25 Things…

…you don’t know about me

Saturday I was waiting for my two favorite men to get through their haircuts (oops! forgot the $4 off coupon!) when I cracked open an US Weekly feature, “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” about comedian Kevin Hart. This gave me the perfect excuse to do one about me. One out of 500 might care so…


  1. I like Shania Twain, Celine Dion, and other sappy love song singers, and when I’m feeling particularly vulnerable — which is about 75 percent of the time — I hole up and turn their songs on. As a matter of fact, I’m currently listening to Twain’s “You’ve Got A Way” and “From This Moment” in a loop, because, the feels. When the violins stir up a dust storm of ’em, I’m a puddle.
  2. I am physically incapable of saying the “C” word, and I’m not talking about the vagina. It grosses me out to even see a picture of smokers sucking on their cancer sticks. I won’t even step on one. Going to the beach can be traumatic. When one of those addicts walks into a room, the smell just absolutely has me fighting like hell to keep my bile down. I will leave the room if I have to, after exhausting every desperate measure, up to and including smelling my own armpit sweat. I’ve actually gagged to thrown up not just from the smell but the sight of you sucking that symbolic dick, so hey, stop it, how’s about that?
  3. I have a weird balance requirement in my eating. If I am enjoying a pot roast, which is rare btw, there has to be a clean, crisp, crunchy, healthy side dish to balance all that richness out. That’s not very unusual, as chefs require the same balancing elements. Only, I take it to the next level. I have to eat balanced bites of everything. My husband is the only other person who’s worse than I am in the anal way we section off individual bites to match mathematically: an equal forkful of meat with potato, then green beans, then one perfect bite of a roll with just the right amount of butter. Our plates look like color blocking in a blockout game, we’re so ridiculous.
  4. I have an unhealthy obsession with food, yes, but with fruit especially. While I love almost every fruit except apricot and persimmon (overdosed on persimmon back in Korea), my favorite is Fuji apple. I can and have eaten only Fuji apples for days and nothing else. When I was pregnant with my son James, the only thing I could stomach without hurling were Fujis, candy, and Campbell’s Alphabet soup. I couldn’t even stand water. My perfect meal is a platter of sliced Fuji apples, cheddar cheese, almonds, and Concord grapes. So why am I a thousand pounds??
  5. Those who’ve been to games with me know I do this. I will root for both teams, not just mine. I’ve been to countless games my son has played, from baseball and basketball to soccer, and it never fails to astonish me how many homers are out there only rooting for their precious angels. When I loudly praise one of their players for an outstanding goal or a tough bit of defense, the moms mainly give me the thousand-yard stare, like I just committed a heinous foul. I don’t get it, I paid your son, the keeper, a compliment; he just deflected a bomb from my son, from pointblank range, and didn’t even flinch. That was awesome, mad props. Bottom line: I just want a good, hard-fought game. I really don’t have my life invested on a win, least of all in youth games. These are the same parents who side-post in a near-constant barrage in that typical, Northwest passive-aggressive way and get in fights with our parents for their infantile side swipes, taking my attention away from the game itself. I wish they’d stay home.
  6. If you’re a drummer or bassist, you can serenade me all night long. When I was around six or seven, I wanted to grow up to be one of you, just like Karen Carpenter. Level 42’s Mark King is another god to me. I just think drummers and bassists are so badass, even the way they hold their sticks and their ax. They dictate groove every time, and often steal the show. Nothing beats a good drum/bass solo. Nothing.
  7. I used to hate jazz. I’m still a pop girl at heart, but I’ve grown to appreciate the artistry and pure soul jazz musicians pour into their music. Many working jazz musicians will never see the fame of a Chick Corea, but they do so much to uplift my spirits and, as I recently conveyed to multi-“Golden Ear” award winner, pianist Bill Anschell (Rumbler), their music makes me feel normal, accepted, understood, like I’m gonna be okay somehow. Jazz often reaches me when nothing else can.
  8. Life is some weird play for me. Michael Newton in his “Destiny of Souls” book alluded to it. I live it. Ever since I can remember, I’ve experienced my life in a kind of third-person narrative, as if I’m an actor, director, writer, and producer of a play. If I’m having the time of my life (how many times can I write, “life?” … another pet peeve), I can hear the director in my head go, “Okay, cut! That’s enough.” If I hear a really cool song, I’m instantly replaying it in my head as a part of the ongoing soundtrack of my life. Part of this plays into my social anxiety, which I only recently realized I suffer from. I can only handle so much time around other people, even my own family, before I need to retreat, recover, and regroup.
  9. I don’t know when it happened but I cannot stand BBQ. Just the thought of eating BBQ brisket or ribs will make me ill.
  10. However, I have a particular weakness for popcorn and French Fries. If I am anywhere near either of these foods, I will forget my resolve and gorge. Half the fun of going to the movies is loading up on the largest never-ending tub of buttered popcorn I can get away with. Harkens back to my childhood when I used to go to the movies almost every weekend, loading up on theater popcorn and candy. (I like Cracker Jack, but would rather you put the caramel corn away.) French Fries? Duh. Toulouse Petit in Lower Queen Anne serves the best Pommes Frites with Aioli.
  11. I transpose numbers and sometimes, words. Maybe it’s because I’m an immigrant who used to be bi-lingual (Korean and English), but I will see a number and then relay a different number to someone else thinking I’ve said the right number. This gets me in hot water when scheduling appointments, heh heh. The other day, I was with my husband, driving to a soccer tournament when I confirmed that the GPS said to go left. We both stared at the GPS, which said left, but somehow “Go right” came out of my mouth.” I had no idea. You’d think he’d be used to it by now. Gosh, I hope I’m not telling the pizza delivery man to go fuck himself when I really mean, “large Supreme, extra cheese…”
  12. I would rather eat nails (hmm… wonder if I did as a child…) than get a massage. I don’t like strangers pawing at me, germaphobe here, and massages hurt. I had one once, doctor’s orders. It did nothing but firm up my aversion to massages. My husband and son love to sit in that massage chair at Brookstone. But sitting in a chair getting rolled on that strangers have sat in with god knows what diseases and skin infections and parasites… Ew, no thanks.
  13. If all this isn’t enough, I also suffer from misophonia. I think Kelly Ripa has this aversion to certain sounds too. Most everyone has some form of this, from squeaking balloons to eating with your mouth full. But I will hate you on sight if your voice triggers my misophonia. From the obvious (a grown woman with a baby voice) to the anal (coughing will send me into a panic attack), before I was married, I wouldn’t even date a guy that made sounds I found disgusting. There was this one Rico Suave who talked through his teeth, slurring, mumbling, gargling with saliva when he talked… Bye. Btw, my own voice disgusts me the most, so don’t call me a hypocrite.
  14. People think I curse a lot. And I do. But your cursing is worse. Don’t curse too much around me, unless you’re good at it. Cursing, believe it or not, is an art form. Richard Pryor was a master. So am I. It’s about slipping into a natural rhythm, like everything good in this world. There was this one poor little rich girl, the privileged daughter of a publisher, who came into our office cursing like a sailor, as if to prove how badass and one of us she was. I just tuned her out. Her actions spoke louder than her pathetic cursing for attention. She treated my co-workers terribly, firing the managing editor after talking shit about her to her face. When she came to me promising the moon if I towed her line, I quit too.
  15. I’m one of those odd ducks who will have nothing to do with you if you fuck with anyone I care about. Let the masses blow with the wind. I’m not one of them. I have standards and principles. While the rest of you shrug and continue friending and following the dickheads who’ve abused that privilege, I part company. Fuck with my crew, you fuck with me. I will literally give up a paying job if the boss is an asshole to a decent person. I will go to bat for you, too, whether the majority follows along or not. Even when the person I’m defending doesn’t give a shit about me or even did his share of shading (true story), I refuse to stand by and let bullshit slide.
  16. When I was about seven, I became enamored of Bruce Lee and martial arts. The whole world did. Ft. Shafter was covered with martial arts students going through their kung fu moves after “Enter The Dragon.” I begged and pleaded with my parents to sign me up. They refused. “Girls don’t do martial arts.” Their answer was to force the snotty Girl Scouts on me. The same thing happened when I begged to join my dad’s football team later on in Ft. Dix. It’s why I will never do that to my son. Whatever he wants to try, he can try. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. His pottery is everywhere in this house. And then, there’s the baseball…
  17. I still count with my fingers. Shut up. Math isn’t my strong suit. I almost flunked out in high school Algebra.
  18. I’m drawn to the grotesque, taboo, and scary. I will watch “Criminal Minds” to unwind. I get lost in biographies of serial killers and multiple personalities. Stephen King is my bible. In “Paradise Lost” and the New Testament of the Bible, the villains were the most fascinating characters to me. I didn’t root for them. I’m not that completely gone. I just identify with the misunderstood, intense, duality of soul thing complex villains represent, because I’m kind of viewed as one by the outside world, often through no fault of my own. Needless to say, I can’t wait to watch “Split” from M. Night Shyamalan in theaters with my friend Sary.
  19. I’m really not as scary as I look. I guess I look scary. I don’t like to smile, unless there’s a reason to. Smiling on cue is painful for me. It’s fake. I don’t do fake. I’d rather you steer clear of me than try to make me out to be someone I’m not (mom!). I never smiled much as a kid. Of course there wasn’t a helluva lot to smile about. But when I have fun, I’m all in. I’m in a scripted play of my own making, remember? But every now and then I forget that, and OMG, I’m so much fucking fun, take a picture, do video, that’s rare for me. I light up the room if people give me half a chance, and I will give you everything I have. Women seem especially skittish around me. I don’t know why. Maybe they think I’m hideous, some monster waiting to disembowel them when in reality, I’m the kindest, most understanding person you know — even though I’m terribly un-photogenic. I do have my unorthodox quirks…
  20. My favorite comic strips and comics are Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, The Far Side, Peanuts, Richie Rich, and Archie. I’ve never understood “Doonesbury” or “Bloom County.” I think people who brag about those two comic strips are just trying to show off how fucking intelligencia they are. They remind me of this snob I knew in high school who would brag about her idols, The Who, and The Doors, RME.
  21. I secretly like smelling permanent markers. I probably permanently marked my brain into oblivion. I was that kid in school who sniffed rubber cement and ate paste.
  22. I used to put everything in my mouth, and I ain’t talking just food. Nervous habit, one of many, like crackling my knuckles and sucking my thumb. The list of items I put in my mouth and accidentally swallowed would astound and concern you. It’s a wonder I’m not dead. Dimes, sewing needles, buttons, soap (Dial!), toothpaste, gum, dishwashing liquid, tissue (my son used to do this one)…
  23. In the 1980s, I used to watch this Australian soap opera called “Prisoner” all the time. It was about a women’s prison. I didn’t care about that part. I zeroed in on these overalls one of them wore. I became obsessed with finding my own denim overalls, loose and comfy. I would wear the hell out of overalls — oh, those shorts! — until my son outgrew diapers when I realized I looked like a damned fool trying to rock teen threads.
  24. It was also in the ’80s when I developed another nervous habit: chewing the thickest strand of hair I could find off the top of my head, then swallowing the bits. That is, until my brother told me about the largest hairball found in this woman’s stomach from the “Guinness Book of World Records.” “Is the woman still alive?” “Dead from the hairball, asshole. So stop eating your hair!” I stopped that very second. Did I ever mention that one other time before when I stopped brushing my hair (and showering) for a year, because I was too lazy? My grandmother took two hours to detangle me; most painful two hours of my life. I still hate taking showers or combing my hair, but I do it anyway because… pain, stink, bad.
  25. The first thing I notice about a man should be his eyes or his ass. But you assume I’m like everyone else. No, the first thing I notice is a man’s voice, his laugh, the way he says my name, and then his arms — not to see if they’re bulked up, but if they’re deceptively strong, all these underrated traits most other women overlook. I hate bulked up muscle men. I also hate pretty boys. I like tall, lanky, awkward basketball player types, who hang out on the tops of trees with telescopes looking for aliens on a random July evening. Think Crispin Glover (George McFly) in the first “Back To The Future” movie. Or, tall guys who are otherwise obsessed with strange things, hiding behind his class clown humor, aka Regé-Jean Page (updated Chicken George) in the new version of the mini-series, “Roots.”

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