Lately for some reason I’ve encountered a lot of “What is your favorite ____?” questions. Possibly it is related to lockdown restlessness and trying to find our happy places. Or people could be trying to get to know each other more as individuals in this troubling time.
Whatever the case, it has raised some favorites questions for me, some absurdly easy to answer, others not so much. Some perhaps surprised me a bit because I don’t often think about them, or maybe never would have thought I might choose those answers.
Something nice about moving beyond the typical “favorite color” type questions (though these are still fun) is that we can learn more about ourselves and each other and transition into some really wonderful conversations.
Can you answer any of these questions? Which other questions would you ask?
Favorite lunchbox snack – Something crunchy – maybe crackers or celery with peanut butter.
Fairy tale – As a child I tended to return repeatedly to “Rapunzel,” “Rumplestiltskin” and “Hansl and Gretl.”
Game to play outside – Anything involving snow.
Childhood memory – How to choose!? A funny one is that I once told a friend, “I have another sister, you know.” She didn’t believe me, and challenged my claim. “Oh yeah? What’s her name?” She said it with that tone that usually accompanies what today we call the “neck action.” I answered, without hesitation, “Snow White.”
On the poignant side: I once had a dangerously high fever; probably I was two or three years old. My parents were instructed to put me into a tub filled with ice water. I can still see the look on my father’s face as he carried me toward the tub: it was pained. I didn’t recognize it then, but now I see in it the fear, for me, how this would feel (not pleasant) and how he really didn’t want to do it. I have absolutely no memory of the experience, so I either blocked it out or he never went through with it.
Nursery rhyme – This one is recited while running circles with your fingertip in a child’s open palm: “Roond aboot, roond aboot, goes a wee moose, up a baht, up a baht, tae its wee hoose! (Round about, round about goes a wee mouse, up a bit up a bit to its wee house!) Toward the end you run your fingers, tickly, up the child’s arm and then tickle under their underarm. My mother used to do this.
Bird – Not a big fan of birds, but I do love ravens.
Color rose – White! I actually loved these since childhood, but came to appreciate them even more with its symbolism as related to a wartime group called The White Rose. I also always relate white roses to Richard III, a Yorkist whose royal house flower was this one.
Sea creature – Nautilus – very mysterious.
Thing about a rainy day – The aura it creates. At home I love the rain as it beats against the window and you see it from the inside, feeling all safe and cozy. Other days you might go to someplace low key, like the bookstore, and pulling into the parking lot or coming outside with your shopping bag and companions creates a happy feel because you browsed together on a lazy day.
Fictional place you’d want to visit – Narnia? Do I dare?
Road to drive on – My favorite road trip involves a few different roads, and that is the way from Anchorage to Homer. The scenery from the Seward Highway is brilliant, but the highway itself I’m not in love with because there’s not much to it – on one side is the water and the other a mountain. When the road curves you can’t see what’s ahead and people get super stupid on it. However, the way to Homer involves much less of this highway and then it breaks into a wider path that makes me feel as if I am free and alive.
Way to cheer you up – Make me laugh. A joke, crazy antics, something that is effective over the course of a few minutes, whatever works. I think being able to make people laugh is a tremendous gift, and actually making them laugh is a gift those talented people pass on to others. And I really do believe laughter can aid dramatically in quality of life. It doesn’t always, but it is more powerful than many give it credit for.
Thing about America – In the movie Ratatouille celebrity chef Auguste Gusteau’s motto was “Anyone can cook.” Later in the film, an unforgiving food critic concedes, “In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not anyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere.” This is much the same as success in America. People come from all over the world to be here, live lives in which they can create, be a part of big or small projects, businesses and enterprises. They and many homegrown try to find success. Not everyone does find it, but those who do can come from anywhere, whether here or abroad, from humble origins or not.
’80s song – Also pretty difficult because they had a boatload of really great songs. So many are so great, and most people seem to pick the same ones, so I’ll go with another one that might be a little new to readers: “Six Months in a Leaky Boat” or “I Got You,” both by Split Enz.
Music genre – Blues, which is lucky for me because it also lends itself to rock and roll and alternative music.
Classic movie – Casablanca.
Harry Potter movie – The Prisoner of Azkaban – I love time travel and these scenes in the film have engendered some amazing conversations.
Thing to cook – Breakfast. There are so many different things you can cook, and it’s such a cozy meal. Even better, you can have it at any time of day or night. “Breakfast for dinner” is a set of words my son loved to hear as a child because it denoted a cozy, casual night.
Comfort food – Grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Asian dish – something Indian or Persian, maybe a vindaloo or fesenjan.
Memory of your child – Also hard to choose, there are just so many. One Christmas, my son wanted to get in on the action of gifting to others, but he was quite little and it was close to the big day, so he collected items from around the house and wrapped them. One was a TV remote! When he was a little older he was allowed to shop by himself (I waited at another part of the store). When I saw him coming, gifts all purchased and wrapped, I saw his sweet little bobbing face as he wheeled the wagon toward me. It was so. happy. The joy in my heart was only compounded when he told me about how he was so excited to pay and get change back and a receipt, and the checker was so friendly – and the girls at the gift wrap table put lotion on his hands and told him they loved his hair and all-around doted on him.
Ice cream flavor – Chocolate chip mint. Mint chocolate chip? I have heard it called both. Here in my neck of the woods we eat ice cream even in winter, and I like to mix it really well in a mug so it’s soft and creamy.
Blanket – A very soft, cozy one my son was gifted before he was born. It is still in very good shape and so soft that he also often uses it.
Craft – I’m not sure this is considered a craft, but I love calligraphy.
Season – Fall. The transition between lives is apparent and I marvel at it. I also love the weather because while I don’t love being cold, I absolutely detest extreme heat. Fall has a nice in-between.
Movie you don’t even like – No Country for Old Men. The first time I saw it I disliked it straight away. But I did always appreciate the scene between Tommy Lee Jones and another man whose name I don’t recall. On subsequent re-watches, I began to see more to the film and understand better the symbolism and meanings behind its presentation. I still don’t love it, but it is, as my son calls it, my favorite movie that I don’t like – of all the movies he’s gotten me to watch that I didn’t want to, this one is the best.
Holiday – Christmas and Diwali.
Candle scent – Vanilla or lavender.
Color – Green.
Song – Impossible to name! It depends on my mood, but I can almost always stand to listen to Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore.”
Book – The Crystal Cave. Favorite since childhood.
Chocolate candy – Isn’t chocolate chocolate and candy candy? Well, Anna Belfrage thinks it’s bizarre, but I’m not in love with chocolate. If I had to choose, I’d say something dark.
Teacher – Miss Raad ~ Funny but also very kind. Helped me with math (my weakness) even after I was no longer in her class. Mrs. O ~ Very supportive of my drive to write; encouraging and willing to entertain outside-the-box ideas.
Favorite TV show – For years it was Law and Order, a show I discovered in college.
New TV show that intrigues you – Mad Men. Well, it’s “new” to me; I only just started watching it three days ago. It’s set in the 1960s and I can’t really say I love everything about the culture of that era. Still, there’s a mystery about where the characters are going with their behaviors and watching the way people interact with each other back then seems almost voyeuristic. It’s very alien to me, but still akin to us in the sense that, as they say, it takes all kinds. Also: Game of Thrones. Where do I begin?
Instrument – I am a little partial to clarinet because it’s the one I played in school, but I also like the way it sounds. In terms only of which one I like to hear, I may say flute. It can be upbeat or also reflect a more blue sensation.
Foreign country – India.
Perfume – Beautiful and Anaïs Anaïs. Speaking of India, I also loved one called Shah Rukh Khan, but ran out and was never able to replace it.
Way to relax – Reading.