Catalog of Likes and Dislikes
wit, bioluminescence, when a band sounds better live than on CD, climbing flowers, masterfully constructed plots (mostly, but not exclusively, literary), public schools, fresh herbs (except chervil and tarragon), accents from almost anywhere, typography, being deeply absorbed in something, improvisation, open stacks, crisp breezes, leftovers that taste better the next day, nonviolent resistance, good craft of any kind, belly laughing, having some Greek (and all manner of East/Central European) in me, listening to cellos, guitars or anything guitar-like, doing things on my own, people who are instinctively kind without necessarily even meaning to be, autumn (everything about it), Polish Fiats (maluchy), Talking Heads, lemon curd, lisianthus, boots that successfully negotiate that finest of lines between comfort and looking good, learning new things (perspectives, approaches, facts) from students, NPR, wordplay, unusual/obscure/intriguingly textured words and their etymologies, neologisms thatdon’t have to do with marketing anything, backs of necks (I guess that would be napes?), pretty much anything Apple makes (gah! I just can’t help it, and I’ve been trying to help it!), Night Train to Lisbon, Raising Arizona, fragrantly ripe mangoes, architectural whimsy, the moments when I don’t feel guilty about something/anything, Wisława Szymborska, good coffee and good beer (sometimes simultaneously), right to free speech, free museums and libraries, thoughtfully designed and genuinely helpful signs and trail markings, idealistic ventures, naturally silver hair, cooking elaborate meals for other people, cedar closets, potatoes in any form, staying put for a while to smell/see/hear real life in other countries, clever gadgets, 100% cotton, Netflix, notebooks that haven’t been written in yet, dairy products (almost without exception – and, for the record, processed cheese is *not* dairy), efficient and convenient public transportation, curses customized for their object and occasion, well-designed suitcases, reference materials, clothes that hang right, when things (and people) look better as they get older, luminous moonlight, garlic, candor, satisfying conversation, almost anything in the MoMA Design Museum shop, Constructivism, Futurism, looking at other people’s photographs, being flexible, the way old books smell, open source applications and net neutrality, translating and good translations, poetry or music that gets me in my gut first, not in my head, rolling my r’s when given the legitimate opportunity (although I am guilty of the odd and completely gratuitous rrrrrrrrrrr), Walt Whitman, nuance, synchronized traffic signals, being in usually busy places when they are empty, deep red, sunwarmed tomatoes right off the vine, birch trees, recipes so clearly written and carefully tested that they come out right the first time, baby animals (including human ones) (but I’m blaming biological-evolutionary hardwiring for that one), affordable access to potable water, diverse communities, tolerance for ambiguity, when extravagant and highly detailed plans work out.
(it turns out that enough are related to marketing/consumerism that they should probably have their own sub-category) being within a dozen pages of the end of a really good book, not being able to resist judging my appearance according to standards created by airbrushing, popcorn ceilings (especially the kind with embedded glitter in them) and stucco in general, cotton-poly blends, unnaturally smooth hair, John Mayer, processed cheese, product placement, not using turn signal, humidity, Ford Expeditions, the ever-increasing humiliation that goes along with being an airline passenger, reality shows, the creation of unnecessary drama and/or complications by people for what seems like the very basic reason of not wanting to be bored, untrained dogs and children, facebook’s constant invention of new ways to mine my profile information (google is so much subtler about it), not being able to wean myself from facebook, the fact that anyone has to earn their living as an adjunct instructor or a telemarketer, abuse of autotune, panderers and sycophants (especially the ones who try it on me – practically gives me a skin rash), jetskis and snowmobiles, political platforms that implicitly or explicitly support any kind of discrimination, being so irresistable to mosquitoes, planned obsolescence, celebrities (especially the ones who don’t really do anything except celebrity), people killing other people, or devising means to kill other people, for any reason whatsoever, being told by others what I should believe, cliches and any formula that isn’t chemical (especially when I perpetrate them), fads, rayon, prejudice, pretension, gold in any of its forms, anything premium, elite or VIP, especially when access to them is determined by money or connections, suggestive selling, being at a live concert but having to watch the band on the jumbotron, jumbotrons, everything else that goes on at a college basketball game (men’s or women’s) besides basketball, the volume most bands play their music at (is it so wrong to want to understand the lyrics?), people making you wait while they back into their parking space like they’re the captain of a freighter or something, warm cheap beer, high fructose corn syrup, fluorescent light, windowless offices, reed instruments, physical comedy that involves people getting hurt, toenail polish in unnatural (especially metallic) colors, wedding etiquette, unavoidable mirrors, discomfort, bad coffee, flipflops as formal wear, conformity (including my own, of which there is an unfortunate lot), chemically immobilized eyebrows, having acne and lines on my face at the same damn time, paying more attention to the person on the phone than the person in front of you, perfumes, lotions and air fresheners that smell like food (except citrus, for some reason), or like patchouli, sandalwood, or baby powder, the fact that bottled water and some very sketchy financial machinations are unregulated, not being able to choose where my tax money goes (I want to earmark it myself, thank you!), unimaginative profanity, treating the “market” as if it makes some sort of sense, the branding of Disney princesses, plasticky Disney human child stars, useless/easily broken gadgets, runway couture being called clothing (art, OK, but clothes?), outsourcing, WWF, monster trucks, sweepstakes, infomercials, skinny jeans, double standards, the smell of cheap cigars, being in situations where I’m expected to negotiate, the self-consciously hip (as if there was any other kind?), leafblowers, throwing up, dolls, being overwhelmed when I walk into a store by the aroma of potpourri or those cinnamon-scented pine cones that seem to be everywhere during the holidays, not catching my own typos, white chocolate (what makes that chocolate?), blogs that haven’t been updated in several years, fake flowers and plants, over-solicitous salespeople, when languages disappear, “fruit”-flavored things that don’t taste anything like the fruit they are purportedly representing (peach, watermelon, and banana are the major offenders) – and what’s up with “blue raspberry”?, being as bruisable as real fruit, open-mouthed gum chewing (this absolutely includes when I catch myself doing it), magazine covers that always promise so much more than they deliver, when full-page ads preempt pagination, when people with golf umbrellas don’t realize (or, even worse, DO realize) how much space on the sidewalk they’re actually taking up, service fees and all other add-on fees with names so vague even you (and not just they) know you’re being shystered, overuse of lowercase prefix i- in front of everything, overuse of -geddon/-pocalypse to describe weather, abuse of “green” and “artisan” on labeling, lol (what? it would be great if that were really happening in real life, but I suspect that most of the time it’s being typed, it isn’t), having to wear corrective lenses from the moment I wake up to the minute I fall asleep, skin “regimens” that make you feel like you need to slather on three or more different lotions, creams, serums (honestly, serums?) in a row “to achieve lasting results,” hostas (not sure why, but I just don’t like them), new agey/Music from the Hearts of Space sort of music and the voices of the dj’s who play it, bureaucracy, standardized tests and the standardized test mafia that sells them, being taken advantage of (especially when I know it’s happening as it’s happening – cf. shystering, above), giving/getting candles or soap as gifts, the hijacking and repurposing of “freedom,” “patriot,” and “homeland,” election campaigns that start immediately after the last election just finished, that *voice* that narrates all of the political attack ads, leaving anything halfway finished, class distinctions, lawns of grass too tough and poky to comfortably nap on, picnic on, or walk on in bare feet, when people who aren’t claim to be synaesthetic, those occasional mornings when coffee for some reason doesn’t taste all that great, not understanding why I’m being asked/required to do something, the fact that Starbuck’s and McDonald’s are now essentially interchangeable, distant but ever-present highway and/or air conditioning noise, the smell of microwave popcorn when it’s not mine, finding myself trying to argue rationally with irrational people, texts that are all lower case or ALL CAPS, catering to lowest common denominators, when people at the farmers’ market use double-wide strollers like cowcatchers, the fact that my list of dislikes is so much longer than my list of likes.
Photo of Polish fiat licensed under Creative Commons by flickr user Fernando Martín.
Photo of airline seats licensed under Creative Commons by flickr user Luke Lai.