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comment by ButterflyEffect
ButterflyEffect  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 17, 2017

I have seen the farms of Salinas. I have been to the coast of Monterey. To me, Steinbeck is the American novelist, and to have a greater context of his upbringing and his work is a powerful experience. This is an incredibly privileged job, I am slowly seeing the country without spending my own money...that part changes later this summer. And yet, it is a feeling of place that I am unable to attain.

Looking through things, all my adventure plans for the summer are solo plans where maybe I'll meet people on the road. Because that's one thing I've become more adept at: striking up conversation with people on the trail, at a bar, or whathaveyou. The downside is when there's work travel, I spend a lot of time eating dinner alone. Meanwhile, I haven't had a single person reach out about summer plans beyond a couple of very, very tentative camping trips. Are my relationships that strong? The running community is a regular thing, there's little "hey want to do this thing X outside of running". Sure, people like the Instagram photos, they like the social media...but the depth is lacking and has been for a while now. One of my close friends moves in 3-4 months and then I'm not left with much unless I wanted to move to Seattle or Portland, which definitely does solve the above and below problems.

There was that Pilgrim in Tinder Creek article I posted yesterday, and it raises the question of superabundance. Which I think is a great term for the challenges facing job applicants, online dating applicants, and as a potential general consequence of the digital age and increased physical mobility.




kleinbl00  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I have seen the farms of Salinas. I have been to the coast of Monterey. To me, Steinbeck is the American novelist, and to have a greater context of his upbringing and his work is a powerful experience. This is an incredibly privileged job, I am slowly seeing the country without spending my own money...that part changes later this summer. And yet, it is a feeling of place that I am unable to attain.

vs.

    In 2013 I found myself simultaneously single and on the academic job market for the first time. I was thirty, several years into graduate school and at work on a dissertation about nineteenth-century poetry and pleasure. Literary studies, my dissertation argued, was blighted at its core. It had forsaken pleasure, the very reason most people devote their lives to literature in the first placeā€”and the likes of Shelley and Hopkins were apostles of an enlightened hedonism that promised a way out.

Who would you rather date? Who would you rather hire? Who would you rather have a beer with? In the examples you list, the problem is not superabundance - the problem is that no amount of technology will ameliorate schlubbery.

Eating dinner alone is a privilege, not a burden. You become vastly more interesting to the staff and you have an experience that's all about you. When I was down in LA the first time I was a regular at five or six different restaurants. They knew my table they knew my order and when I was there with a friend or a colleague or my wife or whatever I got treated well.

One does not find a strong community. One creates it. This starts with the confidence to dine, to vacation, to dream alone.

goobster  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Eating dinner alone is a privilege, not a burden. You become vastly more interesting to the staff and you have an experience that's all about you.

When I was living in Budapest and working for a company in London, I'd spend about a week of every month living in the company flat just off Kensington High Street. Alone. (generally)

It's a rather swanky area. I was making good money. And dining alone was fun sometimes (especially at wagamama, because you are never alone at wagamama!), but after a while it got a bit lonely.

So I would walk up to random people that caught my interest, and invite them to have dinner with me, on my tab.

Actually ate with two mildly famous supermodels. A young couple from Holland. London locals, etc.

It was fun and fascinating!

someguyfromcanada  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have no compunction whatsoever about dining alone at any level of restaurant and have often ended up dining with others as well. I think it is great fun. I sat at the bar of a swanky Montreal resto once, for the 8 course tasting menu, and the staff set me up with what was essentially a dinner party with Linda Evangelista, Kyle McLachlan, former Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney and his wife.

goobster  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nice dining companions! Even Mulroney would have been interesting to talk to in that context.

someguyfromcanada  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It was interesting! And fun. Odd thing is, just like most nice strangers you dine with, we only talked about casual bullshit, they were all very nice and it was a great couple of hours.

Mostly kudos to the staff in that instance. They were tipped well that evening. After my second course at the bar they had set a table set for me and insisted they would be by to chat regularly if I wasn't busy. I thought that was an odd thing to say.

They put me at a deuce between two 6 top tables in a VIP-ish area which I also thought a bit odd.

After about a minute my next course was brought out and the waitress sat down and chatted for a few minutes then "Kyle and Linda" were seated to my left. I gave them a nod and a hi, kept eating and then got out this furniture book of stuff that I was thinking of buying. Kyle noticed and asked me about it. We chatted about that for a few minutes and then I saw former PM Brian and Mila being seated at the table to my right.

I stood up and said "Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Prime Minister." Not sure if that was kissing ass or not but he was former head of state so...

I had just came from the train station and still had my lawyer's briefcase with me but tucked under the table. As he was sitting, Mulroney must have noted it and made some joke about me probably being a labour lawyer like him. We had a chuckle about that and for some reason I turned to my left (they were already looking) and asked "have you met Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista and American super actor Kyle McLachlan? This is PM Brian Mulroney and Mrs PM Mila Mulroney." Then we just talked about who knows what. No grand design.

That is the first and only time in my life I have ever acknowledged that someone is "famous". In my experience, conversations are better when you just talk to others as they are "normal" people and not who you/they are "supposed to be".

That's also how Charles Barkley decided to buy me a few glasses of scotch! :)

Longer than expected reply. Oops.

ButterflyEffect  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

A couple nights ago I went to this amazing, super tiny vegetarian restaurant in Pacific Grove. It was probably the best Yellow Coconut curry I had. Struck up conversation with the girl who worked there and was also providing music that night, switching back and forth between the two after she spoke up to say I had a "quiet, powerful presence". About fifteen minutes later I was shot down on drinks later because she had a boyfriend. Bummer.

Still worth talking to her.

OftenBen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There was a tidder thread the other day about 'How do you make a college application stand out?' and every response broke my heart.

There is no way to 'stand out.' Your attempts to 'stand out' have been collected and codified into stereotypes. There are simply too many people.

There's always someone cooler than you.

ButterflyEffect  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

While I agree with you, being "cool" isn't at all what I'm aiming for or what I think people should aim for. That's part of my problem with DIY scenes and why I'm much, much less involved with music. It is too much of a social tool aimed to present yourself in a certain way. I think community and a sense of strong relationships is what my comment is aiming towards.

OftenBen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The Ben Folds link was more to elaborate on the above point about stereotypes. Whatever it is we are trying to be, there is someone out there who is more of that. Likely several someones, and they are all just as hungry for the same things.

Community is important. I sing with the people I do because I enjoy it, because they enjoy it, and because nobody is there for any other reason than enjoyment, pleasure in the act of singing.