Interview with Jason Kottke • Professional Blogger

SM: How do you usually act when you find yourself speaking to a representative of your local law enforcement?

JK: I’ve never been a “fuck the police” type of person, so I treat cops just like I would anyone else, with interest and politeness. They’ve got a challenging job to do and I’m not into messing around with someone on the job or giving someone a hard time just because of their profession. Of course, as a clean-cut white male with the face of an angel (at least that’s what my mom says), I’m not much of a target for any potential police unfairness. Maybe if I were black and got stopped on the freeway all the time for doing nothing but the speed limit, I’d feel differently.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself in trouble in a location far from your home?

JK: My then-girlfriend and I visited her mom in Paris a few years ago. On the morning we’re set to leave, her mom heads to the airport early to pick up her dad and we’re supposed to meet them there to say hello/goodbye quickly before we board the plane. As we go to leave the 5th floor apartment, we find the door locked and unable to be opened from the inside, keys or not. No fire escape and our flight leaves in 3 hours and we still need to get to the airport.

After cursing in English and trying to ascertain the number for information at Charles de Gaulle with our poor French, we decided to yell down to the street for help. My first “excuse moi, monsieur” fell on deaf ears, but I finally managed to flag down an American couple…thank god they spoke English. After verifying several times that the building does not in fact have an elevator that goes up to our fifth floor location, the guy agrees to help. We wrapped the keys up in a washcloth, tossed them down to him, and a few moments later we heard him jiggling the keys on the other side of the door. I’m not sure being stranded in Paris for an additional day qualifies as being in trouble, but we sure were glad to see that guy when the door opened.

SM: Do you dance well? Please describe your style.

JK: I’ve been known to dance well, but not in any style that has a name. I go where the music leads.

SM: When was the last time you took a risk that surprised you?

JK: Just the other day in fact…an attempt to repair a relationship that means a lot to me. It seems to be working out well so far, which I never would have expected.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

JK: Oh no, I regale poorly. In lieu of that, I’ll relate something that happened recently. I bought a new pair of pants with shorter front pockets than I’m used to. Upon wearing them for the first time, my only pair of house keys slipped from my pocket into the back seat of a taxi, something that would never have happened with my typical deep-pocketed pants. Being paranoid about the shallow pockets thing, I checked for my possessions upon exiting the cab and noticed my keys were missing just as the driver was pulling away. Mustering my high school track skills, I sprinted after him, catching him halfway down the next block in the — lucky for me — slowly moving traffic. The next day, I went to the hardware store and got an extra set of keys made. (This is the point at which everyone at the cocktail party excuses themselves from my presence.)

SM: If we lightened considerably gravity’s pull on you for one day, how would you spend it?

JK: I used to spend hours in high school emulating the dunks of Jordan, Wilkins, Dr. J, and Shaq on the 8 and 1/2 foot hoop in my parents’ driveway. In college, I was never in good enough shape to dunk anything but a volleyball (once) on a regulation hoop. If Newton let up for a day, I’d probably spend a big chunk of it dunking the shit out of a basketball on a 10-foot rim. That and flying like Superman everywhere.

SM: When you are listening closely to the world around you, what are you listening for?

JK: Relationships between things you wouldn’t necessarily think would be related. I tend to agree with James Burke in believing that everything tends to be connected, and I enjoying discovering non-obvious connections.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself preparing for a fight?

JK: I tend to avoid fights, so I guess you could say I’m always preparing for a fight so that I don’t have to (if that sounds like Mr. Miyagi talking, I’ll admit I watched the Karate Kid more than a few times when I was a kid). The last time I physically fought someone was in the 4th grade. This 3rd grader named James Claussen was picking on me (he was my age and bigger despite being a grade below me) and I got so mad that I kicked him square in the balls, at which point the “fight” ended.
I’ve never seen another person cry so much, but I’ve never regretted inflicting that level of pain on him…James was one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever known.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

JK: Inspired by my new neighborhood:

peninsula, frozen
graffiti on warehouses
cobblestones untouched

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