I’m very lazy. And so faced with the choice of writing about refried beans or writing about myself, (but wait, you may be saying, isn’t every one of your posts about yourself?) I’ve decided to tell you five things you may not know about me. When I was tagged by the sassy and smart Vanessa over at What Geeks Eat, at first I balked. I hate being told what to do and being tagged for a meme certainly falls in that category. But in the spirit of community and keeping the peace, I’ve decided to play along. And hey, how often do I get the chance to write about stuff that has little to nothing to do with food?
I admit, coming up with five things has been a challenge. There are countless things you don’t know about me, everything from I didn’t own a TV for 12 years to I listen to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos every single morning (it’s the only way I can wake up completely). But that’s silly stuff—I’m sure you want dirt, real gossip not found anywhere else. So if you’re still reading, (drum roll please!) here are five things you don’t know about me, the Homesick Texan.
1. I can drive a tractor. Before I turned 16 (the legal age for driving in Texas), all I wanted to do was move. I’d ride my bike very long distances all over my part of Houston, and while good fun and good exercise, I yearned for the power of an auto. Visiting my grandparents’ farm one summer when I was in my early teens, I asked my grandpa if I could drive his car. He declined, but offered to teach me how to drive his tractor instead. And even though it only moved along at about 20 miles an hour (if that much), I was in heaven. Looking back, I think my tractor-driving lesson was probably just a ploy to get me to mow the vast pasture. But I had a blast and when I took it out by myself on those gravel-coated country roads, I had my first taste of freedom.
2. I love garlic. It’s glorious! Not only do I think it’s one of the most beautiful and photogenic foods, but I cook with it constantly. I probably go through at least three heads a week. It is the one ingredient I am never without and if I am, then a trip to the market is mandatory.
3. When I was in high school, on a field trip to Austin I confronted Ross Perot in the state capitol. He’d lobbied heavily for all these public-school reforms, which in hindsight were sound policies, but as an unruly teenager, I balked. The discussion between him and my classmates made all the major Texas papers. There were some colorful stories, but my favorite one appeared in the Austin American-Statesman. Here’s the lead paragraph: “High school student Lisa Fain looked the short man right in the eye and began to vent her anger. Never mind that she was picking a fight with a world celebrity—H. Ross Perot—in the halls of the Texas Capitol.” After our confrontation, the short man decided to run for president. Coincidence? I think not!
4. I share a birthday with Larry McMurtry. I know it may sound silly, but I find this very, very cool. He’s one of my favorite authors (and his being a fellow Texan probably doesn’t hurt) but beyond his beautiful novels, he’s also a real down-to-earth guy. I met him a few years ago when a reporter and I were sent to do a story on Wichita Falls, TX. Right outside of Wichita Falls is Archer City, a small town that McMurtry has single-handedly revived by opening a used bookstore called Booked Up, which is housed throughout the town in several storefronts. It’s a breathtaking experience, wandering the main street going from shop to shop and having all of them be a used bookstore (save for an excellent cafe serving some top-rate chicken fried steak). And he works the store just like any other employee. When we arrived for the interview, we found him buried in the stacks, shelving titles on Texana. (How appropriate!) Not to mention, he wore jeans and cowboy boots to the Oscars last year. You’ve gotta love that!
5. I am a complete and total klutz. I’m constantly bumping into buildings, walls and people. I also trip on my own feet and stumble going up the stairs. And don’t get me started about icy sidewalks and slick, snowy streets. But despite my utter lack of spatial balance, I can juggle three balls (or round fruits) with a modicum of grace. I think it’s best, however, considering my clumsiness, if I don’t advance to juggling knives or batons of fire.