Can’t hide his displeasure at hearing lite-instrumental renditions of songs he likes. Just the other day, he was sharing an elevator with four other people, all strangers to him, when his ears were assaulted by the Muzak version of his third-favorite song of all time, Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.” He shook his head, groaned, then closed his eyes and said out loud, “What a crappy, crappy world we live in.”
Keeps her fingernails trimmed short, except the one on the middle finger of her left hand. She lets that one grow extremely long and sharp and paints garish colors and wacky patterns on it. Most of the time she thinks of it as her “fun fingernail.” When she gets mad enough to flip someone off, though, it becomes her “fuck-you fingernail.” Leanne often tells the story of how her “fighting fingernail” gave her the edge in her one and only no-holds-barred physical altercation. She was at the movies. A woman behind her was talking loudly. Leanne turned around to ask her to shut up, and the woman kicked the back of her seat. Out came the fighting fingernail.
Spends as much time nude as he can. He’s limited in this pursuit by the dress code at his nine-to-five office job, where he’s required to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, even on Fridays. Add to that a forty-five-minute clothed commute on either end of each workday and a roommate who said, “Put some fucking clothes on” the first time he walked in on Jonathan sitting nude on the couch, watching TV, and then, the second time, “If I see your naked body again, I’m kicking you the fuck out of the apartment.” Jonathan has a recurring dream in which he wakes up one morning nude, as per usual, but then after showering he remains nude and goes to work that way. All the other people he encounters in the dream – pedestrians on the street, commuters on the subway, his co-workers, the waiters and other patrons at the restaurant where he eats lunch – are inspired by his nudity to take off their own clothes. Dream Jonathan navigates his way home amid the nude multitudes to find his roommate sitting on the couch, stubbornly clothed, saying, “That’s it — pack up your stuff and get the hell out of here.”
Makes a killer Baked Alaska, gets teary-eyed when she hears the song “California Dreamin’” and has seen the movie “Raising Arizona” twelve times. She once did an oral report on the Louisiana Purchase as a schoolchild and is currently the only nine-toed anthropologist residing in Ohio. Georgia got angry at her boyfriend Dan when he decided that road-tripping to the Kentucky Derby with a bunch of his friends was more important than accompanying her to Rhode Island for her uncle’s funeral, but she forgave him the following week when he bought her a boxed set of the best episodes of Hawaii Five-O on VHS.
Becomes agitated if he senses that new acquaintances don’t realize how smart he is; feels particularly uncomfortable around people who don’t seem appropriately impressed that he went to Harvard. He generally assumes that everyone he meets is of inferior intelligence, unless he happens to know that they also graduated from an Ivy League university, but even then he almost always gives himself the benefit of the doubt, especially if they attended Cornell or Brown, which he considers the Ivies’ bastard stepchildren. He typically mentions his SAT score (1520) in casual conversation three or four times a week. Anytime a person tells him something he already knows as though they think it’s new to him, he becomes so unnerved that he blurts out “I know that,” or “I already knew that,” then bites his lip as he fights the impulse to strike the person in the face.
Doesn’t understand why so many people her age are into the Harry Potter books. Fully mature adults, presumably capable of comprehending and enjoying works by authors who write for adults, reading children’s books. It just doesn’t make sense to her. She would be embarrassed if anyone saw her reading a kids’ book in public, or in private for that matter. She recently quit her book discussion group, the one she co-founded, after the other members voted unanimously in favor of reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” thereby rejecting her suggestion, “The Human Stain” by Philip Roth.
Obsessively perturbed by the idea that virtually all of the people who read her online celebrity-gossip column must think her name is pronounced like the country. It’s actually pronounced Shee-na. She wishes she could include a small item in her column cluing her readers in to the correct pronunciation, but she’s pretty sure her editor would strike it, because whatever limited degree of celebrity she’s attained so far is not significant enough to make her worthy of a mention in her own column.
Looks down almost all the time. He could talk for hours on end about floor coverings, the grooves in escalator steps, and various types of footwear, if anyone cared to listen. When walking along the streets of the city where he lives, he studies all the black blobs of filth-covered gum stuck to the sidewalks, trying, mostly in vain, to find interesting ones whose shapes remind him of farm animals or household appliances or the maps of countries he’s memorized from the world atlas he keeps under his bed. He often bumps into other people, but he rarely trips and never stumbles.
Ever jovial, his friends in Jacksonville, where he’s lived all his life, know him to be an accomplished practical jokester. His former girlfriend Janine finally jilted him last July after unjustly jerking him around for years. If the Jaguars, his hometown NFL team, ever come back from a huge fourth-quarter deficit to tie the New York Jets (or, as Jeremy likes to call them, the New Jersey Jagoffs) and then beat them in overtime, he will probably jump for joy, pump his fist in the air and yell loudly. His personal-best javelin throw in high school was just shy of a county record, a feat that earned him recognition in the yearbook as one of the “Jocks of the Year.”
Hates many things: the barking of her next-door neighbor’s dog, pine-scented candles, fantasy-oriented video games and the people who play them, guys named Guy, instant mashed potatoes, TV commercials for embarrassing products like yeast-infection remedies and jock-itch cream, the color yellow, Alex Trebek’s moustache, kids on crutches who get in her way when she’s in a hurry, free-verse poetry, Alex Trebek, the expression “it’s all good” and the people who use it, the German language, and all types of lunchmeats. She didn’t hate the ficus tree her parents gave her for an apartment-warming gift, but she never took the time to care for it properly, and now it’s dead.