You can do so many things in twenty seconds. You can tie both of your shoe laces, you can cut open an avocado, you can sprinkle cilantro on said avocado — you can chop the cilantro so that when you’re ready to sprinkle, you can do it in 20 seconds. You can buy a pair of sunglasses in the middle of a Wifi-optimized desert provided the eyewear merchant uses Square. You can renounce your relationship with your mother — I don’t want you to do that but I’m just saying that you can — and in a particularly good exercise to get to know new people in a social setting, you can request that all the bodies among you describe themselves in 20 seconds.
Of course, you must lead by example and first describe yourself.
So, suppose you know nothing about me, right? This site doesn’t exist, you haven’t yet learned about my propensity for using the word propensity or the contents of my snack drawer. I don’t have a name, or siblings, a job, or interests that you are privy to. I’m just standing in front of you, likely wearing ripped high rise jeans and something white and cotton. There are probably bracelets on my wrist and depending on the time of day, while you won’t find makeup above nose level, you might find red lipstick permeating my smile. And here’s what I’m going to tell you: I’m 25 years old, I’ve been married for two years and I still sleep with the blanket (blankey) that I was wrapped in when I left the hospital as an infant.
I actually timed how long it took me to say that — 6 seconds. That means I have 12 to spare but I don’t care to use those seconds because I said everything that I believe you need to know to be reeled into my paltry inner-circle. And here’s the thing: while you’ll be able to draw a silhouette of who you think I am given the fact that now you know I am married, I am in my twenties and I love my blankey, more important than what I actually said is why I said it and perhaps too what I didn’t say.
So figure this.
I’m from New York, I really like clothes and good books but I didn’t tell you those things. They don’t seem integral to who I am — just what I’ve become.
What you do know is that I got married when I was 23. This should mean that I am either devastatingly stupid or spectacularly self-assured. I’m now 25 and still married and depending on whether you detected the notes of enthusiasm in my voice, you know that I am happy to be married. So let’s assume I’m at least somewhat self-assured — aware of who I am. Now, of all the things I could say, I wanted to tell you that I still sleep with a blankey. Is this because I want you to know that I have hugely problematic attachment issues? Because I want you to think I had a delightful childhood and as a result refuse to let go of a talisman that represents it? Is it a nod to my inner-juvenility or exactly the opposite: a resolution that one day I will be a mother who can wrap her child in this blanket?
Well, that settles it. Now you know everything about me. Return the favor, mark your stop watch and answer me this: who are you (in 20 seconds or less)?