My E.M. Crumpler Interview

Elizabeth M. Crumpler—a 25-year-old, Sarah Palin-lovin-republican, who recently lost two-stone and got married; and is a conservative-christian resident of Oklahoma, who owns a Scoodle—is my interviewee.  Neil from Citizen of the Month wrote this about his Great Interview Experiment: "...In my mind, I visualize a permanent interview site where ... a liberal would interview a conservative, and a religious fundamentalist would interview a feminist lesbian.   It wouldn’t matter if you liked or agreed with other person.  We would still be neighbors, in a Mister Rogers sense."  I think he was envisioning this:

Me:  When Oklahoma City is mentioned, most (of the citizens of the world) recall the Oklahoma City Bombing in April of 1995. You were 10½ years old at the time. Please describe your memories surrounding the incident, and how growing up with an act of hatred of this magnitude, on your doorstep, caused you to be the adult you are today.

EMC:  Some people say that they could hear the sound 50 miles away. I don't remember that clearly, but it's possible.

I was in Mrs. Keller's 4th grade class and sometime in the middle of the morning I do remember the tone changing. The administration had made the decision not to reveal what had happened to the elementary school children and to let our parents handle it when we got home.

My parents picked me and my 2 younger brothers up from school that day. Both of them, in Dad's work vehicle. I knew there was something wrong. On the way home, they explained that something very bad had happened in Oklahoma City and that a lot of people had died. At the time, our local evening news had a "family-friendly" broadcast at 5pm. It was the one we watched generally. Whenever the theme music played that evening and the anchors began speaking, the first thing they said was, "Tonight's broadcast will not be our regular family-friendly show. Please be advised that there will be a number of graphic images shown tonight." That stuck with me. They never had another "family-friendly" newscast.

I cannot say how it changed the adult I would become. Probably the same as those who were children or not yet born on 9/11. It just is. As a child at that time, my world was still faerie tales, tree-houses, and the books I had my nose stuck in. Living in the country, OKC was a different world. I think if I had lived in The City (as we call it here), The Bombing might have left lingering scars on me. The truth is that I'd experienced tragedy much closer to home just 2 years before, when a family member was murdered. I carry those scars. That changed me. Turned a mama's girl into a whimpering, crying mess because I was scared that if I left my home I would return to find her my family member that had been killed. I think I owe it to my parents that I made it past The Bombing without further damage. They were proactive in explaining things and taking us to the site before the implosion. Letting us see that it was real. Sometimes the things that you can see and touch are so much less frightening than the image you may create in your mind.

Me:  The decade’s end is fast approaching. I’d like your list of the ten best films made in the last ten years.

EMC:  This is very difficult for me. I don't watch a lot of new things. In no particular order:
Me:  You bought a new novel by an author you have never read before. You are on page 50 and firmly decide you absolutely do not enjoy the way this author writes. What do you do? If you decide to finish the remaining 250 pages, why? If you decide to stop reading, why? If there are variables (you may finish one author, but stop reading another) please explain the differences.

EMC:  If I feel I've been misled, then, yes, I'll toss the book. I think I may have done this once in the past. I have a very awful problem though. No matter how hard I try I can not seem to give up a book. If I am 50 pages in, I'm going to stick it out until the end.

Me:  I think 21 DEC 2012, will be a day no different than today (well, maybe colder). But what do you tell a fanatic who seems to continually bemoan the “pending apocalypse” and steers your every routine conversation in the direction of what the end of the world means to them and how it should be taken more seriously by you (assume this person is related to you close enough that stopping all communications is not an option)?

EMC:  Funny, I dealt with a situation not unlike this for about a year. I had a deskmate and she was a blathering idiot. Her obsessions varied from week to week, but I have no doubt that if we were still working together this would be making its way into conversation.

In a situation like this I ask for facts. What do you have to back up what you're telling me? I ask questions to try and understand where they are coming from and why they believe this. If there is no concrete basis for your worry, tell me why you believe it is real? Is there any way that this event can be stopped? Do you believe we should even try.

It may be boring, but I would probably let it go. Having dealt with the ramblings of the insane for lengthy periods, I've become adept at sitting back, taking a deep breath, and going to my happy place.

Me:  I’m an artist. Please look at some of my renderings, select one and explain any-and-all emotions, thoughts, or feelings it engenders—no matter good, bad, or ugly—I’m very interested in your opinion.

EMC:  Finate — Acceptance, newness, life, calm, embrace, welcoming, peace, nostalgia, need.

Me:  You and I share something in common: we are both the oldest of three. Tell me about how that biological-timing-fact made you into someone different than if you had been the middle sibling, or the youngest of the three.

EMC:  In both of my siblings I see how my parents had to approach them differently than they did me. I was incredibly independent. My spirit was quiet and even, I was imaginative and my speech was bubbly. I feel very lucky to have been born first and even more so that I was the only female. I will be the first to say that it earned me some preferential treatment in certain cases.

The bad thing was: I was the oldest and the only girl. I know, I just said I thought I was lucky. But there is something that comes with being the oldest. You are the first. They don't want to mess up. I felt like a guinea pig. Their default answer to anything I wanted to do was, "NO." Better safe than sorry, right? Being the only girl made it worse. I lived in a house full of men, outside of my mom, and there was this intense need to protect me. In some ways I appreciate it, but there are a lot of things I would have liked to do.

Being the oldest prepared me for life alone. My autonomy helped me make it through college at times when I thought I would just give it up. I always knew what I wanted, had established goals, and worked to achieve them on my own. However, it also instilled in me a need to be "the best" and constantly try to please others. Whenever someone seems just the least bit upset or unpleased with me, I freak out and try to fix it.

I think Nabokov may have had the right approach to interviews. He would only agree to write down the answers and then send them on to the interviewer who would then write the questions. — Stanley Kubrick


Elizabeth said...

Actually, I meant this version of il Mare:

veach st. glines said...

My bad. I've corrected the link.