Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
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not new territory...

but I was thinking about it in the shower anyway. I think a lot in the shower. (It's usually the only time I'm really alone.) I suspect I may not be alone in this.

I was thinking about the different things that cause one's personality to be what it is. Of course, we can get into the nature/nurture debate, but let's not. Let's just assume that a person's personality is a combination of these two factors.

Let's focus on nurture for a bit. Of course, the environment that molds one's personality while one is young is certainly important. Things that happen to one as a child are huge and have a gigantic impact. But does the "nurture" aspect of one's personality stop, is one's personality suddenly set for life, when they hit 18? Well, of course not.

I was thinking about how the different people we surround ourselves with impact our personalities, especially our significant others. For example, in many ways I am the same person I was when I met Rice; however, at the same time, I am certainly different. Key aspects of my personality have changed since being with him. I have evolved, as has he, and we have influenced each other.

If Rice had ended up with someone else, certainly his life would be different. (The movie The Family Man with Nicholas Cage is one example of how this can happen.) But what about his personality? Would little quirks, habits, "paradigms", beliefs, sayings, humor, taste in books and other such things be different? (This, too, has been explored to a certain extent -- see Alan Brennert's Time and Chance, which is amazingly similar to the previously mentioned movie, but came first and is, IMO, better.) Yes, I believe such things would be different.

For example, when I first met Rice, he didn't like Mexican food. My friends and I would say, "Hey, we're going for Mexican? Want to come?" And he'd say something along the lines of, "Absolutely not." About a year later I could say, "Want some Mexican?" and he'd say, "Yes." And there's other things about his personality that are different than when we first met and when we first started dating. At the same time, there are aspects of my personality that are different in terms of how I see things, react, and behave than before Rice and I started spending time together. The things that have been influenced aren't just taste in food or music, but deeper aspects of personality.

Of course, in this entry, this all comes down to character. For example, Jack is married to a very serious woman who is partial to foreign films, the opera, and brie with Granny Smith apples. (We're going to be simplistic. No round characters here.) How does this impact Jack's personality? Does he rebel? Is he serious, too, with tastes that tend to converge with his wife's? (You know what they say about married people starting to resemble one another. At the same time, people are still usually their individual selves with their own traits and tastes...) But what if Jack marries that silly girl he knew in college who likes to watch old screwball comedies, eats Kraft macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, and ice cream out of the carton? How does this impact Jack's personality? Again, does he rebel because he truly is serious and does prefer opera to the old movies, or does he converge?

Again, part of how Jack behaves will depend on his preexisting personality (a product of nature and nurture) as well as the personality of his wife.

I know so many of you have already thought it through, thought about these sorts of things years ago, but I only really started doing this. I appreciate you bearing with me :).

Incidentally, I know someone who becomes the same as whoever she's dating. Pothead? She becomes one, too. English geek? Yup. Health nut? Right there. Computer nerd? She writes love notes in Visual Basic (heaven help her), while at the same time abandoning her previous pothead, English geek, health nut status, unless of course the current person has these other qualities. Interesting thing that.

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