Friday, March 23, 2007

Interview Meme

Straight from Zee at Zee Says, my entry into the interview meme.

1. Tell me about one holiday tradition your family has that you think is unique.

This may not be strictly unique, but I think it is unusual. We don’t rip into our Christmas presents all at once--there’s a structure to the gift giving. Presents are opened one person at a time, with the person who opened the last one getting to pick the present for the next person. We do this in set rounds--when everyone’s gotten one, we decide whether to do another round or do something like watch one of our new movies or cook or take a break from each other. It is absolutely required that my dad (and his camera) capture the giftee and gift on film. We do one or two rounds on Christmas Eve (after church) and then leave the rest until Christmas day.

The rounds tend to break down by evening, when people who got some big gifts have opened them all and people who got a lot of little gifts are still opening. But I don’t think we’d ever do it any other way. It stretches the day out forever, and it also focuses us on each other and not just the joy of acquisition.

2. What is one thing you regret?

Hiding in a book for most of high school and never accepting any of the overtures of friendship or socialization made to me. A really bad middle school experience made me suspicious and cagey, convinced that anybody reaching out had their own nefarious plans for making my life hell.

3. What is one movie you think all people should be required to see? Why? If it is not a movie that most people have seen, give a 1-2 sentence summary.

The Sixth Sense. It’s one of the few movies that make me cry that I will actually watch again. I love the way it looks at life and death and who’s on which side, and how it affects them.

4. What is your favorite comfort food?
Mexican food, like my mom makes. More specifically, frijoles that still have little bits of uncrushed bean and lots of cheese and milk and you know that some kind of beef or ham bone was involved in the cooking of the beans. The smell and taste and texture just mean home to me.

5. What is the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? How did you maintain the fear from overtaking you?

I temped for about a year in between undergrad and library school. (I don’t recommend that, by the way. Not long-term. Temps are treated like the gum on your shoe in a lot of offices.) I got fired suddenly from a temp job . . . the agency called me and told me not to go to work the next day. I wasn’t even entirely sure why. I’d never been fired or kicked off anything before. I was terrified that I’d done something horrendously wrong that the agency refused to tell me about, and they would never hire me again, and I’d wind up begging pennies on the street corner in order to pay the tuition to the library school that had just simultaneously accepted me and told me they couldn’t offer financial aid. It didn’t help that it was more than a month before I got another job from them, and I just watched my bank account slide toward zero.

I know now that I was expendable, just a temp that they could jettison at will, and there was probably nothing personal in it. But at the time, it felt darn personal.

I got through it day by day. The thing that helped most was going to church, where I also sang in the choir. The friendship and support of that choir helped out so much, and so did the feeling that there were things out there bigger than my stupid little life.

If you want to play, leave comments and I’ll try to come up with my own interview questions.


Lisa said...

We have a similar Christmas ritual but without the photographs. Daddy would hand everyone a pad of paper (we usually got pencils in our stockings) and then play Santa, finding a gift for everyone. Then we'd all open the gift and write it down on the pad (so we could write thank yous later).

All three of us girls had close friends that celebrated Hanukkah; one year my sister Connie (envious of Dana, Sue and Lisa) asked dad why we couldn't have *8* days of presents.

Well something clicked for him. You see, he really disliked the Christmas merchandising and couldn't abide piped-in carols before advent. So that year we started celebrating the 12 days of Christmas.

On Christmas day we opened the stockings and the gifts from relatives and friends, and then beginning the day after Christmas we'd get mom and dad's gifts -- one gift a night -- for 12 days. Nothing lavish, mind you. It was often silly stuff like toothpaste or the ceramic animals dad made.

The bonus was that my parents could wait until after Christmas to do their shopping, and save money that way.

zeelibrarian said...

Great answers. We do the same thing on Christmas, although not to the same extent. We open each gift one at at time. We usually start with the youngest person first. They get to open one present. Then the next youngest opens on present. We continue like this up through the oldest person. So everyone has opened one gift. Then we start over again. I have only spent Christmas at one other person's house. They all tore into their gifts, and I was so shocked. My dad used to write down each gift on the "clipboard o' fun", but he stopped that after we got impatient with having to wait until he had written the stuff down. Plus, we used to get presents from extended family. Now that it is just us bums, thank you cards are not needed.