It is almost impossible for me to call the parents of my friends by their first names. I only recently stopped referring to my own mother-in-law as "Mrs. P" although I've been married almost ten years and she had been asking me to stop doing this for longer than that.
I had to stop watching America's Funniest Videos in bed at night because I would laugh so hard I'd get a terrible headache almost every time, which would make me incredibly pissy, and thereby completely ruin all the positive effects to be gained from watching people fall off merry-go-rounds, lose their pants, or get spit on by llamas. But I totally love that show, as she does.
I had my handwriting analyzed in the local paper when I was 24. (This was a regular column in the Forest Leaves.) I told Dr. Murray, the handwriting analyst, that I wasn't sure what I should do with my life; I was thinking of either moving to a farm, or going to grad school. (I was, at that time, a waitress in Oak Park.). He told me that, based on my handwriting, I should become a computer programmer, a watch repairer, or a tool-and-die maker. That night I went to my waitressing job and two older, well-dressed gentlemen came in and ordered a stuffed pizza. We chatted and they said, "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" I said that, strangely enough, my handwriting had just been analyzed and I was told I should be a tool-and-die maker, but I thought I wanted to work in publishing. The two guys looked at each other and their eyes practically popped out of their heads. The one guy pointed to the other guy and said, "Do you know who he is?" I said, "No." He said, "He's the president of the American Tool-and-Die Corporation!" or something like that. I said, "No!" And then the other guy pulled out his business card (which indeed did say President, American Tool-and-Die Corp.), handed it it to me and said, "I need an editor for my tool-and-die trade magazine. Call me first thing tomorrow morning and you've got the job." When I got home that night, I told my parents what had happened and they were like, "You are calling him first thing, missy!" (They were not too happy that I was a waitress.) I never called him and immediately started making plans to move to Montana. Close one!
(I have, however, always wanted to learn how to build rock walls, and think I could've been pretty happy sitting in a field with a few cows and sheep, figuring out which rock to put where, over and over again, for mile upon mile.)
I am afraid to go into banks and do all of my banking through ATMs. I like banks that feel like fortresses. I don't like banks that look like they were IHOPs four weeks ago, as my bank branches always seem to. Also, every time I turn on the news, one has just been held up, so I just avoid them whenever I can. I was also afraid of escalators for a year and couldn't go down one unless someone was standing immediately in front of me.
I went to Italy in college and cried almost the whole time I was there because it was so emotional for me and everyone thought I was completely insane and wouldn't have anything to do with me. Someone spit on my shoes when I was there, too, but I couldn't tell if it was because they thought I was American or German (I was wearing Birks). I decided it was because I was American, even though the world didn't hate us quite so much back in 1990. Anyway, that was weird, and I always wore socks after that. Anyway, I had an almost supernatural sense of being "home" when I was in Italy which caught me totally off-guard and left me pretty shaky and I hope someday I can go back, possibly without all the blubbering, which makes it hard to see the sights.