Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones
cleolinda

Just to do something different

Meme I saw a few people doing today: 10 Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't.

Of course, with this many of y'all around, someone here probably has.

(The key to filling out this meme: be really, really specific.)


1. Ridden through the streets of Havana in a coco taxi.

I went to Cuba for a week when I was a senior in college--this was January 2001--with like fifteen other people, and the girl I was rooming with (also named Lauren) and I went out on our own one day near the end of the trip. We wandered around the open-air market, got her hair braided (and she had hair down past her waist), had lunch at a tiny little restaurant where the other four customers stared at the random gringas eating fries and ice cream, and rode back to the hotel in a yellow coco taxi, named for the shape of the vehicle. Because it looks like a coconut. A yellow one. Because nature makes those. They might also call it a screamer taxi, because that's what we did most of the time riding back--there's not a lot of side to those things, and it feels like you're hurtling down the street at a million miles an hour with nothing to hold you in. It was so much fun, though--we wanted to practice our Spanish, and our driver wanted to practice his English, so we had a pretty good conversation between screams.


2. Been on the cover of a magazine.

Back in the early '80s, my mother worked at Women's Missionary Union, and they had a little magazine they published and they needed a kid for the cover. So they took a picture of me just standing there--I was three or four years old--and then they... did... art... on it, or something, so that a giant artistically rendered Raggedy Ann doll was holding me. I'll have to find it and scan it in if I can, because it was triptastic.

(There was another cover--a different little magazine--where they needed a smiling kid to stand in the fork of a tree trunk. "Hey, don't you have a kid?" "And how! And she's got the cutest haircut, she looks like a muffin!" Man, I hated that haircut.)


3. Written term papers in three languages.

Okay, they were three separate papers each in one language. And I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to do it--I was a French-Spanish double major (I had taken Spanish for ten years over the course of my life by that time, and French for six) and it was a bad idea.


4. Organized and hosted a poetry reading.

Yes, you've been to one, and you might even have read at one, but have you actually set up one? Actually, there's a good chance you have. Work with me here. When I was the editor of the college literary magazine, my idea for getting people more involved in the non-existent literary scene (I mean, there were a lot of literary/writer types. They just weren't very organized) was to hold a series of prose and poetry readings (yours or someone famous's). For a tiny college, they were reasonably successful now and then; it was hard to get people all on the same night, though, as everyone had crazy schedules. The thing I learned from doing this, though, was that I was the least nervous person in the room. I didn't read my own work the first night because I didn't want it to look like I'd set the reading up for the sole purpose of inflicting my own poetry on people, but I read a couple of pieces--I seem to recall it being around Halloween and me reading "Annabel Lee" at the end. (There are increasingly good odds at this point in my blogging career that someone right now is reading this and going, "Wait... was that... are you...?") So basically, there are a dozen people there nervous about reading their own work, or even nervous about reading anyone's work in public, and I suddenly had this Moment of Clarity that I was the calmest person in the room. Later I did read some of my own work at a different reading on an academic exhibition day, and I was vastly more comfortable speaking because of that poetry reading, because it made me start looking at what everyone else in the room was feeling. There's usually not a lot of people at these things, so it's like, either it's your friends and family (who think you're great no matter what you do), it's other people's friends and family (who are bored stiff waiting for their person and not really paying attention to you), or it's the other people who are supposed to read (who are way too busy being nervous to notice whether you stammer or not). I still get a little nervous about public speaking--just the moment when you first step out, if nothing else--but there was just something about those two readings that changed my perspective on the whole thing.


5. Been told I had "the brow of Ingrid Bergman."

Look, I don't know. She was a very nice lady that my mother worked with and I think she might have been a little crazy.


6. Seen Titanic forty-two times.

I HAVE SEEN TITANIC MORE THAN YOU HAVE. YES, I HAVE. I DON'T CARE HOW MANY TIMES YOU SAW IT, I SAW IT MORE. I SAW IT ALL FORTY-TWO TIMES ON A THREE-DAY LOOP. YES, I KNOW THAT ISN'T EVEN PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE WITHIN THE CURRENT LIMITS OF THE UNIVERSE. I SAW TITANIC SO MANY TIMES THAT THE FABRIC OF SPACE AND TIME RUPTURED. SOMEDAY I MAY RECOVER FROM IT. WHEN YOU STARE INTO TITANIC, SOMETIMES TITANIC STARES INTO YOU.


7. Been driven home by a bartender on New Year's Eve.

Well, technically it was New Year's Day by that point. It was five in the morning, we were the last people to leave (the now-defunct bar) Mind Games (which was really cool. They had little alcoves with board games set out for people to play). It was snowing (which is really unusual for Alabama), and the taxi we had called never showed up. So one of the bartenders, who was really into the Lovely Emily at that point, drove us all home. I think there may have been six of us at that point, so it was a little like a clown car. And then we sneaked back into the dorms, which were actually closed for Christmas vacation and not supposed to be in use unless you had permission.

Man, my life was so much more interesting in college.


8. Smoked on a mossy fallen log in Chewbacca Chewacla State Park.

I would just like to note here that I hate the smell of cigarettes and have never smoked one in my life.


9. Eaten a beergnet.

Look, I am working really hard here to think of anything I could have done that you haven't. And I am pretty sure you haven't done this. Because you, I am sure, are smarter than I am.


10. Sneaked rum into Pirates of the Caribbean.

The movie, not the ride. Opening night. For both of the sequels. Beat that.

("I sneaked absinthe into Moulin Rouge!" Hey, you know what? Fuck you.)


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Tags: alcohol is in it, cuba, memes, new year's, om nom nom, pirates of the caribbean, poe, poetry, school, shenanigans, titanic
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