I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
6. With all those medical conditions I hate being fussed over. I hate being sick or in pain. If I happen to trip over in the street I’m more worried about being embarrassed or fussed over than any possible pain or injury. I remember one particular incident where I was crossing the street to get to my local train station. I was going into the city for a job interview. I was nicely dressed - dress pants, nice ballet flats, blouse and wool over coat (it was winter) and feeling nervous about the interview. I was walking at a normal speed across the road, as there weren’t any cars coming when I started out, and I had just crossed the middle line when suddenly I slipped on the asphalt and fell to my knees. I immediately stood up and continued across the road as if nothing had happened – I didn’t want anyone to notice that I fell, that was more important than the blood dripping down my leg or the gravel rash on my palms. I was just on time for my train, so I didn’t take the time to check out what I’d done to my leg and I simply brushed the gravel out of the scrapes on my hands and placed them so no one else on the train would see the damage. I travelled all the way into the city and walked to the office building where my interview was scheduled to be held. When I got there I felt lucky because I was early and the interviewers were running late due to the number of applicants they’d scheduled for the day. I tried to surreptitiously ask the receptionist if she might have a Band-Aid and where the toilet was so I could go and clean myself up. Unfortunately, she felt the need to announce it to one of my future interviewers as she went past and I had to display the wound to everyone before I was allowed to go to the toilets and wash it off. The embarrassment of the original incident and then being asked to display it for a woman (one of those tall, thin, well-put-together, beautiful women who never has awkward, blood pouring down your leg moments like the rest of us) who could turn out to be my boss is permanently incinerated in my memory. I didn’t get the job and the other interviewer, who wasn’t involved in the discussion of my clumsiness actually commented that I should dress a little better for any future interviews – I refrained from pointing out my injuries, figuring the co-interviewer would clue her in after I left, thus saving me the embarrassment of having to pull up my pant leg again.
I usually don’t mention a hypo to anyone unless I absolutely have to – for example I might say to my mum “I can’t go do that thing that you want me to because I need about an hour to fully recover from the hypo I’m having at the moment.” or “Don’t mind me, I just need to devour a mini Mars Bar in the middle of this ski lesson.” to my fellow ski lesson students and the instructor, but if I’m just in the house and go hypo I’ll just grab some food or juice and continue whatever I was doing before. If anything more extreme needs to be done, then I’ll make it known before I pass out. In fact I don’t tell my instructors I’m a diabetic unless I’m about to do something strange like eat in the middle of the lesson, and then when I do they get all fussy over me and ask why I didn’t say anything before and I think “Maybe because I didn’t want all this special treatment and walking on eggshells around me and my disease.” Just because I’m diabetic, doesn’t mean I can’t complete a two-hour ski lesson (or any other physical activity) without a problem 99.99% of the time, in fact the most likely reason for me not completing the lesson would be ‘my legs are on fire and I can’t turn any more’.
7. I don’t really like driving. I’m happy driving the five minutes to my local supermarket. I’m reasonably happy driving the 12 minutes to my local department store. I’m not happy driving the 17 minutes to a friend’s house because I’m not as familiar with the road and when I do have to do it (like dropping her off late at night after dinner out with friends) I get anxious to the point of needing to use the toilet, urgently. I’m terrified of having a second car accident and I believe that’s more likely to happen when I’m not used to the driving/traffic conditions because I may have to make a lane change quickly because I didn’t know that the right lane was right turn only (or something like that), that kind of situation makes me feel sick with fear. I need to drive the same trip 20, 30 or more, times over before I feel comfortable (and that’s in prime conditions – hardly any traffic, day time, not raining). It’s kind of like with my skiing – I’m a fair-weather skier - and the same can be said about my driving, but if I know where I’m going and am confident in my ability to get there in one piece I crank my iPod up and sing along at the top of my voice.
8. At my current age of 29.5 years I’ve come to the conclusion that I will probably never marry and am even less likely to have children (due to time restrictions along with everything else). This morning while I was putting my boots on to go out for my morning ski there was a three (or so) year old having his ski suit put on (or should I say, due to the child’s wiggling the child was being shoved into the ski suit). I tried not to stare, but the kid was staring at me and his father said something along the lines of “Smile at the pretty lady! Say hi to the pretty lady.” I tried not to give the father an askance look at the “lady” part – you’re not a lady till you’re at least 50, at not quite 30 I’m still a girl. I was watching the kid and thinking “I don’t have the patience for that. It’s hard enough getting myself ready for skiing, without worrying about squirming, screaming children.” I just think human parenthood is not for me, I would far rather have six dogs than two children. I’m too selfish – I want to be able to get in the car and go somewhere without having to worry about what I’m going to do with the child; I don’t want to be responsible for the education of a person who is going to go out into the world and effect in good or bad ways depending on how I raised it; I don’t want to be like my parents and look back and think “Oh, if only I had done this when my child was young, maybe they wouldn’t have grown up to make these ill-advised (if not illegal) choices.” That’s too much responsibility on the shoulders of a girl who still feels 19 on the inside. Nineteen was a perfect age for me – I could vote, drive and drink (not that I did, but I could) - that was the year I took over the family grocery shopping and now it’s one of my favourite chores because it feeds into my love of cooking which (of course) feeds into my love of eating (everything leads to me eating for some reason or other). When I ask my mum how old she feels inside she always says about 30, but I still feel 19 and wish I could go back there and stay put, I had almost no responsibility but had the freedom to do what I wanted. I just wish I could have found my ultimate dream job a little earlier to avoid all the confidence smashing office jobs that I had to go through first.
9. I really do LOVE to read and I want other people to love to read. My favourite post of all time (at the moment) is Read and Let Read by Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile because it says everything I feel about reading. It should be inclusive, anyone should be able to read anything they want to (from about age 12-15 up, depending on maturity of the child/teen). If any group in the community is going to be open-minded it should be the readers because they’re reading/learning about so many different places/people/cultures/religions/lifestyle choices/races/any subject imaginable that I find it hard to imagine a reader still holding prejudices about pretty much anything. But then, of course, we do continue to come across members of our community who have fast-held prejudices against one, or all of the above controversial topics. I hope that the more books people read and the more people who read books the better the world will get and I hate that a small subgroup of our community, the SPAs, are putting people off reading. Every time a new reader encounters a Riley Hill or an author like her I can just imagine them going “Oh, I don’t want to deal with people like that. I don’t think I’ll bother reading anymore, it’s too hard to talk about the books I’ve read with crazy people screaming at me because I didn’t write a review.” and then I get sad and frustrated at the possibility of the loss of another reader due to dreadful author behaviour. I don’t want people to love the books I love, I just want them to love A book (or more, if possible).
10. I am a real homebody (does anyone really say that anymore?). I live with my parents in the same house we’ve lived in for the last 17.5 years. As a family we shop, eat and generally live full-time in our home suburb. I think it’s genetic because my parents don’t think it’s worth the effort to leave the suburb or (shock, horror) go to the city for any reason. Occasionally my friends will convince me to meet them for dinner in the city (a 20 min or so journey on the train), but I don’t like the journey or the feeling of not being somewhere I’m 100% familiar with. I get lost within a few minutes of leaving the main train station, which is a central hub in the city (everyone meets there at the start of an evening out in the city), and it’s even worse getting back to the station, everything looks different, plus it’s usually dark by that time. If my friends suddenly abandoned me more than a couple hundred metres from the station (within view of the station, which rises above many of the other buildings) I would be in a total panic as to how to get home. I would probably end up calling my dad and describing where I was so he could direct me over the phone (if I’d remembered to charge it, that is). I like to do all my shopping at my local plaza which has a butcher, green grocer, fish monger, newsagent, chemist, deli, café, two bakeries, a noodle place and a large supermarket (if only they had a mailbox in the plaza it would be perfect). I go half a suburb away to get my hair and nails done (one place is a couple of stores down the main street from the other). If I have the choice, throughout my life, I will choose to continue living with my parents, in the same suburb, in the same house. My real estate goal in life is to be the last holdout with a single family house that has a backyard – it’ll be crotchety old me and my pack of dogs with the only backyard in the suburb surrounded by medium density apartments (it’s started already with apartment blocks being built on properties that used to hold a single family home).
So there you go, that's 10 of the things I think it's most important for friends to know. I've had fun reading everyone else's Grim Top Ten, I hope you all have the same fun reading mine.