Thursday, September 12, 2013

Haven't We Met?

I've ordered some rain for tomorrow
PDX will be sunny but wet
And out of nowhere you're suddenly there
And I say, "Yeah, pardon me, have you filled out my 40th birthday survey yet?"

(with apologies to the late Kenny Rankin)

Don't worry, I'm only going to be nagging you to complete this survey for a couple more weeks. And if you're not convinced you want to participate, for whatever reason, please scroll past the form and read on.

(scroll down to see all questions)

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Back in 2010, I ran a birthday art project called "37 Postcards", in which I asked people to send me postcards from their home area and tell me why they lived there. DeeAnn and I had cross-referenced a lot of city data before deciding to move to Portland; we weren't constrained by jobs or family, so we could choose to live anywhere we wanted.* I was curious why others lived where they did, and what they liked about their home areas.

I scanned in each postcard as it arrived, and you can see all of those images under the 37postcards label on this blog. I've received 59 so far--and counting! So, to coin a phrase, HUGE SUCCESS.

I've been wanting to do another "birthday ask" for a while, maybe even make it an annual tradition, but I didn't hit upon something that seemed interesting and worthwhile until now.

I have never really been sure how I appear to other people, and though I know I've changed over the years, personality-wise, I don't know if my outward appearance has altered significantly. And it's not really something people will tell you directly; very rarely do people look me in the eye and say, "I think you are _____." It's something I have to suss out indirectly, by noticing their reactions to my behavior. And I'm not very good at reading people.

So, I figured, why not just ask people about where they met me, and what their first impression of me was? Which would also capture how long we've known each other, which is interesting information, and totally quantifiable. (Even though this is a completely unscientific survey, I still like to have some hard facts.) It would be a weird question to ask out of the blue, but hey, it's my party, I'll poll if I want to.

Just to be clear: I am not fishing for compliments here. I'm very glad to see that at least a couple of people have given not-necessarily-complimentary answers, because they were honest, and that's what I want. I want to know if I seemed less than friendly when we first met. I want to know if I did something especially good or especially bad. It's all signal, and I want the feedback.

So. If you haven't completed the survey yet, it should only take a few minutes. At least take a look?

If you can, please respond by the end of this month (Monday, September 30th, 2013). Thanks in advance!

* We did limit ourselves to the continental United States, because we didn't want to risk any international quarantine issues which might prevent our cats from coming with us.


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