‘What’s your favorite?’ A very common conversation starter but one of the worst. It is so penned in and put on the spot, it makes me anxious. I have likes, even great likes, but a favorite – never! Yes, I hate being asked What my favorite something is. Like, what’s my favorite: author, series, genre, book… you get the idea. I like a lot of things and like things at different times and for different reasons. I would have to break up my likes by genre and time of year and mood? It’s a crazy question. I feel like the favorites question is akin to asking, “do you like bananas or the rest of the world? ” Unless the category is drilled down, it’s an exercise I find unpleasant. I love and am passionate about so many things. I feel like a conversation is being monopolized when I begin to address the “favorites” questions. It seems like a social crutch used when one can’t think of more interesting topics to discuss. Really, you want to hear about my favorite song? Let me tell you about the first ten songs I love that pop into my mind…
What’s your favorite book? What’s your favorite color? Or movie? people ask me. And I usually don’t have answers. Sounds like a pretty easy question, right? “Of course, you love books so there must be one you can pick out of all. You use colors in your everyday life, how come you can’t choose your best out of them?” Well, the answer is I can’t. In time, I learned to answer whatever comes to my mind at that moment, because it’s really not fun to stare at each other while the other person is eagerly (or so I think) waiting for my answer while I rack my brain to find the perfect answer. You ask me what my favorite book is? Chances are I will tell you the recent one I read. You ask what my favorite color is? I will tell you whatever bright color I see around. Because come on, how can I choose between purple and black? Or navy green? Or blue? All are beautiful in their own way depending on what am using them on and what my mood is. I love black but that doesn’t mean I will put it on my lips. You ask me what I enjoy doing most? Well, my answer depends on my mood. But I will tell you the one you might not roll your eyes to. Let’s say what I want to do in that exact moment is go to Mars. Yes. Mars, the planet. Maybe I don’t have a good enough reason for it, maybe I’m just trying to get away from humans because I have been socially active for days and I’m feeling suffocated. And I just needed some ‘me’ time. What would your reply be? Let me guess. ‘Haha seriously though, what do you enjoy doing?’ I was obviously not taken seriously so I go to my nearest response. ‘I like listening to music’ I say. Easy, right? No eye rolling or “Pomy be serious now” replies. So, I give whatever response that does not get me into much complications.
If I think thoroughly I might be able to come up with a list of favorites (though even that is hard for me sometimes), but never just one. Ask me what my favorite book is and I’ll give you a blank look – and then I’ll try and come up with something, but I’ll really be scrambling. My favorite food? Um, Shiro? But I don’t know if that’s really my favorite food – it’s just the answer I came up with once upon a time so that I’d have something to say when someone asks me the question.
That’s why picking favorites annoy me. My answer depends on my frame of mind, time of day, etc. I remember blowing a coworker’s mind when she asked what kind of books I like to read & I told her – whatever captures my interest. If you can make quantum physics interesting to me, I’ll read your book. The coworker couldn’t understand why I didn’t like ‘just’ romances or ‘just’ mysteries or ‘just’ science fiction, etc. With all those interesting books out there, how can I choose just one or just one genre? How limiting.
My problem is that most topics have too many categories…and sub-categories. People are always asking me who my favorite singer is. Are we talking, classical, blues, R&B, funk, rock, pop, EDM? My mind has favorites in categories for music, musicians, books and movies, travel destinations and on and on, so I can never give a straight answer. I am absolutely incapable of answering this question. Like, seriously incapable.
So, I started asking myself – why can’t I come up with favorites? Is it just that I’m indecisive? Are there just so many good books, colors, movies, places out there that I can’t stand to choose only one? Well, yes. And no.
I think the real issue is that I’m kind of indecisive. I don’t have an all-time favorite anything because I tend to really love the thing in front of me right now. (Or, if the thing in front of me isn’t that great, then I’m still in love with the last thing that was.) Plus, I find that my tastes are gradually changing over time, so that thing that I was fascinated with three years ago might not make me quite as happy now, even if it was new to me. For example, I can think of lots of books that I’ve loved, but none of them stand out as The Book that I’ve loved more than all of the other books. And, if I’m being honest, even the books that I remember and absolutely loved lost their shininess over time. Except Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and የታንጉት ሚስጥር. Wait. And also, ቆንጆዎቹ and all three of Khaled Housseni’s books. Yeah, as you can see I don’t have just ONE favorite book.
So, how about you? Are you able to pinpoint favorites? If not, are your reasons the same as mine?