Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Thought scraps

"Things are as they are": this seems about the fourth thing you say after you live in a place for a while. First, "place X is great"; second, "place X is bad and here's why"; third, some subtler things about place X, that it's friendlier or colder or sleepier or grander or whatever; and fourth, "well, okay. Place X is place X." You stop generalizing. I feel like this is when intelligent conversation can start. (either that, or what I'm saying is "stop writing about places." Hmm, that doesn't seem right.)
Thoughts of an expat in Bishkek
A counterexample: an article about Bhutan that generalizes, and is annoying as a result.

So traveling is great, right, and especially after that post about world-curating, one might think I'm advocating a lot of traveling and a lot of randomness injected into your life. Why do I say only 20%? Because I think conventional wisdom is mostly correct: society progresses by abstracting and automating details like how to get water for the day. I couldn't do a lick of work here. Even, I think, if I lived here. But furthermore, if I lived here, I think my life would be poorer in a lot of ways. You can't get as good variety of music or movies, activities to do, organizations to join. Western life offers a nice lot of complexity, and I mean that in the positive, Csikszentmihalyi sense of "differentiated parts working together as one."

I like cricket. Time will tell if this is like stroopwafels, which I pretend to like while I'm there, or herring, which is actually great.

There's a different take on interruption here. In the US, you get stuff like "Never ask a busy person to lunch." Here, people I've met seem pretty much more okay with being interrupted.

Someone else who's figured out food. Orexin, I guess: sugar kills it, protein helps it, and it in turn helps us to be alert and have energy and so on. This drives me nuts. How does this fit in with everything else that the body does?
Also by Lehrer, but more convincing: I guess I should be chewing gum.

Living by yourself is pretty nice for us control-freaky types. I resonated pretty well with this article about an Indian lady being less stressed after losing her maid. It's hard to live in a place with someone else; you just feel like you're being watched, and that every move has to be right in some way. But perhaps this is just an extreme example of me curating my world!

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