Ten Questions

I’m into quizzes this week. So sue me. It’s Fally Fall Fall, for crying out loud. There are many leafy items on my seasonal to-do list.

Last night, I read a Lena Dunham interview conducted by Kelly Corrigan over her speakerphone — all while her father, Greenie, drove her to the airport. I liked that visual image, and I liked the ten questions that Kelly asked Lena. They made me consider my own answers. So I’m writing them down.


1. What song have you listened to more than any other?

Very difficult to say. I go through obsessive cycles with many songs. Depends on my mood or what I’m focused on. Right now? The Stones’ “Loving Cup.” I forgot how much I loved that song. My apologies to anyone who follows me on Spotify. I should make a playlist of obsessive songs. Remember when we used to say “mix tape?”


2. If you had a year to get really good at something, what would you try?

Easy. I’d be crazy-proficient at drums, and guitar — both acoustic and electric. I actually do have a year to get really good at them.


3. Who do people say you look just like?

Someone once told me that I looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor in my wedding photo. When she was a Nicky Hilton bride, not a Larry Fortensky one. Dear God, that just about made my entire week. Someone else said that I looked like Alyson Hannigan from “How I Met Your Mother.” I’ll gladly take that, too, even though I’ve never watched the show. I usually don’t get comparisons, though. More like “you remind me of my cousin/sister/best friend/aunt, and her name is Kathleen, too.” I can’t tell you how often I’m told that. I like that I’m familiar to people, and that they’re comfortable with me. I like that people feel that way in my presence. Probably because I’m not formal. I’m as informal as it gets. Come over here and sit by me. Take your shoes off. Put your feet up. Get comfy. Tell me everything.


4. If your mother wrote a book about you, what would it be called?

You Really Should Iron That, or alternatively, Is That What You’re Wearing?


5. What would you like to see fixed in your lifetime?

Cancer. Just fix that. Please. I’d like to see cancer cells regarded as something as insignificant as the common cold virus.


6. If everyone on earth could kill one person without repercussion, would you be killed? By whom and why?

I’d like to think not, but the “without repercussion” aspect is a real game-changer, isn’t it?


7. Is there one place you wish everyone could go?

I wish everyone could visit New York City without anxiety or fear, and simply take all of it in — its rhythms, its architecture, its cuisines, its flaws, its myriad of cultures, its history, its cadence, its essence. It will always be my most favorite place in the entire world.


8. What’s the worst job you ever had?

I was assigned by my college-summer-era temp agency to be an assistant for a semi-retired, Phil Spector-ish record producer who lived in Westport, Connecticut. He was going through a tumultuous, bitter divorce and selling off his astonishing record collection to pay his legal fees. There were rows upon rows of shelves in his basement, tightly packed with LPs. The guy had everything ever pressed on vinyl. Hawaiian jazz. Polka music. Hebrew chants. Culture Club. The Weavers. Everything. Twenty-five years later, I can still see the large photograph he had hanging over his velvet couch — a naked portrait of his soon-to-be ex-wife, posing with a dead, stuffed Siberian tiger. I wondered why she had left the portrait in his possession. I guessed that she wanted to leave the house that quickly. Phil Spector-ish had placed ads in the Pennysaver, of all places, and in the Village Voice, announcing the sale of his collection, which would take place in his home. When customers rang the doorbell, he screamed at me to appear hard-assed and dominant. One customer — a very sweet Lenny Kravitz look-alike who drove all the way up from Brooklyn to peruse the collection — ¬†quietly pulled me aside and said that I needed to get the hell out of the house because he thought the guy had a pistol. I quit the next day. Temp agencies make for very odd summer jobs. I should write more about that.


9. Whose voice, either how it sounds or what he/she says, do you most revere?

Hmmm. Not sure that I would use the word “reverence” when considering anyone’s voice. Hard to say. I love the sound of my husband’s voice when I’m lying in bed with him, and my head is on his shoulder and his chest vibrates while he speaks. I feel very safe and quiet and peaceful. I miss the sound of my grandmother’s Brooklyn-tinged and phone cumpnee operator-trained voice. All three of my grandparents, actually, whose voices I can still intimately recall. I don’t remember my paternal grandfather’s voice, which is so strange to me, since I tend to remember so much. I’m still a teensy bit afraid of the sternness in my father’s voice at times. Even now, at forty-four. He’s not a yeller. He’s a quiet, deliberate enunciator with a tinge of Brooklyn-ese when he’s pissed. That’s plainly terrifying to me. I suppose I do have some reverence for that.


10. If you could say four words to anyone, living or dead, whom would you address and what would you say?

“Don’t stop for autographs.” To John Lennon, a few hours before he met Mark David Chapman in front of the Dakota. Or maybe, “How’d you do that?” to Michelangelo.


The original interview is here, on Medium.

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