It's taken me a little while to write this post. My dear dear aunt, Annou, passed away. A few facts about Annou:
- She was profoundly unique. That's not a cliché. The world has never before nor ever again will see another Annou.
- She had a PhD in philosophy and taught logic.
- She was the most illogical person I’ve ever known.1
- In her later life, she couldn't hear a damn thing. For her birthday, we got her one of those little handheld whiteboards and some markers (not the most sentimental gift, but it proved extremely useful in the next couple of months, scribbling messages back and forth).
- She lived independently until almost the very end.
- Her house was truly southern gothic (and a touch Faulknerian).
- She was the first person I knew to get an iPhone.
- She was the first person I knew to get a Prius.
- She introduced me to the works of Hiroshige.
- She, like me, was a total Japan-o-phile.
- She loved her Mac products.
- She didn't really know how to use her Mac products. Well, she actually could work them fine for many purposes, but she often got jumbled. She was convinced she had an electronics poltergeist in her house.
- She drank Beefeaters martinis on the rocks with olives, and she always gave the gin-soaked olives to the girls.
- She would sometimes demand that you write a haiku, right there on the spot.
- She was one of the last of the old French Creoles.
- She remained, in some way, eternally young.
1 We had countless good-natured arguments about various topics,a often philosophical, but ranging broadly. When I was about twelve, we got in an argument about rock stars and pheromones. She said she believed that rock stars were popular, because when they played concerts, they released a lot of pheromones. I countered that this was obviously false: most fans never actually have close physical proximity to their adored rock stars. Photos and film are all they ever experience. No pheromones whatsoever. She didn’t accept my reasoning.b
a Sometimes I legitimately disagreed with her. Other times she simply set me up as her straw man opponent and lectured me at length (mock-seriously) on some point that I actually completely agreed with. When I was young, we argued verbally. Later in life, when she couldn’t hear, we sometimes argued by email. We volleyed forty-plus emails regarding Dedekind. (I was right. She was totally wrong. Arguing that before any given point, there must be a single last preceding point? Absurd!)
b Much later, when I was a young adult, on one of her free-associative diatribes, she proclaimed that pheromones couldn’t possibly cause the popularity of rock stars because most fans never come close to their idols. I totally busted her on her unwitting flip-flop.