My regard for this remarkable filipina compels me, against every other inward inclination, to offer here for general audience ten more or less disconnected facts about myself. If I weren’t a number of times lately the beneficiary of her excellent conversation, if I didn’t take such pure pleasure in her wit, if I hadn’t learned a great deal from her in the time I’ve known her or didn’t expect to learn still a lot more (about … well, try a topic, she’s encyclopedic … indeed, one might almost say, she’s all over the map … which after all is a very Catholic way of being), this post certainly wouldn’t appear. But that a woman’s friendship, allowed a very little time, can lead a man to do things contrary to his own judgment is hardly news.
Alright then, ten facts, each one excruciatingly honest down to the smallest detail:
1. My middle name, Darron, is the name I’m called by among family and among friends who’ve known me since I was young. As I was her first, the weight of this idea of an unformed identity held in her hands perhaps not yet fully felt by her, it seemed to my mother good to choose a spelling for my name precisely for its virtue of distinctiveness. That’s to say that although the name would generally sound familiar to people who might meet me, ever after that day, their assumptions about how it should be spelled, if they needed to spell it, would always require correction.
2. I am a Virginian by birth.
3. My father’s family were rural and small-town, from mountainous southwestern Virginia — not Scotch-Irish but quiet, businesslike Germans. They leaned New-Deal-Democrat and were quietly sympathetic to Civil Rights and racial integration. My mother’s family were urban, from Richmond, and politely, not vocally, Segregationist.
4. My mother’s polite Segregationist upbringing and sympathies (when I was a child) notwithstanding, the name she gave me for its ‘different’ quality appears, from what I gather, to have put me in a select group disproportionately made up, at least in the U.S., of black men. (I can’t verify this in any strict way — it’s partly anecdotal — but I am being honest.)
5. I started introducing myself by my first name gradually, for reasons of convenience, in college classrooms. When college took me to the D.C. area, away from where my family and friends lived, I went to first-name use entirely. Because of circumstances I won’t go into here, this choice ultimately made my life a bit more, not less, complicated and interesting. That’s purely my own fault.
6. My experience kissing a woman is limited and, many years afterward, very memorable.
7. Fact number six notwithstanding, one of my favorite things to sing in the shower (though I don’t sing in the shower all that often anymore) is Besame Mucho. Yes, in Spanish!
8. There’s nothing under my bed, because at present I sleep on a mattress that lies right on the floor.
9. I will not necessarily participate in your meme if you tag me. And if I do participate, I won’t necessarily follow the rules.
10. My favorite drink in the world is coffee, black.
One rule, anyhow, I’ll follow: Thank you, Cristina. Your friendship is very good for me, on the whole.