Friday, March 23, 2012

The Emotional Anatomy of Lucky Number 13

Gabriella Herkert

Catnapped and Doggone

This questionnaire from Proust is designed to be answered by a thirteen year old. I’ll admit, I’m long in the tooth and thirteen was a darn long time ago. There’s also that early-onset senility to deal with but I have to be honest here, I don’t know who I was at 13. I’d struggle to answer these questions using the same head I was using just five years ago. I suppose it’s part of the reason I don’t think I’m aging as fast as the Department of Motor Vehicles does. The girl I was is long gone. I’m not sure I would recognize her if, in some weird science fiction temporal disturbance moment, I were to run into her in a park or a store (obviously not a bar where she might be more likely to run into me). To once again bond with this stranger, if only to get through this week’s blog, I was forced to cheat. When H.G. Wells invented the time machine, or the Tardis if you’re a Dr. Who fan, what he was actually describing a much smaller square. To be thirteen again, I need only venture as far as my journals. Why I still have them is beyond me. Maybe I knew I’d need reference materials to recapture any vestige of myself from a bygone time. It wasn’t sentimentality, I know. The journals appear to be the only personal item I ever really save. Now, after having read some of the entries made around that fabulous, horrible, surreal graduate to teenager moment, I offer you the insights of the me that was.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Weekend trips to visit my father.

Where would you like to live?

Somewhere warm by myself.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Not having to share a bathroom.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?


Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?

Marco Polo (who it turns out is not fictional).

Who are your favorite characters in history?

Kublai Khan and Golda Meier (born in Wisconsin).

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?

Juliette Low (Founder of the Girl Scouts).

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?

Jo March (writer) and Dinny Gordon (archeologist).

Your favorite painter?

Claude Monet. (I couldn't have named a non-Impressionist at 13)

Your favorite musician?

No idea but I'm guessing they weren't so much a musician as really cute and appearing to sing. I would no doubt be embarrassed now. Okay, it was probably Shawn Cassidy. Ouch.

The quality you most admire in a man?

Looks. (Yes, I was a shallow youth).

The quality you most admire in a woman?


Your favorite virtue?

A commitment to learning.

Your favorite occupation?

I wanted to grow up to be a forest ranger. I had dreams of living in a watch tower in Oregon. This is the kind of job you can only get when someone dies leading me to later in life...

Who would you have liked to be?

Anyone but me. Wasn’t that age fun?

Having written this blog, I’m forced to look at the ways I’m different than I was then. I’ve reached the undeniable conclusion that I have been the subject of an alien abduction. Oh, the places we will go and the people we will leave behind…

Who were you at 13?

Thanks for reading. I was going to include a photo from this time of my life but Holy Hairstyle, Batman!



Michael Wiley said...

No question about it, thirteen is a challenging age. The Oregon watch tower seems a perfect metaphor as well as a real wish. Great post, Gabi.

Reece said...

Nice post, Gabi. I'm impressed that you kept those childhood journals!