I was standing in a light rain this afternoon watching a hip hop dancing exhibition. A lawyer friend standing next to me commented that it was so cold he had to keep his hands in his own pockets. I thought that was funny.
Since the kid has been studying hip hop dancing, I’ve been to one hip hop concert and a few dancing exhibitions. I have to say that I rather like it.
I’ve noticed something over the years at school functions where parents gather to watch their kids. Strangely, the parents are almost universally uncomfortable around the parents of other kids. When they (we) walk into the school they automatically become shy. Their social skills seem to be left outside. Even the elementary quantum unit of civility, an introduction and a handshake, is offered only after awkward minutes elapse and it becomes apparent that anonymity cannot be maintained. The notion that the parents of your kids friends are also your friends is not an axiom.
In fact, this whole business of adult friendship is a puzzlement to me. I can’t tell you how many times a discussion with another adult escalates into “that’s bullshit, this is how ya do it …” or terminates as “well, we don’t do that…”. Many adults I know are seemingly unable to enter into a discussion where ideas are tossed around and back and forth analysis ocurs with mutual curiosity and interest.
So many people I know will take any given comment as an invitation to render approval or disapproval. There is rarely any interest to build on a concept or flesh out possibilities. One coworker is unable to discuss any topic I bring up. The reply to my sentence is invariably to throw out onto the table the activity or thing they do in a superior way than implied by my comment. There is never any back and forth- their participation is just a series of reflections off a mirror back to themselves. Some of these folks are very brittle emotionally and intellectually.
Then there are the people who only participate in a discussion when they can dominate it. If they cannot dominate the proceedings, they leave. I have taken to the bad habit of preempting them by leaving when they arrive to dominate the discussion. Who is the bigger fool? I am not sure.
Somebody (William James?) once said that for most people, thinking consists in the rearranging of their prejudices. There is a lot of truth in this.