It’s always interesting looking at my blog stats, and the search terms people use to find this small page of mine (or how they find themselves here by mistake, like the poor souls who tirelessly trawl the net looking for that perfect combination medical/sexual aid. Piles and pornography: just think of the possibilities). But it’s also disconcerting, because I never know who these people are, and when they search something quite specifically intended to find me – in this case, two searches yesterday for ‘di jenkins varuna australia’ – I find myself feeling quite exposed. Which is ridiculous given that I choose to maintain this site and have knowingly provided my full name on it. What did I think was going to happen? If the fox sits at the stable door and brazenly beckons the worst, is the fox still hunted? I don’t know about foxes and hounds, but I do know I think I’ve sort of forfeited my right to be bothered about the web’s artificially generated willingness to put my name about. I tried Googling ‘di jenkins varuna australia’ myself, just to see how well hidden I am, and DoctorDi came back as result numero uno. And that’s because of decisions I’ve made about what to include on the ‘About DoctorDi’ page, so, really, tough. Here I am. Unhidden. Even sort of flagrant.
So whilst I’m feeling bravely foxlike, if not quite foxy, I thought I’d try and complete a little thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It came out of Facebook, actually, when three quite separate friends included me on a note called ’25 Random Things About Me,’ or some such thing. I read – with gusto – 25 random details about each of them, and loved every minute of it, but I’ve been a bit remiss in reciprocating, which was the point of the exercise as these things always are. I think I’ve delayed because I don’t think I’m a very random person – I could name ’25 Quite Deliberate Things About Me’ with far greater ease. Anyway, let’s see how we go.
1. I am not a nauseous person at all. In my lifetime, I’ve only very, very rarely thrown up, and when I have, it was because I was wretched with food poisoning. This has happened to me several times, and just about always with Indian food. I continue to eat and love Indian food.
2. While we’re on India, I contracted typhoid while honeymooning there. I had every conceivable immunisation prior to travelling. Upon our return to Australia, I staggered to hospital, to a doctor, and back to hospital before finally being admitted for a period of two weeks. I threw up once, not from the typhoid, but from something the doctor gave me the day before I was admitted. It was my throwing up that finally convinced Llew I wasn’t putting it on. I then turned a deep shade of yellow; that too helped my case.
3. The older I get, the more afraid I am of flying. As a travel writer, this is a potentially fascinating area to exploit.
4. I can’t stand violence on the screen, and even the suggestion of violence is usually enough to give me the shivers. I always, always have to look away and wait until it’s over. I also have a very low threshold for blood and gore. If they insist on taking the camera into the operating room, I’ll go make the tea and come back when it’s all over. I made the mistake of not looking away just the other night, and saw John Malkovich attack that nice man with an axe in Burn After Reading (which was hugely disappointing). I wish I’d known that was coming.
5. I’m afraid – terrified, really – of sharks and snakes. I used to be afraid of spiders, too, but my friend Jenny has changed my mind about a lot of things in the insect and animal kingdoms, and I daresay she’ll get around to sharks and snakes one day, and I’m looking forward to when she does.
6. I love big cities. Few things in life please and excite me more than exploring a new city with Llew. He’s an excellent travelling companion and many other things besides.
7. My proximity to the ocean and the Australian sky profoundly influence my state of mind and overall happiness. It was only after returning from two years abroad that I realised this, but once I knew it, I knew it completely.
8. My ears stick out a bit, and the other kids used to tease me about it when I was in school. I have very fine hair, and it remains one of my genuine, verging on pathological dislikes about being photographed that sometimes my ears can be seen popping through my hair like a waving hand out a car window. I absolutely hate it with an unreasonable passion. Hate it. I have never had my ears pierced.
9. My vision is really excellent, and working on a computer all day every day for years and years doesn’t seem to have adversely affected it. I often stop and think about how grateful I am for my five working senses. And a mysterious sixth. I also pause to reflect on the privilege of being able bodied – I find it hard to take this stuff for granted because it’s really amazing when you stop to think about it.
10. I am slightly superstitious.
11. I have no fear of heights, but the thought of being deep underwater in diving gear makes me want to scream and scream.
12. To the best of my knowledge – and I have given it a solid nudge – I have no allergies.
13. I’m in awe of people who easily learn other languages. And people who can sing.
14. I was once very good at Maths, but long, long ago abandoned that road in favour of the written word. I know it was the right decision, but every so often I miss what I used to know.
15. I’m not interested in gardening, and I have no talent for keeping plants alive, but I love the idea of having a beautiful garden. I’m absolutely all for someone else tending it for me – knock yourself out, green thumbs. And while you’re at it, please build me a great big maze. Is there anything more fascinating and creepy and magical than a maze?
16. I miss my far-flung friends all the time. Every day. Quite desperately, in fact. There are huge gaps of years in some cases since we last saw each other, and thinking about it now is bringing tears to my eyes. I hope they know how much I miss them. See? I am actually crying. I keep thinking it’s going to pass, but it never does.
17. My grandfather was one of my best friends. See above.
18. I can read and write in moving vehicles, and usually do.
19. The only bones I’ve ever broken were in snow.
20. I have a tuneless whistle. An utterly tuneless whistle. But I click my fingers like a champion.
21. A Canadian friend took me to my first and only psychic reading on my last trip to Vancouver (March 2001). I wish I hadn’t gone.
22. I used to bite my fingernails (from the ages of 6 to 21). Then one day I was sitting on a bus watching someone else bite their nails, and it was so disgusting, so totally repellent, that I stopped biting my own.
23. I was one of the tallest girls in my year at high school, with the photos to prove it, but now no one thinks I’m tall at all, including me. It’s kind of strange. Maybe I’ve shrunk. I’ve heard that happens.
24. I secretly think laughing a lot is the best cure for everything. I really do. I think it has actual healing properties. I believe in laughter as much as I believe in modern medicine, and I’m a big fan of modern medicine.
25. I met, befriended, fell in love with and married my soulmate. His love is life-changing.