Siblinghood Challenge! (Kinda)
I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I simply cannot complete the Siblinghood Challenge that E.H. gave me. I’m not really a part of the blogging community these days, rarely writing or reading blog posts. And there’s no way I can scrape up the brainpower to think of ten good questions, or even five bad ones.
But I ought to at least attempt to answer them. Maybe it’ll be the first step in writing frequently again. Maybe even thinking frequently, though we really shouldn’t get our hopes up. So let’s examine these questions.
- What character quality in yourself do you regard most highly?
- What is your relationship with words and language?
- The time is ‘now’ – if there were no future to come, but you have ‘now’ without end, how would you prefer to spend this moment?
- You approach a crying woman as you walk – what do you do (or not do) about a stranger crying?
- Does your answer change if the crying stranger is a man?
- Does your answer change if the crying stranger is a child?
- Does your answer change if the crying stranger is a whimpering animal?
- If your answers change – what is different about the scene that changes the answer?
- When you answer an ‘either/or’ question, do you visualize the question as extremes on a spectrum, or two firm choices with no gray area?
- If you could choose a single character quality to provide to all of humankind with the hope of changing the world – what would that character quality be?
This… is not going to be an easy assignment for me. At least, not if I’m working in good faith. Let’s take them one at a time.
1. What character quality in yourself do you regard most highly?
My incredible humility. I’m a million times more humble than you.
This is a more difficult question than it first seems, because not only does it take a level of self-awareness that’s usually beyond me, but it can also be interpreted in multiple ways. For instance, while my dedication to getting up and going to work frighteningly early every single day might be the thing I’m most consciously proud of, failing that might not bother me as much as making a social faux pas.
Actually, reading that paragraph makes it clear that my tendency to examine a question thoroughly from every angle I can think of is probably the answer. Despite all the grief it gives me.
2. What is your relationship with words and language?
If I were updating my relationship status on a social media site, I would definitely pick “It’s complicated.”
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have a learning disability called dysgraphia. There’s actually quite a bit of discussion and even controversy about the details of dysgraphia, the most striking to me being the suggestion that the only physical aspect of it is poor hand-eye coordination, and every other part of it is caused purely by stress. But regardless, at some level at least this is a physical issue, there is something physically abnormal in my brain which makes writing more difficult for me.
You might think that this wouldn’t have much of an effect on words and language in general, and yet it does. Any written language is itself a language, while it is related to the spoken form it is a separate entity and can exist completely independently. This means that my relationship with written language affects my relationship with all language, although the degree is certainly arguable.
Easily the most outright frustrating part of my relationship to words is the part-time nature of my vocabulary. There have been so many times when I’ve had to struggle awkwardly with complex phrases because I couldn’t think of the single word that perfectly encapsulated the concept I was trying to communicate. Usually I’ll remember it later, after it’s become completely irrelevant. Drives me crazy.
I don’t feel like I’ve properly answered this question, but since I could probably write an actual (and very boring) book on the subject I’m just going to move on.
3. The time is ‘now’ – if there were no future to come, but you have ‘now’ without end, how would you prefer to spend this moment?
I don’t think I understand this question at all; at first glance it seems to suggest a frozen moment of time, because the future has inconsiderately failed to appear.
Abstracting it a bit I can come up with an interpretation that is no longer hypothetical, because we DO have “now”, and only now. If it is perhaps not literally endless, it does go on until the concept of time becomes irrelevant to us. While we might reminisce or predict, we are really imagining things, right now, that may have some relation to the past or future. But the past and future are abstract concepts only, right now is the only time that exists.
4. You approach a crying woman as you walk – what do you do (or not do) about a stranger crying?
Depends on the circumstances.
5. Does your answer change if the crying stranger is a man?
6. Does your answer change if the crying stranger is a child?
7. Does your answer change if the crying stranger is a whimpering animal?
8. If your answers change – what is different about the scene that changes the answer?
Obviously, whether the subject is a woman, man, child, or animal!
Okay, I’ll discuss these a bit more. Though it is tempting to just say “N/A” for this last and leave a wonderfully brief section.
It’s literally true, too. The specific circumstances matter far too much for me to give a blanket answer to this scenario. But in general I would probably look at any crying adult’s face and then decide whether to walk on without further interaction. Which is what I did the last time this actually happened to me, she clearly wanted to be left alone.
A child I am a little more likely to intervene, on the theory that they’re less likely to be able to take care of themselves and might be lost or need assistance.
An animal is probably best avoided. Unless it’s a lost dog, (and even then that’s only a possible exception, not a likely one) a whimpering animal is almost certainly sick or injured, and likely to lash out at anyone approaching. Seriously kids, don’t mess with injured animals!
9. When you answer an ‘either/or’ question, do you visualize the question as extremes on a spectrum, or two firm choices with no gray area?
It really depends on the question asked.
For example, if an event announcement said it was happening Saturday at “9” and somebody asked me to speculate whether it was AM or PM, there’s only two possibilities. If you asked me whether I wanted to do something during the day or at night, there’s clearly a lot of gray area.
Of course, the truth is that usually when someone asks me an either/or question, I don’t visualize it at all. I just resent the questioner for limiting my answers like that.
10. If you could choose a single character quality to provide to all of humankind with the hope of changing the world – what would that character quality be?