it's a chance!

gwoertendyke said...

yes, you will feel invaded and especially irritated at the parasite for the first three months and the last three weeks.

but feeling bugger move is a rush.

if and when said gestation takes place, i will offer more hilarious asides.