10 July, 2009

100 personalities

I have this theory about people. I feel justified in calling it a theory, because Proust thinks it, too. I don't have the passage in front of me, but when Marcel goes off on a brief stint with his grandmother in "Within a Budding Grove," he remarks how he "met" Madame Swann in a diving instructor; his dearest love at the time, Gilberte, in a Spanish gentleman; and Monsieur Bergotte in the fat lady in a deck chair. It sounds a little crazy, but I've thought this for such a long time now that I was positively delighted to have found external confirmation.

Where J.Hecht has his "100 persons" theory (the idea that there are only 100 people who exist to him in the world), I have my "100 personalities" theory. Wherever you go, the people you meet will only be slight variations of other people. Most seem to be carbon replicas of others. Social assessments come rather swiftly under this schema, and I find myself grouping people into these pre-arranged categories: Oh, that boy acts like X and Y, and this girl is a clouded mirror of Z, and so forth. This was even the case in Japan. It got to the point where I started to think I was seeing old neighbors on the train.

The same has been more or less true for me in Denver. While I still recognize that everyone I meet possesses his or her own unique qualities, I can't help but identify them with previous personality patterns I've met. Everybody follows a personality design that is repeated in a million others. It sounds very Darwinian and cold, but I don't think of it that way. Rather, I find myself thinking of people I meet as just distant copies of other relatives, friends and acquaintances.

One can never have too much cheese. This might be my new life motto.

Despite this, I've been going vegetarian for the past week and a half. It's all Angela's fault, like usual. I find it easier to accomplish when I have entire control over what I'm eating (par ex., not eating at Lenoir, my house, someone else's house). And, so far, so good. I don't really miss meat all that much, although it does take an ounce more planning and preparation.

This just in: Malia and Sasha grill Pope Benedict XVI on stem-cell research and abortion. Not really. But the headline passed through my mind...

Last year, I was a better blogger and writer. I wonder if journalism is to blame? But then I read such brilliant journalists with such skill with language and think, No, journalists can be, and very often are, excellent writers. So what's wrong with me? I think I've fallen out of the habit of writing for pleasure, even though I've faithfully kept my year-long project of writing a (manual) journal entry a day. It has not been a very rewarding venture, but I am trying to make it more fruitful. Somehow.

Today I am reminded of this quote by Walter Brueggeman: "You are not the God we would have chosen."

I can't wait to see my totally cool and world-traveling sisters! And Guion! Laughing with this collection of people is among my chiefest joys in life.

I am really excited about a week from today. Christa and I have set a pancakes-and-movie breakfast date at her mountain lodge in Morrison! It's going to be the best.

Today I decided what I am going to name my three future dogs: Soren, the German shepherd (thereby beating Grace to naming her son that. It's on, G. Either I get a dog or you have a baby. Whoever does it first gets the name); Kuma, the Great Pyrenees (Japanese for "bear"); and Zooey or Piper, the Australian shepherd. I had a dream about a whole fleet of Aussies last night, with their precious little faces pressed up against the backdoor window, and I had to take them all in and protect them from the dark night and the wolves.


sayacate said...

Hey. HEY NOW Abby, back off all of my future kids names (Zooey & Piper). I'm pretty sure Grace will murder you, too, if you use the name Soren.

Brittany said...

i have a dog named piper.

lauren nicole said...

oh i love and miss you.

Anonymous said...

hooray for generalizing and creating thematic personalities.

Ming said...

My grandparents named their Chinese crested/pekingese dog Kuma. =) Because my aunt and uncle had a girl from Japan live with them for a year and said he looked like a little bear.