Lists as monuments of me

by tracymaetaylor


We make different sorts of lists depending on what stage we are on in our lives. In fact, if you were to never meet someone in person, but you read their lists you’d probably still have ample information to understand what makes them tick. To-do lists, bucket lists, what we want from Santa Claus lists, who we have the ‘hots’ for lists (come on, you know you have had one at some point), and stuff we in general just like lists are all excellent examples of us making a very organized statement about who we are as people in our day-to-day lives.

So, this blog I like called American Vagabond had a post entitled “Girl of 100 Lists.” This blogger is popular for her lists of stuff. In this particular post she discusses writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag’s idea that by putting things into lists we are “acknowledging their importance or even their mere existence in the world.”

She went on to provide a list of likes and dislikes of her own in honor of Sontag and the philosopher Roland Barthes. What I found most interesting about the list was how a lot of times her likes would cancel out her dislikes. For example, if I were to say, “I like seafood,” a dislike would be “I dislike eating seafood far away from the sea,” or something to that effect. This leads me to believe that we categorize a lot of our experiences in the world. I mean, obviously we do, but it’s eerie when you see it written down. I categorize my world a lot lately based on what I have completed or what I haven’t completed. Lists give so much of what we care about an appearance of actual power. These items on our list become either like roadblocks in our path or monuments that define who we are and where we’ve been on the highway of our existence.

As I mentioned in the previous post when I can’t sleep I think up all these lists of things I need to accomplish in the era of dealing with dead parents’ stuff. I think of these lists of stuff like it’s a one-eyed monster that won’t let me get off the grief island. These lists of things not yet accomplished are being granted way too much power. It is like Anakin and the dark side…sort of…(hey no judging, maybe I’ve always dreamed of making a Star Wars reference about myself).

I need to turn these apparent roadblocks into monuments of my life that I see through the rear-view mirror on the highway of my existence. (I’m trying not hard enough to not be overly sentimental/metaphorical here.) It’s time that I head to new towns, meet new people, and find out more about what I like and what I dislike and one of them being that I dislike the grief island. It feels deceivingly lonely here.

In honor of this post by American Vagabond and my foremost adventures in the realm of blogging I have created my own list of likes and dislikes. I tried to challenge myself by not putting things that are universally liked and disliked. Such as cancer (because obviously no one can seriously say they like cancer) and love (because if you say you dislike love you are a wanker and you are lying for attention).

Anyways, this list is an exercise in our new bloggie/blogger relationship where we can get to know each other – mostly because I am completely inept at writing my ‘About Me’ page. Read my list. Feel free to comment. Make your own like/dislike list.

Things I like: Shadows, pepper jack cheese, purple, beards (the hair not the women), giant mugs, old houses, old people, cookbooks, rain, dark chocolate, Doctor Zhivago, Pittsburgh, the North Side, the Mexican War Streets, spinach, and Jeep Wranglers.

Things I dislike: Hot cars, rhubarb, skorts, fake tans, fake eggs, yellow cars, moths, the suburbs, tramp stamps, most dog movies, limos that look like SUVs, Greyhound busses, rats, geometry, humidity, baby pink, the sound of knuckles cracking, and this weird freckle on my chest.

Things I like: Black and white photos/movies, ice cubes, posters, art museums, tubs with feet, brick/stone roads, black coffee, Barbra Streisand, area rugs, street lights, farmers markets, people-watching, my 91-year-old grandfather’s homemade wine, and photos of my parents when they were young.

Things I dislike: Swimming, going to the dentist, housing plans, mugs without handles, Flintstone vitamins, plastic bags, Tom Cruise, pierced lips, doing laundry, Wal-Mart, promise rings, braking my car on a hill, waking up in the middle of a dream, and pictures of myself.

Things I like: Getting lost – especially in the country, grocery shopping, watering plants, beer, bluegrass music, the smell of fresh cut grass, leaving foot prints in the snow, the sound of wiping glass with Windex, plucking my eyebrows, coffee shops, Mac computers, the Strip District, getting rid of stuff, falling back asleep and continuing a dream I woke up in the middle of, writing, having discussions about the stupidity of your generation, watching movie trailers, live music, and making up recipes and cooking them (the food not the recipes).