March 29, 2005

My Interview

Kathy, at Cake Eater Chronicles, has kindly consented to interview me and even more kindly did not impose any time limits on my answers. So, a day later than I would have liked, I herewith reply below the jump. Here are the questions:

1. You're a corporate litigator. The lawyers I used to work with would occasionally become tired of cleaning up other people's messes---and would whine about it. If you could, what would you say to a particularly idiotic client if you didn't have to fear the loss of their billable hours?

2. You live and work in the NYC metropolitan area. For those of us who have never been, explain the pros and cons of living and working in that city.

3. If you could become a cat burglar, and were able to access (albeit illegally) any musuem in the world, knowing that a. what you're choosing to steal is for your personal pleasure and b. you wouldn't be caught, what piece of art would you choose to steal and why?

4. You're an anonymous blogger. Why did you choose to blog anonymously? Do you feel it gives you more leeway to write certain things than if you attached your name to your work? Do you ever feel the compulsion to fib to your readers, knowing full well that they'd have no idea if you were telling the truth or not?

5. Name your all-time favorite book. Why do you love it so?

By the way, this is part of a meme (a concept I find fascinating, like the way a bad virus takes over the body) and here are the rules:

Leave me a comment saying “interview me”. The first five commenters will be the participants. I will respond by asking you five questions. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

If you're interested in my answers to Kathy's excellent questions, read on in extended entry below:

1. You're a corporate litigator. The lawyers I used to work with would occasionally become tired of cleaning up other people's messes---and would whine about it. If you could, what would you say to a particularly idiotic client if you didn't have to fear the loss of their billable hours?

Well, I have to say that no one likes to clean up all the time. Sometimes, it is downright annoying. And, in fact, I have come very close to saying: "You are a cheap asshole who tried to do this deal yourself and now you are solely responsible for the mess you've made and are screaming for me to get you out of. Stop being so damn cheap and call me before you sign something, not after." In other words, don't be penny wise and pound foolish, something I actually have told clients before.

2. You live and work in the NYC metropolitan area. For those of us who have never been, explain the pros and cons of living and working in that city.

The pros and the cons are sometimes the same. It is an energetic, always fast moving, hard working, exciting place to work and live. These factors each cut both ways. Sometimes, you really just want to hang a "gone fishin'" sign on your door, turn off the world and take a break. This can be hard to do in NY and impossible to do when you have children.

Other pros to actually living in NYC, though, include: Chinese food delivered to your door in under seven minutes (no exaggeration); something cool and cultural happening every single evening; having within a two block radius of our old apartment on the Upper East Side a plethora of different kinds of ethnic food (Turkish, Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Greek, Pizza, Persian, and more Turkish); having your value systems being challanged on an almost daily basis by close proximity to other languages and other ways of doing things (keeps you from being complacent); and the sheer beauty of the architecture.

Pros to working in NYC: the feeling that you are running with the thouroughbreds; the knowledge that NYC attracts some of the best and brightest and most ambitious people in the world.

Cons include: the thought that at some point your city may be a target, again, for mass terrorism; the price of housing (extraordinary); the way wealth can distort people's values and how you raise children when you don't have a hedge fund and you don't want your kids to think it is normal for everyone else to have one.

3. If you could become a cat burglar, and were able to access (albeit illegally) any musuem in the world, knowing that a. what you're choosing to steal is for your personal pleasure and b. you wouldn't be caught, what piece of art would you choose to steal and why?

First, what makes you think that I am not hiding the Scream in my closet already, having written about it enough?

Second, piece of art? The broadness of this question almost made my head explode. I have so many favorites that I don't know how to choose. Seriously. I was thinking about this one for awhile because I enjoyed thinking about it, kicking various museums around in my head, the Frick, the Wallace, the Met, the Gulbenkian, etc. And then it hit me, I would probably want to redistribute some of the cultural wealth in the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art and re-hang, in my own home, "The Architect's Dream".

archdream.jpg

This is one I would take because I had a poster of it in college. I used to love looking at it, thinking about how the architect could lie there and contemplate all the broad strokes of history and borrow or be inspired by whatever he saw. It was a painting made at the height of historical ecclecticism when architects were building almost exclusively from historical memory. And besides, it is full of great detail.

If it was sculpture, probably the Gates of Hell by Rodin. Or maybe something by Vigeland from Frogner Park in Oslo.

4. You're an anonymous blogger. Why did you choose to blog anonymously? Do you feel it gives you more leeway to write certain things than if you attached your name to your work? Do you ever feel the compulsion to fib to your readers, knowing full well that they'd have no idea if you were telling the truth or not?

I chose to blog anonymously because I had no idea what I was going to be writing about. Actually, I still have no real clear idea what the hell my blog is. But I knew that I might be talking about work or family and I did not want to breach the privacy of my clients or my family. So I knew that if I was going to do this, I had to do it behind a screen. It totally gives me more leeway. In fact, if my name was attached to this I would never, ever mention a single thing that was happening in my professional life. As it is, I rarely do more than allude to my professional life.

Fib? Nope. Never. Why bother? The truth is often odd enough. Besides, at some point, I will give my children a copy of this whole blog and if I have fibbed, I have distorted their past. I have no desire whatsoever to do that. In part, my blog is an extended love letter to my children. No fibbing required. Actually, anonymity is a way to give myself greater freedom to tell the truth. I have no fear that, say, my mother in law will happen upon my blog and read my unfiltered thoughts. No, there is too much watching my tongue in the real world. Here, I don't have to do that.

5. Name your all-time favorite book. Why do you love it so?

All time favorite book? I have to choose just one? That's cruel, Kathy. Well, how about I choose two and if you don't like the answer you can just yell at me.

One would be Kim, by Kipling. It may be the only book that as soon as I finish, I have to pick it back up and begin reading all over again. It is exotic, an adventure story, filled with great travels, conflicting religions, clashes of culture, hints of the Great Game between Russia and England, love, friendship, food, and happiness. All it lacks, I realize now, is sex. It is, barring that omission, a complete thing in and of itself and I have loved it since I was a child.

Another would be the Three Musketeers, by Dumas. Another cracking good adventure tale, set among the politics and conflict between France and England. Has great sword fights, wonderful dialogue, and love and friendship. And the langauge is beautiful, especially in the French. And I get a kick out of the depictions of the country nobility come to Paris since I knew people like that when I lived in France.

Here endeth my answers.

Thank you, Kathy, for taking the time to come up with such good questions. I enjoyed the experience very much.

Posted by Random Penseur at March 29, 2005 09:38 AM
Comments

And thank you for answering them so well! Great job!

Posted by: Kathy at March 29, 2005 11:10 AM

i wouldn't mind an interview considering i've been plum out of inspiration for weeks.... perhaps you could jumpstart somethin for me.. (?)

=)

indy

Posted by: Indigo at March 29, 2005 02:07 PM

ooooh, me, me, me! :) And I loved reading your answers!

Posted by: Hannah at March 29, 2005 02:09 PM

I loved it! Great idea!

Posted by: dee at March 29, 2005 02:46 PM

I'm game too. :)

Posted by: Angie at March 29, 2005 02:55 PM

Count me in :)

Posted by: Helen at March 29, 2005 03:25 PM

And I was sure you'd pick the Laughing Cavalier as your 'stolen pleasure'. Thanks for sharing your answers!

Posted by: GrammarQueen at March 29, 2005 04:48 PM

Excellent interview. Yep, the architecture in the city is great. And yer a Munch fan! Kewl!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at March 29, 2005 11:01 PM

Interesting answers. Too bad I'm the ninth commenter; I would have been interested to see which questions you would send my way.

Posted by: JohnL at March 30, 2005 01:06 AM
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