Why you so serious, baby?
It has been a while since I stopped and took some time to ask my wife 20 questions. I did it waaaay back before the tumblr when I was on Blogger. I kind of miss Blogger. It allowed for so much more customization, but move along with the times. Anyway… the wife and I have been together for over 18 years now (married for 16+), so this will be interesting on many different levels.
Onto the questions:
You know my story, I write it out every time I do one of these 20 questions. Born in Oklahoma City, moved to Montgomery, AL, then to Birmingham, AL, went to college in Kent, Ohio where we met and fell in the loves, and then I will let you tell the rest of the story. Question 1: I already know it, but this is for the readers. What is your geographic story?
Okay. First let me say that I adore you. Our love is like no other. You are my heart’s joy.
Good. I wanted to get that out of the way so that henceforth you will not be looking for me to say especially loving things in this interview. Takes the pressure off both of us.
My geographic story. I was born in Massillon, Ohio a town in the “rust belt” where the high school football stadium can hold half the town and the coach was burned in effigy after a losing season. We lived there for the first five years of my life, and then moved to be with my mother’s family in rural Iowa. Quite a shock to the system, that. We moved a couple of times in Iowa and then headed back to rural Ohio when I was in 6th grade where we lived until I went to college.
Met you at Kent State University - a place I went so that everyone wouldn’t know who I was and I was not the only Black person - and then we moved to Columbus for graduate school and stayed. I occasionally try to get you to move someplace else, but you like it here. I like you. And the football is big here, too. I’ve come full circle.
And, also, I love it here.
Columbus, is a surprisingly good town to live in. So, you constantly bring up moving, which surprises me when I remember how annoyingly difficult moving is. It is like you have forgotten last summer completely. So, … Question 2: If there were no impediments, where would you ultimately like to move?
We hadn’t moved in 11 years - I think it’s unfair to make that particular experience our reference point! Next time I’m sure it will be super easy, we will not have to move twice in one week, and the seller will not hate us.
Plus, you have to admit that this is a really great place we ended up. Completely worth it.
But to answer your question. If there were no impediments (I didn’t have to worry about impact on our kids, cost of living, nearness to an airport, leaving local work, etc), I’d like to live outside of a city of less than 200,000 people where I had access to forests and running trails. Seasons would be good, too. Except winter. No need for that one.
The house is great and I love it greatly. I do think it was the correct decision, and I love where it is in relation to the amenities of the city and how, even though we are easily associated with the city we have deer in the back yard. So, here comes question 3… The question 3 that everyone has been waiting for… Oh yeah, here it comes… Question 3: Cake or pie…. which specific kind and why? Even though I am pretty sure I already know the answer to this one….
Cake. I suppose.
But really, I could do without either. I don’t like pie, and cake is just taking up the space in my stomach that could be filled with red meat.
I knew that you didn’t like either cake or pie… mainly because you are an inhuman monster, but this is a typical question of the 20 Questions, so I had to… Question 4: What is the most exotic meat you have ever “taken down?”
Oh, I’m actually fairly pedestrian in my meat choices. I barely like turkey.
I imagine elk is probably the most exotic meat I’ve had - in a great burger at The Happy Gnome in St. Paul Minnesota.
Here’s my thing: I already like meat A LOT. There is no need to add any other kinds. That’s just gluttony. And if my 6 lb liver tumor has taught me anything, it’s that gluttony will eventually catch up with you.
The most bizarre meat I have ever had is a tie between rattle snake and alligator (not that you asked), but, honestly I cannot say that those meats were anything more than tastes because I did not really have a meal associated with them. For everyone’s information, my wife has a benign tumor on her liver that occasionally will slow down her digestion and cause a bit of discomfort. She typically has to go on a low fat diet for a few weeks to get it to calm down, but this week she is trying a “Juice Fast” to curb the tumor’s effects. Question 5: How is the juice fast going?
Why the fuck would you ask me that question?
Well… I … urm… I thought that I would just check in on you while you were depriving yourself of delicious tasty solid food. So…. I would say your answer could have been “Not well, thanks for asking.” At least that’s how I am translating it.
So… Onto much less testy subjects… Question 6: What is your favorite way of having a big thick juicy steak prepared?
I’ll be honest. I’m a minimalist. (and I’m also no longer juice fasting so I can answer without curse words) I just need a good piece of meat, prepared medium rare, perhaps with some butter for garnish. Grilled is good. Broiled is good. Pan fried is fine. Whatever.
Though I have found that I’m not a fan of smoked steak - tastes too much like ham. Yuck.
I mean, ham is fine for what it is. But it ain’t steak, and I prefer that my meats are clear about their identities.
Ee gads…now you’re going to ask me a question about my biracial identity, aren’t you?
I will not be led by the questionee. You cannot tell me what to ask you. Unlike most things in our marriage, 20 Questions Tuesday is my dojo. This realm has a king, and that king is me! You cannot come here and attempt to throw your influence around like my will is some ragdoll flopping in your unbending gaze. I will not stand for you tampering with my system. Question 7: Seriously, you aren’t going to take over my blog are you?
I am taking over your blog because that is what is good in my life. That and crushing my enemies, seeing them driven before me, and hearing the lamentation of their women.
And seizing your blog.
Blog seizing… so shameless. Rest assured I will continually attempt to wrest control of MY blog from you for the remainder of the 20 questions. I am nothing if not a master of guerrilla blogging.
Question 8: Fill in the blanks. I feel that I am mostly _____. Others feel that I am mostly _____. (feel free to get input from others on the last part)
I feel that I am mostly happy. Not everything is perfect, but this life we lead is pretty darn good and so much different than I ever imagined. I feel like I’m happy despite all the bad things happening in the world - just as a fucking radical act.
Others feel that I am mostly ________. (I asked four of my friends - all of whom are very, very different from each other - how they would answer this. Because I realized that I don’t really know what others think of me. I’d like to say it’s because that I’m all: what others think of me is not my business, but I think it’s more that I’m just a wee bit clueless.)
Anyway. Here’s what they said:
Lex - thoughtful, kind, organized
Deb - the best friend ever
Melissa - mindblowingly awesome
Chris - just fucking brilliant
I think this actually doesn’t tell you a whole lot about me except that I choose really good, kind friends who have a way with words.
Your friends are awesome and you should be super happy to have them. I would add to their comments that you are fiercely loving and a wonderful partner. But I am surprised none of the people you asked mentioned how intense you are…. so smolderingly intense. You scare people, yo! That being said, I am super happy that you are mostly happy. I would like to take a certain amount of credit for that.
Question 9: Did any of your friends’ responses surprise you?
I don’t think that I am so much surprised by my friends’ responses as I knew they would say nice things, but I was deeply touched. It’s a bit hard for me to take in (ie Chris Corrigan, one of the smartest dudes I know, thinks I’m brilliant), but I am trying these days to graciously take compliments. It seems like the grown up thing to do.
I was a little surprised that no one mentioned the “i” word, but I think it’s mostly because the four people above have their own level of intensity and don’t seem to be bothered/ intimidated/ adversely impacted by my intensity.
I would be interested to know what it’s like for you, though, being partnered with someone who seems to be perceived as a little intense at times.
Your intensity doesn’t bother me. I love being able to see other peoples reaction to your surprising intensity. When people first meet you they do not expect any backbone or teeth. Your intensity is only apparent up close. People who are just meeting you or only dealing with you from afar are surprised at how intense you can be. Many people think you are just made for the pretty. They are not ready for the pretty and intensity.
I have to say that this 20 questions is a bit more difficult to do since we know each other pretty darn well. Coming up with 20 questions that I don’t already know the answer to.
Question 10: What is the favorite meal that we tend to make for dinner, and should we have it this week?
I see you there, Slick, trying to trick me into menu planning for the week by telling me I’m pretty. I got you.
My favorite meal you make is Mongolian Beef a la PF Chang’s. I think yours is way better. I do not think we should make it this week as it tends to be really time intensive. Instead let’s make Chicken ‘Tatoes Pot…easy peasy.
Menu planning indeed… Chicken ‘Tatoes Pot is a great idea. I don’t think we have all the ingredients, so maybe we can get that going later this week.
Question 11: What household activity do you do now, that you had no idea you would be doing when we first got married?
Ooh! That’s a good one. So much of our life now is “I had not idea I would be doing this” so it’s a bit hard to peg down.
The easy answer is that I never imagined putting a leaf in our dining room table because I never envisioned us having a real-deal-let’s-have-people-over-for-Thanksgiving-worthy table. I don’t know, and I get that it’s totally ridiculous, but it just seemed so suburban to me. So I’m a wife with 2.5 kids, with a dog, and a house who cares about things like dining room tables. Ugh. Do you remember that I almost hyperventilated when we bought it?
Yeah. It will be the same when we buy a minivan.
But I think what consistently surprises me in our household is how much effort it takes to do Q’s hair. Seriously. The whole weekly wash/condition/detangle/prep thing takes well over an hour. With a five year old. And then you still actually have to do it during the week. Those blonde curls are gorgeous, but they are time consuming, for sure.
(Note to all your non-Black readers: Black folks - even those who are blonde - don’t wash their hair as often as you do. I could say more, but suffice it to say, it’s not necessary).
Sometime she will actually be able to brush her own hair… That day will be great, and will possibly lead to her wanting to have significantly shorter and potentially purple hair.
Question 12.: You say you are a wife with “2.5 kids, with a dog, and a house…?” Who is this other .5 kid and dog owning person you say you are? Where are you keeping your other weirdly fractional family with a canine?
I should say, first, that I’m totally down with her having significantly shorter and/or purple hair. In fact, I’d pay her money - or Barbies - to do.it.now.
To answer your question: I am not that wife with “2.5 kids, etc” It’s just that the idea of that woman lives in my head, apparently. And I’m afraid of becoming her. I’m not sure why, exactly. But I do know your mom was shocked to hear from me recently that I never envisioned myself married or having more than one child. Or living in a house. Or doing things like eating at a dining room table with a leaf.
Her response was, “I see. You never imagined what that would be like. You didn’t have a picture in your mind. You just knew it would happen.”
My response to that, “Ha ha. Nope. I didn’t see it at all. I didn’t imagine it in my life. I knew I’d have a job that I loved and I would go to different places, but a husband and more than one kid were not something I ever envisioned having.”
All that being said, what did I know? I met you at 20, and we decided to get married. It’s not like I had a lot of time to formulate my life’s vision.
So just to clear up for all the folks viewing at home, my wife does not, in fact, have another marriage where she has .5 kids and a dog. So, gents, that might still be on the table, just make sure you make a good solid proposal (only serious inquiries). My mom has an issue of seeing everything through her multi-colored weird lenses, so she clearly thought you wanted exactly what she wanted. She is like that. Did I mention she thought/wanted me to be a Methodist minister? Yep, De.Lu.Sional.
So, you know the drill for Q13… When I was a young and sporty kid I had a very specific sequence of getting dressed for a soccer game. This ritual did not bring luck as much as it got me into a correct mental state to play the game (or sit on the bench my senior year, thanks Coach Jackass) Question 13: Do you have any superstitions or rituals?
I don’t think so. But maybe I have some you’ve noticed that I don’t realize. There’s that thing where I move everything in the grocery cart away from your stupid, contaminating graham cracker box, but I think of that more as a quirk than a superstition or ritual. A charming, endearing (and completely understandable) quirk.
When I was doing gymnastics, I had several superstitions and rituals. You’d think I might have some around running, but I don’t really. I think all the things I do with running are to keep me as comfortable as possible. They’re all practical and don’t have to happen in any particular order.
Wait! I sort consider it a ritual/good luck charm to see you at miles 9 and 21-ish of a marathon. Seems to have brought me luck so far…and I find that I do kind of superstitiously rely on that. Though we’re only talking about an N = 3 here, so I’m not sure it meets the superstition/ritual threshold. (Did you see that? I threw in a math reference. Because I am devoted to you.)
You are the best, baby! My love for you is n = n+1 (I up mathed you, baby). I honestly have been surprised at the lack of ritual associated with your running. I would have thought you would be more ritualistic to get yourself prepared for running long distances. Your biggest ritual associated with getting ready for running is just making sure you are fueled.
Question 14: What is it about running that draws you to it?
There are two clear draws to me about running: the certainty of it and the fact that I’m not very good at it.
First, the certainty. As you know, my work involves hosting groups of human beings working together on complex problems - hunger or homelessness or violence, for example. It might surprise you to realize that there isn’t a lot of certainty in that work, which is part of the reason I love it. I love that we have to find our way together each and every time and that there is no one model that works for every community. I absolutely enjoy the complexity of my work.
That being said, sometimes a girl just wants to know exactly what to do and how to do it. Running gives me that. I know that if I follow X Training Plan and complete the workouts, I’ll be able to run a marathon at the end. And while each run is different, I always know that I will find myself during a run. Or ground myself. Or run beyond my own thoughts. There is a certainty that comes from a regular running practice that I find quite appealing.
Second is the fact that I’m not very good at it. As mentioned above, I can be a bit intense and achievement oriented. I like to get stuff done. Generally, I’m not a competitive person with others but I want to do my best every.single.time. With running, I don’t seem to get into that same “do it well and do it better next time” mindset at all.
This is probably because I’m just not very good at it. I’m a solid, slow middle of the pack runner. The first time you saw me run, I think you described it as a “shuffle”, which is quite accurate. My practice is just to run. To feel it. To be in the present moment. I will never win a race, and I probably won’t even better my pace significantly. I just run - at a pace that works for my body as far as I can go. Does this make sense? I’m not good at it so the “achievement” piece of running is absent for me, so I can just enjoy it.
You may be slow, but the thing that is pretty amazing is that you are metronomic. That’s right I said you are metronomic. Your pace is solid. That was one of the fun things from watching your marathon in Austin, TX. You know your pace, yo!
Question 15: What goals do you have for your running right now?
None. I am goal-less. Without direction. :)
I’m currently “training” for a relay with a team of 11 other people. We’re going to run 12 consecutive legs for a total of 199 miles to raise money for homelessness. We’ll be running for about 30 hours straight from Cumberland, MD to DC. I’m excited to experience a relay, but my mileage isn’t especially high (14.2 miles total) so I’m winging the training by doing what I feel like doing in terms of mileage during the week with a long-ish run on Sundays. I’m also trying to stack my running or cross-training into 5 days in a row per week. That way I’m running on tired legs to get prepared to run 3 legs in 30 hours.
And I wouldn’t be a good team member if I didn’t say: If anyone wants to contribute to our run, please go here.
I also plan to do a big running trip to celebrate my 40th birthday next year, but I haven’t quite figured out where. I’d like it to be something along the lines of 4-7 days of running for 10-20 miles/day. I want a real physical challenge, something I’ll have to train for, in a beautiful place. I have to get on researching that one!
What? Cumberland, Maryland to the DC area is not scenic enough? How surprising.
Let’s go deep since we are nearing the end of these 20 Questions. Question 16: What is one highly specific individual thing you hope for each of the kids?
Wow. It’s amazing how my initial responses to this were so negative: I do not want this to happen. I don’t want this for them.
Surprisingly, I’m finding it a bit hard to say what I do hope for them. Maybe it’s the protective mama thing coming out a bit.
Little Man - what I sincerely and deeply hope for our son is that he creates a life where he is able to fully be his kind, sensitive, and sweet self. That he will have others around him that encourage this in him and protect that essence of him that is pure love. I want him to know that his nature is a beautiful gift and not something to hide or get over. I want him to be loved as much as he will love those with whom he shares his life. I want him to be unafraid and passionate and joyful and as true to himself as he can be.
Q - what I want for our dear girl is that she carries the fire that is her throughout her life. I want her to only grow in her fierceness and her joy and her creativity - and not be stopped by anyone. I want her to build a life where this great spirit she carries is seen and valued and loved and protected. I want her to keep company only with those folks who would nurture this, never seeking to dim her light. I want her to find love and work that makes her fire burn brighter. I want her to have a life that is defined by her.
Deep enough? I hope so. I cried the whole time I wrote it. What I want for our babies is that they are allowed to be fully who they are and experience that who they are is enough and wonderful and build a life based on that knowing of their goodness.
Not too much to ask for, I don’t think.
They said I couldn’t make it happen, but I did. They said your heart was made of stone and black as night (racist, the lot of them) but I brought you to tears with a question. I am more powerful than a god! I am like Barbara Walters on meth! I am the Uber-Interviewer, fear me and my questions!
Did I un-deepen this enough yet? That answer is beautifully wrought and I am fairly sure that my question asking self did not deserve to see that level of eloquence. Now the universe has heard your hopes for our kids, and intentionality is in many ways its own power.
Question 17: Is there something I did not ask you that you thought I would have asked or should have asked?
Ummm… Okaaay… well… I have to admit that I am a bit reluctant to ask you my typical Question 18, but here it goes… Question 18: Is there a question you would like to ask me?
What do you think my next wedding will be like?
I mean, we’ve had a good run, but the divorce rate is sky high in this country and interracial marriages fare even worse. We got married young, and you like graham crackers. Chances of us making it are not good. So, I’m just playing the averages here to say that there will most likely be another wedding (for each of us, not to each other) in our future, and while I still care about your opinion, I’d like your advice.
Also, do you think that marriage - as an institution - is really viable? It just seems like with over half of marriages ending in divorce, we should really begin to think about whether it’s people who are failing at it or an inherent flaw in the institution.
You don’t like people, how are you going to find a new partner? I have sewed this position up by really learning your foibles and nurturing your disdain for others. Remember this phrase in your dating profile “Must love kids.”
As to the second part… I do think that there needs to be some modification to the institution of marriage. It is not working as intended, where two people who don’t really know each other will get joined in marriage by edict from their respective head of families. This conjoining of families is used to ensure property rights transfer from generation to generation.
In the modern age, there will always be instances of marital strife where there are couples that either grow to hate each other or the relationship becomes abusive or something like that. Most people, in our modern society, understand the breaking asunder of marriages with that level of discomfort and anger. The issue with our understanding of marriage is that it does a piss poor job of handling when a couple naturally grows apart due to different trajectories. I am not sure exactly what that mechanism should be, but since marriage is essentially contract law concerned with joint property ownership, maybe the contract should be for a fixed amount of time, where the contract could be renegotiated as the terms and limits of the previous contract come to an end.
Editor’s Note: I would like to extend this to my readers… to my knowledge, that my lovely wife is goading me, and you are not watching the demise of our relationship via 20 questions. Right, honey?
Question 19: What are you taking away from this 20 Questions that you did not bring in with you?
You are right. They are not watching the demise of our marriage via this blog. Probably.
I’m mainly taking two things from this interview. The first is a reminder that you’re pretty cool to chat with, especially when it’s not about bills, to do’s, or menu planning. It’s been fun to have a Google doc to check in on and see if you’ve left me a question. I want to say something about how we should do this more often, but since it took me a good four months to complete this, I’d say that’s not a very realistic plan.
The second is the responses from my friends about what “I am mostly”…this was just an unexpected gift. I fired off a quick email to friends and just got back tons of love. It was sorta humbling how good my friends are to me, and I’ll definitely carry their feedback with me.
This was a ton of fun to do. It is not very often that I get to talk to you in a very structured manner. Like you said, it is usually about bills, travel schedules, menu planning and other non-interesting things. This really was an absolute delight.
Question 20: So what’s next? be as concrete or as vague as you want to be, be as short term or long term as you want to be.
Well, in direct contrast to my answer in question 18, I’m quite clear that what’s next for me is you. Continuing to build a life with you, raising kids with you, growing old with you, laughing with you for the rest of our days.
I am not, now, a person who craves a lot of certainty in my life. This is in stark contrast to when I was younger, and I know that the reason I can live with great amounts of uncertainty is because I am always certain of you. You and our relationship.
So I don’t know what’s next in terms of work or life specifics (except that I will probably throw up a little in my mouth when we buy that minivan), but that’s entirely okay. These days, these moments, with you and our wee babies are enough.
Life is good. We are happy. I have you.
Can’t wait to see what’s next, actually.
I cannot wait either. The future is happening now and we are a part of it… which is different than saying “and we are apart of it” which would mean we were left out of it.
I hope everyone enjoyed this, because I had a blast doing this. It really is not often that I get the opportunity to have this kind of interaction with someone I love. I have asked 20 Questions to comedians, comic book artists, and many other folk, but rarely do I get to spend this kind of time with my wife, even if it is over an Internet connection via a shared Google doc. Thank you technology. Now everyone give my wife a follow on the twitters with @TuesdayRH
She’s married fellas, keep your eyes and your hands to yourself
That being said, I think Question 18 tells me I have to do some damage control
Some sexytime damage control
Yeeeeah, that ain’t going to happen
“That’s so gonna happen… or maybe not.” —Tuesday
Remember waaaay back when I asked Greg Behrendt 20 questions?
Well, his band The Reigning Monarchs have their second album come out today
Listen to it
and Greg Behrendt fans will understand this review I gave it
"I was afraid that this was going to be 12 tracks of the Reigning Monarchs trying to sound like the Reigning Monarchs. I was thrilled to find that they’ve still got it. If anything they sound more like them than they did on the last album.
Suffice it to say the album is fucking awesome.”
Seriously, run, don’t walk to Bandcamp.com and buy the album
Instrumental surf punk…
I will be playing it for Q later today
The kids are on point and tight
This is a long recap
Have a great weekend