Sunday, April 27, 2008

I love questions, and katie asked an especially tantalising one the other day: what hats to you wear?

my first thought was that I hate hats. they are itchy, cumbersome and create epic knots in long hair, and I wear them only under the most extreme circumstances. but this, of course, was not the sort of answer katie was looking for, so I decided to give the question some thought. I pondered for a couple days, and this was my conclusion: I hate hats. they are itchy, cumbersome and create epic knots in long hair, and I wear them only under the most extreme circumstances.

personalities, like hats, are itchy. they irritate the flesh; most especially that of the head and gut, causing prolongued headaches and stomachaches. they are cumbersome. they force you to say or not say certain things and behave or not behave in certain ways. and they create epic knots in long hair. as people see bits of your personality, they piece them together to create a mental image of you. it takes an enormous amount of effort to shape and maintain this image and, to be honest, I would rather pull epic knots out of my hair. so, often, I find it easier to have no personality. it does wonders for the stomachaches.

however, there are extreme circumstances under which some personality leaks out, or, more often, is sucked out kicking and screaming. the result is a bit different every time, judging by the comments people in different contexts make.

there's the version known to you toronto lot. this one goes by the name bish. it seems bish is known for her unhealthy attachments to pianos, camera equipment, sports, cheez-its and sugar. she is capable of forming coherent sentences and uses her linguistic competency to joke about eating babies and dissecting live human subjects. she is willing to engage in such inane activities as 2am ice skating and alpine tobogganing and will not wear anything more dressed up than jeans and flip-flops unless there is no way around it.

there's the version known to my buffalo friends. this one is called fe, a nickname dating back to 6th grade homeroom. fe, like bish, subsists almost entirely on cheez-its and sugar, forms coherent sentences, and spends much of her spare time at the piano. fe is known for her recklessness and utter lack of common sense and, as a result, has found herself competing in skiing backwards races, jumping barefoot out of a tree into a pile of broken glass, and swimming in a pond in january that turned out to be not quite as frozen over as anticipated.

to the neuchatel crowd, there's laura, the american who eats like a man, can spend half the night debating the philosophy of human nature, and was nominated for the school's 'most optimistic'. at camp, there's sunshine, the quiet, sarcastic canadian who doubles as a reference book for all things camping, canoeing, nature and europe.

here in england, I am laura. canadian-american-[insert confused look], despiser of fruit and veg, player of the piano, taker of photos and surprise climber, despite apparent lack of muscles. occassionally capable of (sarcastic) speech, but usually an observer, rather than a participant in social activites. known for a certain lack of girliness and my yankee style of dress. (what's wrong with trainers and ripped jeans?) my coursemates seem surprised to hear about the number of extra activities I do.

to my family I've been, among other things, laura little mouse, runt and twinkletoes. I have a tendency towards absentmindedness and am often reminded that household clutter increases exponentially from the moment I walk in the door. I put the empty milk carton back in the fridge and leave my shoes in the middle of the hall. of the three bishop kids, I am the nerdy one, the socially awkward one and the packrat. it's me who insists that all of the christmas lights be put up every year and that we drive out to the country for apples and pumpkins every fall. my parental units know me better than anyone, of course, but there are some things I wouldn't talk about at home. the theory behind baby cheesecake, for instance, or how much of the abandoned sector of buffalo I've really seen (though now I'll probably have to, since they read this sometimes).

the g-blob and I have discussions we wouldn't have with the rest of the family, and perhaps I am most relaxed with him. quality laura-geoff time may be spent driving around the neighbourhood blasting ridiculous music, watching ridiculous movies a dozen times in a row or making ridiculous video clips. I honestly don't care what he thinks of me, and I can't say that about anyone else. after all, he's stuck being my little bother for all eternity, whether he likes it or not.

most others get the invisible personality treatment. it's not worth the trauma, I say, and if you screw up and make a fool of yourself? well, then you're easy to forget. there are lots of blondes. people remember hats.

1 comment:

kt said...

fascinating post, bish! i commend you for running with my only half-serious request for feedback. and for inspiring mer to do it too! *tips her hat to you*

that would be my actual hat, not my metaphorical hat.

and i think many of your different personalities have a lot in common, bishop. they should all hang out one day. i'll bring mine. it will be a multiple-personality disorder party.