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What are the top items on your anti-bucket list — those things you never, ever want to do, places you never want to visit, books you never want to read, etc.?

Oh, there are a lot of things, but I tend to think of what I do want, rather than what I don’t. Why think of unpleasant things?

I never want to sky dive, ski, go down a zip wire, bungee jump, or ride roller coasters — or anything other than the most sedate rides.

Never will a snail enter my mouth, nor sushi (I’ve tried it), nor frogs legs. I’ve tried horse meat, caviar (not a luxury for me), octopus, okra, and other things that are okay, but I wouldn’t miss them if I never ate them again. I’m also not a fan of olives, but tried tapenade recently, and it was pretty good.

I have no desire to sleep out under the stars — really rough it. I don’t even want to sleep in an upscale tent. I guess I’m just not that much of a outdoors person. (I would consider a cabin with a door on it.) I imagine snakes, bears, creepy-crawlies, wild cats, and other things waiting to get me. I remember one time my daughter went camping with her husband’s family when she was about 8 months pregnant. Somehow her dear spouse hooked up an air-conditioning unit to the tent so she could be comfortable. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I have no desire to visit Russia, the Ukraine, China, and most parts of Africa. I am unable to picture Russia in anything but black and white — strange, but I think that’s because I believe I would find it depressing. I’m pretty unsure about several of the Asian countries, but had a friend who spent a month or so in Viet Nam and was quite amazed by its visual richness. I’m pretty Europe-oriented — it’s part of my culture and history. Even if I can’t speak the language, it fits into my knowledge of the world — my world.

Africa just plain scares me. I know there are a few parts that are tourist friendly, and parts that are incredibly beautiful. But the culture is so different and there’s just too much political unrest and lawlessness that I would feel uncomfortable. If I went to places that are too “foreign”, I would go with a organized tour group.

I will not watch films that are too “evil”. For instance I saw Silence of the Lambs, and felt really creeped-out afterwards. There are some films that just elicit feelings or an aura of evil that I don’t care to know about — The Poltergeist, for example. When I was in my early twenties, Straw Dogs was a big hit, but I (and other people) felt it went too far in its violence and the way it changed the main characters. I think it’s important to surround myself with things that are positive, enlightening, or appropriately entertaining.

My biggest fear (though unreasonable) is going to prison. I don’t know why; perhaps it’s because of the people I’d be compelled to live with. The lack of ability to leave when I want to is scary, and having no freedom to do what I enjoy.

I’m pretty open to new experiences and hope to have many more before I get too old to travel — that will deprive me of something I love.