The Proust Questionnaire (an exercise in oversharing) 2017

I did this exactly three years ago; thought it might be time for an update. I have copied the original post; my updated answers appear in square brackets ( [ ] ) below the original answers.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A quiet evening spent in the arms of the woman I love. With lots of smooching.

[Same]

What is your most marked characteristic?
My avoidance of any kind of personal rejection.

[Same]

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Living in Tokyo for five years. Although I had help along the way (and plenty of problems), it was the most self-sufficient I have ever felt. I even had a Japanese credit card. (Not to mention that Shibuya was record-store heaven for me.)

[Same]

What is your greatest fear?
Ending up alone and homeless.

[Same]

What historical figure do you most identify with?
I really don’t identify with any historical figures. The closest I could get would be Abraham Lincoln; I’ve read that he probably suffered from anxiety and depression for much of his adult life.

[Same]

Which living person do you most admire?
I admire those people who are very good at being themselves and/or expressing themselves freely. I tend to be very reserved, keeping a lot of things in, so I’m almost always impressed by those who don’t impose those restrictions upon themselves.

[Same]

Who are your heroes in real life?
I don’t have any heroes.

[Well, I have no permanent heroes. I am sometimes inclined to see folks as heroes in the moment.]

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My uncanny ability to hesitate to do things that most other people seem to do without much trouble.

[Same]

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
If I had to narrow it down to one, it would be lack of empathy. Hypocrisy is a close second.

[Same. It is that very thing that is damaging our society these days.]

What is your favorite journey?
The early part of a romantic relationship, where everything is new and exciting.

[Same]

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being right. I love being right, but anymore it takes too much energy.

[Same]

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Apparently…
Actually…
Meanwhile…/In the meantime…
Although…
I guess…
I decided…
In my experience…

[Same, plus all/everything]

What is your greatest regret?
In late 1989, when I was living in Tokyo, my then-girlfriend and I got into an argument. Partly because I was thinking in English while trying to talk in Japanese (meaning the words that were coming out of my mouth were not completely what I meant to say), the argument ended with us breaking up. Even though she stayed in touch, and we both still had feelings for each other, I never mustered up the courage to tell her how I felt and ask her to come back. The regret is somewhat tempered by the fact that she is the only ex I am still on good terms with.

[Same]

What is your current state of mind?
Confused/unsure—i.e., I’m still trying to figure things out.

[Same, plus depressed and frustrated. Too many things in life seem more difficult than they ought to be.]

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
We would have been closer when I was a kid.

[We would have been more direct and expressive. Too many repressed feelings and subtext.]

What is your most treasured possession?
Although there are certain things I would be loathe to get rid of, I can’t think of anything that the ‘treasured possession’ label would apply to. I suppose the closest thing would be my computer, since it’s a work tool, a creative tool, and a means of communication.

[This is still true—but I do have a scarf/muffler that I have had for over 40 years that I am happy to have kept for so long.]

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Isolation.

[Same, but without hope. Isolation or solitude can be restorative, but when hope is lost, things get pretty miserable.]

Where would you like to live?
All other things being equal, I wouldn’t mind living in Port Townsend.

[Same, but I could also imagine living in a small town in, say, Scotland or Ireland.]

What is your favorite occupation?
I like taking photos, going to record stores, watching movies, reading, writing, looking up stuff on the internet, walking, that sort of stuff.

[Same]

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Open-mindedness. Without open-mindedness, there’s no empathy, flexibility, humility, or fairness.

[Same]

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Confidence. Partly because I don’t have enough of it myself, if I’m to be honest.

[Same]

What are your favorite names?
It’s been a long time since I thought about this, particularly since children are very unlikely to be part of my future. However, a few names I liked were Michelle, Helen, Heather, Olivia, Molly, Sylvia, Rebecca, Alexandra, and Bartholomew. From my time in Japan, I liked the names Midori, Miki, and Yumi.

[Same]

What is your motto?
It would be either If you don’t know where you’re going, go somewhere else or Confounding expectations since 1963.

[Same]

(6 December 2017)