Cartouche's Blog

Writing My Way Out of Something


Someplace, somewhere else, USA
February 09
Mind My Own Business
Artist, former newspaper columnist and restaurant critic. Award-winning author of "In Pursuit of Excellence". In my spare minute I can be found blogging here, on Huffington Post and other places that don't pay and (more often) writing for some places that do. Occasionally I tweet random thoughts and observations as @nonconfromist. I keep the really good ones to myself.


JANUARY 25, 2011 10:26PM

Flaw(s) and Order (for Ann Nichols)

Rate: 40 Flag

In no particular.

I forget more easily than I forgive.  If I remember, it's because it hurts.  If I've forgotten, it wasn't important. Enough.  To him or her.  Pain is an equal opportunist.

I’m methodical to a fault.  I often see the end result and map it out as I go along without having a clue to the rhyme and reason of how I am going to get there.  But I know my destination and that there is a method to my madness that will always work out in the end.  Even if it’s at my own expense.  This makes people crazy. 

I like that.

Ambient noise disturbs me.  A lot.  I live for peace and quiet and silence in my living and work environment.  The wind or the sound of someone breathing can make my skin crawl.  Someone whistling in a grocery store (or anywhere else for that matter) will make me consider Hari-Kari.  My next-door neighbors should have learned by now that my stereo system can out trump theirs by decibels. 

Please don’t make me prove it again. 

I have an Asperger’s sense of taste and smell and sound, too.  (Read above).  If you gave me a 200-gallon vat of soup with 1/9 of an ounce of goat cheese in it, I would discern the goat cheese.  And gag.  I despise goat cheese.

I’m extremely compartmentalized and very private.  The thought of being owned (even to the extent of someone knowing where I am and what I’m doing every minute of the day) makes my skin crawl.  I like my freedom.  I need my freedom.  I may say that I’ll be out or away just to buy myself some more alone time. 

I own stock in it.

Like Joan H., bad hygiene is a huge turnoff for me.  I look at teeth, nails and grooming.  Very closely.  And habits.  If I catch it once and it makes my hair stand on end, I look for it again.  I anticipate it.  If I see it (or worse, smell it) it becomes a deal breaker (in terms of a relationship). 

I get my teeth cleaned four times a year and don’t trust people who don’t floss.  Or drink coffee.

I will not drink Starbucks unless it is the only choice. 

I feel the experience of life deeply and value justice more than just about everything else.  I swallow much and spew little.  I think that’s why I am an artist and writer.  Both creative outlets serve as conduits to express what I’m feeling without necessitating confrontation.  I like peace.  My own, and everyone else’s. But not at someone else’s judicial expense.  Even my lawyer friends are scared of me when I get outraged. 

And they should be.

I’m a germaphobe.  Not quite as bad as Jerry Seinfeld or the guy who hosts the game show with the briefcases full of money (what’s his name again?), but I’m pretty anal retentive.  I can identify the next person who will give me a cold as the germs enter my airspace.

I remember almost everything.  This is not always good. 

Especially for the person who gives me my next cold.

I do not trust easily but am easily taken for a fool and willing to go out on a limb when and where others are not. I think of myself as compassionate and want to believe what people tell me.  Until I find out otherwise. 

I’ve learned the hard way.

I’m still learning.

I will likely be a student forever. 

I’m a fool for romance and love.  I have discovered with time, that these two things are generally not mutually exclusive.  That they are often not found in the same room has been disappointing. 

Thank God I can still check in somewhere else.

I wipe down everything in a hotel. Including my own past.

I’m obsessed with stray hair.  Especially if it is on my body and in particular, on my face.  Yikes!  I am on very good terms with my tweezers.

I rarely if ever, watch TV.

I conduct my life and live it by a set of rules that can be maddening for others.  They conform to few “normal” standards. In certain situations, the rules may change so that I can achieve a desired outcome for the benefit of somebody else, but not for myself. 

Nobody screws someone I care about. 

If only I could apply that strength and fortitude internally, I would learn to take better care of me.  Maybe, so would everyone else.

But I doubt it.  

I trust few people.

I'm as flawed as they come. 

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I don't trust the non-coffee drinkers either...but I am trying to be more accepting.
I get my teeth cleaned only twice a year, but I do drink coffee. Oh, too many similarities to mention. Should I be worried?:)
I'm not convinced that many of these things are actually flaws. I don't like stinky people either. Their stinkiness is the flaw in my book!
I forgot to mention I love your title:) Such a clever girl you are...never failing to make me think and smile.
Like Sweetfeet, I see a lot of these as strengths and not flaws. Being a fool for love and romance and being loyal to friends and outraged at injustices are all qualities I see as commendable.
hmmmm... confess to loving Starbucks.
Cartouche, you are a strong and gloriously human woman...I admire you...xox
Great list but not all flawed. Starbucks should be called 4bucks. -R-
Flawed as we all are. And more candid too. Written with your usual grace and elegance but I'm sure you're too hard on yourself. The above portrait depicts someone impossible to be around. But from your wide circle of friends, that can't be. Maybe it's just reading a one-sided account. Perhaps an Immortal Virtues OC is needed as a counterweight.
You are just about opposite of me but I don't trust anyone either so maybe that brings us together.
Great post. Funny and honest.
I can relate to the ambient noise, and Asperger's sense of smells...why can't others smell that intensely sharp smell? You'd not trust me though, coffee is one of those things for me... *shudder*
I envy some of your flaws.
I relate to ninety per cent of these flaws/qualities but could never express them so well.

Great title and words.
Actually, I see none of these as flaws. We have much in common. And the smelling bad flaw? I take it back. It's a flaw. Theirs. ~r
Are you sure we're not related? Bits of this were eerily familiar...
Sorry. I like goat cheese. (Had some for lunch just yesterday--but you probably could smell it in my comment . . . )

Clearly your first revelation ("I forget more easily than I forgive") is true, because later on, you say "I remember almost everything." (Don't think I wasn't paying attention!)

You are a formidable, strong person protective of yourself and your needs, impatient with BS, and ready to help the downtrodden. You remind me a lot of my brother. Except he wasn't so big on hygiene.
You are a piece of work, Patricia. I know that's a horrible cliche, but I never say it (or type it) with a Virginia accent and I use it only for people who impress (and frighten) me so distinctly I can think of no other expression at the particular moment I feel the need to express something. Prickly, elegant, forbidding, hypnotizing piece of work.
This was absolutely fascinating. I'm with you totally on the ambient noise and the super tasting/smelling (although I like goat cheese) and I consider none of that to be "flaw." I consider it "sensitive and discerning." I forgive but never forget. Which is worse, I wonder? Thank you for doing this on a day when you had already written; it makes me so happy that you did.
"Nobody screws someone I care about. /If only I could apply that strength and fortitude internally, I would learn to take better care of me. Maybe, so would everyone else." Thank you for that. Great and insightful list. R.
You don't like people who breathe? Out of all the flaws I've read about from everyone, this one beats them all. I guess people look pretty funny holding there breath around you!
I think it's good we are only virtual friends -- judging from this self-revelation, I'm pretty sure I'd annoy the hell out of you in real life -- and , I know you'd annoy the hell out of me.
I like your honesty and complete understanding of yourself. You sound like a great friend to have in times of need. Your flaws could also be termed strengths.
I don't see anything wrong here. These "flaws" make for one cool patootie. BTW, also have teeth cleaned 4 times a years, to maintain the root planing I endured several years back, a hideous procedure I never wish to repeat, so spend twenty minutes before bed with electric toothbrush, floss, gum stimulator. Hawt, huh?
Are you my twin?
"Nobody screws someone I care about." this does not sound like a flaw to me.r
i'm wondering about this thing that you and joan have about these smelly people. maybe it's that i just don't hang around places where people (except ones i snuggle up to) are that close to me. or maybe everyone in CA is into exercising and showering. but then i do remember that i fired someone (there's no nicer way to say that) once because i couldn't stand the way she smelled, so there *is* that.
"I will not drink Starbucks unless it is the only choice."

Yay, you. Ditto Tim Hortons.
"I wipe down everything in a hotel. Including my own past."

This was the best I've read recently!
Well-written and thoughtful as always, cartouche, but there's one major problem with this post: except for one or two, these are not flaws.
We all have flaws but not all of us have awareness, a true attribute. And another of your many attributes is honesty. (Now about the smoking, missy ....)
I like this list. You don't scare me but you are formidable, that's for sure.

My favorite on this list is something I don't consider a flaw: "you don't screw with the people I care about. For me, especially people and animals in need of protecting. I nearly had a duke out (and mind you I am at Social Security age) with a young mother who was allowing her 10 year old bruiser to abuse and torment his baby brother outside a diner we were leaving. Fortunately my husband pulled up in the car and she ran off to her car before I could call the police. I DESPISE that she did not protect her baby and in fact tried to intimidate me. HA!

I promise if we meet, I'll bathe. :)

PS. I'll drink any coffee but not stale or bad coffee. EVER. I'd rather have tea and I'm dead serious on that one.
(with clean teeth)
More peace and quiet--I for the rest, you might be outside the bell curve, but that's always a good thing. must the twin my parents neglected to bring home (they were neglectful).

As such, I would refer to these as "personality traits" and "marks of character" rather than flaws, but then, I'm the twin that got the snobbish gene. :)
One woman's flaws are another person's aspirations. You are fabulous, my dear.

I'm struggling to find the flaws! All of this seems reasonable to me, I think....
Excellent. We must dine together. I get dibs on your goat cheese and pumpkin pie.
I've seen you try to make sense of people who have hurt you -- that is forgiveness.
I totally agree with you on the smell effect -- smell is my dominant sense, too.
Um..Howie Mandell?
I could relate to a number of these..MOST especially the lying about being out or away just to avoid having to leave my house. I have been known to tell several people that I have plans for Thanksgiving or Christmas--just so everyone would think I was somewhere else. And I HATE it when people ask me where I'm going--or what I plan to do on any given day. I have no idea why. It's a harmless question. But my hackles rise.
i have an aunt who shares a number of traits with you. she's a joy when she's up but hell when she's down. she was gorgeous, sexy, adventurous, cultural, and smart. I used to have to protect my mother from her when she came over for "cleanliness inspections." she never really listened to anything anybody ever suggested to her, and insisted on doing it all herself her way, but was willing to pay the price for it by being totally self-supporting.

The idea of "getting help" was anathema to her no matter how difficult the situation she was in. she loved animals more than humans. life was and is a battle of wills conducted on Mt. Olympus where only the strong survive.

when she finally married a wealthy guy who supposedly fit all her criteria (wonderful teeth, perfectly groomed) they fought like hell, burning a path of scorched earth through half of Florida. she's over 80ty now and very lonely. I find it too sad to speak with her often. I have my own tales of woe. We call her Aunt BoBo and nobody fucks with her.
I would use the "I'm out" or "I'm away" thing but I don't drive so it would be like ... Out? In the front yard? On the roof? I love the thought of it though.
I'm a nurse that has infection control issues (Most nurses have these issues). I have been known to hand people washcloths and soap and say as courteously as I can... I love you but you stink. :^)
Wow you one interesting fortune cookie my Dear. Thats probably what makes your art to cross interpretable.I have to think about that reading I gave you....naw to time consuming trying to find it I guess.
I to have the ability to forget mishaps easily and I cherish this fact because I can be too ponderous at times....Like Cartouche has not posted on My Pistachio movies...maybe she saw one and thought they are too lame.... Like Seinfeld you just like clean and order but chaos keep the boiling soup filled with unexpected things.
I haven't said this to anyone else -- you're flawed. Beautifully so.
"Nobody screws someone I care about."
That tells me all I need to know. The rest is small potatoes.
"I forget more easily than I forgive ... I remember almost everything". eek!