This is the first in a series of reader requests! This one is from sillywrongbutvividright, who asks, “Sarah … why don’t you keep a personal blog anymore? Go on, give us something of you “
Well OK then. How about more than you ever wanted to know?
1. I sign the alphabet along with dialogue in movies. It helps when watching very tedious films, like, say, Gone in 60 Seconds, to see whether or not I can keep up with the dialogue when spelling out each word letter-by-letter with my hands instead of speaking. I usually can, unless it’s something really talky like a Whit Stillman flick. Sometimes I catch myself doing this in public, like in long meetings or while talking to boring people.
2. When going up or down stairs, especially new sets of stairs I’ve not been up or down before, I count them. If I’m going to be going up or down them often, I feel like it’s important to know exactly how many there are. In the house I grew up in, for example, there were 14 stairs to get to the front door, and another 16 to get to my room. My old office was 65 steps from the ground floor. It takes three steps to get to my front door now.
3. I am terrified of escalators. Especially getting on them when going down. What seems to go totally unnoticed in the general population is that these things are death machines. Who’s to say my pant cuff won’t get caught in those evil-looking teeth? And what happens if I stand between a step instead of on one? Surely I should plummet to my untimely demise. I have a similar dislike of treadmills for this reason, much to the amusement of my physical therapist.
4. Shopping malls give me panic attacks. I can tolerate being inside one for maybe a half an hour before I start to feel an overwhelming sense of doom, freak out, and have to make a beeline for the exit – escalators be damned. It matters not whether I’ve purchased or even located whatever it was I came to buy – I have to leave right then and there – no time for Orange Julius, it’s out, out, OUT I SAY!
6. I smell books. All books. Library books. New books from the bookstore. Books you lend me. Books that come in the mail. I do this in public, in front of people. I can’t help myself. Something about growing up being the nerdliest of all the nerdly readers has given me a peculiar affection for books – their weight, their smell, their binding, their textured pages and covers. You can’t get that from a Nook or a Kindle or even packages of books on tape. I will always be a book sniffer.