[personal profile] mishaoutloud
Okay, to get my mind off the mess of the previous post (which I can't bring myself to erase, for all it's strangeness and inanity); how about an introduction to basic Mishaness?

First off, the nick. I know it's caused quite a bit of confusion (and no little embarrassment) on IJO amongst the Bruces, Bubba's, Taurus's and other's who opening greeting is "a/s/l" or "Wher R the hot chix?" So, here's the official explanation: It's the Russian nickname for the given name Mikhail. Tada! Oh, wait... What? You want to know how a pedigreed white boy from south Alabama got a Russian nickname? Oh, okay... I studied Russian while I was in college. At the time, the U of Alabama had a really healthy Russian exchange student program and Russkie Dom: The Russian House, where Russian students and American students lived side by side. I didn't live there, but I was a regular visitor, especially for Conversation Hour once a week, where (supposedly) the rule was "Once you walk in the door, it's Russian or hand signals. NO ENGLISH!" So, when asked to introduce myself, I did so as I did in class: Menya zovoot Misha, "They call me Misha." So, the Russian students, bending the rules a bit, would ask "Nyet, Nyet, shto etoi PRAVDA nyeom?", "No, no, What's your REAL name?" See, alot of the people in the class had their "Russian names" which had nothing to do with their actual names. However, not thinking of that at the time, I got confused for a moment, then answered "Mikhail Kherbertovich", using the Russian convention of my given name, then my father's name followed by "-ovich." Needless to say, the Russians found this Russkifying of an American name IMMENSELY funny, and immediately took to me, and I actually made some really good friends at the house. And, the nickname "Misha," stuck. So much so that anyone I met through my Russian classes, any Russian students at the University, or anyone that I was introduced to BY those people all began to know me just as "Misha." In fact, to this day, if I go back to Tuscaloosa and walk into my old professor's offices, THEY remember me as Misha. Go figure.

Another defining quality... Hmm, I've always liked the tired, old "If your house was on fire, what would you carry out..." Well, let's get the obvious out of the way: Yes, I would carry myself, any loved ones, pets, et cetera, et al out of the house. Now that we're past that. And to give due credit to Terry Pratchett, let's me also say: When asked, a common, no-nonsense person, answered 'The Fire' and a policeman answered 'Hmmm... who started the fire.' There, have I covered all the possibilities? Good.

Oh wait, I was supposed to answer.

Okay, it's a short list. First and foremost: my hat. Stange answer, I know, but I would. It's easily in the top 5 favored possessions I own. I had a black fedora in High School (which my brother ruthlessly destroyed when he 'borrowed' it one night), and I always blanned on replacing it. The more I learned/grew/read, however, the more I began to veer away from black or white, and began to pine more for a GREY fedora (due thanks to Tolkien's Gandalf the Grey for the reasons). Then, out shopping at some discount store with M and her mom in Dallas, I saw one, lonely, grey fedora on a rack of hats. I went over and noticed, as I approached, that it was actually only MOSTLY grey, but had small strands of black, white, and even red, blue, and green woven into the fabric. They were just so minute and so well blended that, at less than microscopic range, the hat looked grey. And it even fit. So I walked out with my fedora. Since, it's become my "Sit in the cool evenings and listen to Jazz" hat, my "Bundle up against the cold" hat, my "Lounge on a Bar Stool singing Blues" hat, and even my "Bogart Halloween Costume" hat. I love my hat.
Second, would be my copy of "Peter the Great," by Robert Massey. In fact, I think it was by thinking of that book tonight that I thought about doing a fire thingie here. I would definitely take that book. First off, it's a BLOODY great book. Period. Second off, Jamie gave me this copy when he moved. Yahyah, Jamie gave me ALOT when he moved, but most of it was odds and ends that he didn't want to take back to Malaysia with him. This was something he had set aside especially for me. It was a library copy he had picked up second-hand when I encouraged him to read it, and it had years of were, and a few of Jamie's own notes in the margins. And, for now atleast, it still smells like Jamie's place; the sharp-sweet scent of Malaysian spices and cooking. It's fading, but I can still just make it out when I'm reading, and it reminds me of dozens of conversations, argued and debated ad nauseum and sometimes even ad absurdum, where we would debate government and politics and policy, quoting everyone from Plato to Lao Tzu to Nietze to Sun Tzu to Machiavelli to Churchill to Mao to Kissinger and back down the ladder again. Or just times spent, doing nothing. It's a kind of double purpose book like that.

Honestly, after those two, I think I'd just make my escape. I mean, I'd miss the computers if they burned, but their not in much better condition NOW. And I think, even if they burned, considering what I've pulled them from so far, I might STILL be able to salvage them. And everything else is pretty well replacable. But, I guarantee you, as people ran around the apartment complex shouting and putting out the flames, I would atleast be resting against a nearby tree, brim of my hat pulled low over my eyes, re-reading Jamie's notes on the Battle of Narva and mentally preparing my defenses.



October 2001

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