1. I teach my students to approach essay writing as simply following a formula: your idea + primary textual evidence + MLA citation + your analysis + secondary textual evidence + MLA citation + your analysis (not all in one sentence, of course) but I cannot do basic math. Math traumatized me throughout school. Numbers freak me out; even looking at a calendar for too long gives me a headache.
2. I spent most of my first 18 years playing tennis. I’ve spent most of the last 18 years not playing tennis. I still love it, and I do miss it, I just don't go out of my way to play.
3. I haven’t eaten meat, fish or chicken in 24 years. I’m very particular about what food I consume; I don’t eat oily, fattening foods (except high quality French fries once in a while); I always order salad dressing on the side, and usually just use olive oil; I never use butter; I don’t drink soda and I only drink 100% juice. However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with drinking a glass of wine (or two) every night of every week of every year; I sometimes eat half a bag of Baked Ruffles by accident; if there were a gelato shop near my apartment, I would eat gelato every day; I really like (good) beer; I often eat 3 Peppermint Patties on my way to brush my teeth and go to bed.
4. I am fairly OCD about certain things—Purell-ing my hands if I have to touch a subway pole or heavily-trafficked doorknob; not leaving the house without lip stuff (or gum or tissues); keeping important documents in a fireproof safe; remembering friends’ birthdays—and kind of gross (for lack of a better term, though I am not frat-boy-gross) about other things—I wash jeans maybe once a month; I am six months beyond needing new bras and I can’t even admit how long it’s been since I mopped the floor in my apartment (I sweep every day, but I HATE mopping).
5. I have no problem speaking to a classroom full of students on the first day of school, and I love reading my work in front of an audience—I barely feel nervous—but the thought of attending a cocktail party alone—chatting, schmoozing—makes me nauseated.
6. I spent nine summers (the best summers of my life) at sleep away camp. Last summer, I was at a friend’s house in suburban New York, enjoying the starry evening, and a frog crossed my path. I almost pissed myself.
7. I like knowing exactly where I’m going yet I have a very poor sense of direction. The only place I can identify north or south is the Hamptons, because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
8. I went skydiving for a friend’s 30th birthday—I jumped out of a plane from 13 miles in the sky—but a hot, crowded subway car that stops in a dark tunnel gives me heart palpitations.
9. I like feeling in control but I have absolutely no self-control; if you put a bowl of M&Ms, a glass of wine or a (very light) cigarette in front of me, I will eat, drink and smoke them.
10. I cannot live without music. I love music. I need music. And I am totally tone deaf—I literally cannot sing.