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25 Random Things

So back on January 31, I wrote a little meme called "25 Random Things." Encouraged by friends, I shot it off to Everyday Weirdness, who very kindly agreed to publish it here, now with the slightly more original title of "Pogo Stick." To reduce confusion, I've removed the original post - but please feel free to head over to Everyday Weirdness to check "Pogo Stick" and other odd bits of weirdness out!

This will never be relevant at any day:

So another meme is making the rounds of Livejournal, this one along the lines of:

"If you woke up and I was in bed with you, what would be your first thought?"

The answer, in my case, is simple enough: I wouldn't have a first thought, because I am incapable of thinking in the morning. At all.

As one of the people on my friends list, who will otherwise remain anonymous, once noted in amusement when I was trying to find the floor one morning, and then trying to figure out where it was and what it was doing, "Wow, you really weren't kidding about this morning disorientation thing." I once woke up next to another person who shall also remain anonymous -- mostly because for several minutes after I woke up, I couldn't remember who he was.

At all.

Not that I could remember who I was, either. At all.

At various times I have mistaken animate and inanimate objects for zombies, assumed I was in the wrong country, freaked out about the approach of a nonexistent herd of goats, tried to remember why I was in a particular location before realizing that I wasn't, or stared baffled at the ceiling for several minutes. As I've noted previously, this morning disorientation has gotten considerably worse over the years (to those of you who have met me right after I've woken up thinking, baffled, how could it get worse, I can only assure you that it could), to the point where I've started having a late night protein only snack right before going to sleep (or, more accurately, trying to go to sleep). This has actually helped reduce the duration and the intensity of the morning disorientation when I remember to have it, and as long as I have the appropriate supplies on hand. I didn't, a few weekends ago when I was out of town, and spent several confused moments staring into space, and more confused moments trying to figure out why a rabbit was staring at me in that particular way, not realizing that a) it wasn't a rabbit (it was a hotel alarm clock) and b) it wasn't staring at me in any particular way whatsoever. But even the late night snack has not completely removed the morning disorientation. It's why I -- and everyone who has ever interacted with me before, say, 10 am -- strongly advise people not to interact with me before 10 am, or at least not expect coherence if you do.

So, those of you without my particular problem, meme away. I just won't be able to think about it.

The Ten Things Meme

The problem with the "Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't Meme" is that either you haven't done ten things, or you've done many, many things that other people haven't done, in which case most of them are either a) stories you wish people would forget about or b) stories that people have already heard. But, by special request, here is the Ten Things meme from me:

12) Sipped green tea in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, thereby giving myself major insomnia despite having walked up and down about 5000 stairs during a day of walking around Buddhist temples.

11) Been unable to count to ten when doing a ten things meme.

10) Woken up on the Masai Mara plain in Kenya at 5 in the morning to the sounds of hot tea being prepared, then pouring hot tea on my brother before heading out on safari to look for cheetahs.

9) Hung an elephant prick on my wall.

8) Walked through a snowfall in the Himalayan mountains.

7) Searched for a Bible and car keys in a graveyard after midnight.

6) Injured my knee badly enough while watching television that I required knee surgery afterwards. (Yes, really. So place yourselves carefully while watching TV, folks, because you never know how long you might be hopping about on crutches afterwards.)

5) Tried to explain to an unsympathetic police officer exactly why I was searching for a Bible and car keys in a graveyard after midnight.

4) Attended an elementary school class with students representing eight different countries -- in a group of 25 students.

3) Tossed a vibrating rubber ducky up in the air while singing, "I'm BOUNCING in the RAIN, just BOUNCING in the rain!" (And aren't you all now sorry I started telling you about this?)

2) Seen snow at Epcot -- real snow, not Disney's fake snow.

1) Stood in Masada in the rain.

Masada is the citadel next to the Dead Sea where a group of Jewish freedom fighters (Josephus's version) or scummy rebels (the Roman version) withstood a three year Roman siege before finally committing suicide. The most remarkable thing about this story is that for three years it didn't rain. Not a bit.
This is because Masada is next to one of the lowest points on land -- an area well below sea level -- and is surrounded by desert. In a typical year, Masada and the Dead Sea area receive .2 inches of rain for the entire year. Umbrellas not a big thing.

So there I was with a group of travel agents from Miami. We got out of the bus. We looked up at the sky. We got our umbrellas. The guide told us to put our umbrellas back in the bus.

"But it looks like rain!" we told the guide.

The guide shook his head. "It never rains on Masada," he said, positively. "I have been guiding groups here for 25 years, and it has never, ever rained on Masada. For three years the Zealots prayed for rain, and not a single drop."

"It really looks like rain," we repeated.

So about half of us left the umbrellas in the bus, and we all went up the cable car, and started walking around as the guide declaimed the great story of Masada and --

We looked up at the sky.

"WE TOLD YOU IT WAS GOING TO RAIN!" we said.

In fact, it poured. The guide was stunned; everyone else at Masada was stunned. (Apparently the .2 inches of total rainfall come down as a light trickle.) The half of the group still carrying umbrellas opened them smugly.

The moral of the story is: when hearing stories about Masada, trust the guide. But when making a weather prediction, trust the people from Miami.

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Mari Ness

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