Tyler tagged me the online equivalent of twelve centuries ago, and thanks to a lull in the last day of the MFA residency, I have decided to play along and reveal five things some people don’t know about me:
1. My father was an amateur rocketry hobbyist during the space race of the 1950s. I re-purposed what he taught me about small rocket fuels to make stink and smoke bombs (as well as rockets) that we lit off in the vast expanses of dirt lot surrounding our town. Once, I almost burned down the fence in our backyard while experimenting with gasoline.
2. I grew up in the desert and so have only seen snowfall a handful of times. I never had to shovel it from driveways or endure more than momentary cold. As a result, I still regard it as foreign and fun.
3. I caught Trichinosis as a preschooler from a pork-chop my best friend’s mom served to me slightly undercooked. As a result, I am highly allergic to all pork products, as if my body remembers that substance equals sickness. So, I often order Kosher meals on planes and usually thereby get slightly better tasting food.
4. My right thumb bends backward to almost ninety degrees, as does my sister’s thumb and all thumbs on my father’s side of the family. The gene is so dominant that once on a tiny prop-engine plane I was approached by a woman who was surprised at the ticket counter to learn that out of no more than a dozen some passengers, an R. Peake (with an “e” at the end) was already on board. Her name was Rebecca. I asked her immediately if she could bend back her thumb. She said no–she was adopted–but all her brothers could do it.
5. I grew up allergic to almost every environmental allergen for which there is an itchy allergy scratch-test, including every mammal but the whale. I’m still a little allergic to my parents’ cats, but Miranda, for some reason, doesn’t even cause a tickle in my nose. The acid test the day we went over to David and Kathryn’s to adopt her was me burying my face in her fur and waiting for the swelling and tears. Nothing. She’s slept on our bed ever since.