September 4, 2017 (Monday)

by Yule Heibel on September 3, 2018

This morning the sun is out and we’re expecting a brief return to calmer (and warmer) weather. I’m watching a man walking away from downtown, up E.-Street, far down below from where I’m sitting. He’s not wearing the usual summer shorts (baggy toddler wear), although in all other respects he looks like a “native”: t-shirt, baseball cap, indifferent posture, spongy gait. So, I have to conclude that if he isn’t wearing shorts (for “real” New Englanders sometimes wear shorts even in winter, and the rest of him clearly screams that he is of that tribe), the temperature must still be low, in the 50s. So unusual.

Yesterday was an all-day-indoors kind of constant on-off deluge rain type of day. When the deluges were off, the skies gave us a constant drizzle, just to remind us that rain would return shortly.

Stuck indoors, I convinced W. that we should listen to Joe Rogan’s show (nearly three hours) where his guests Jordan Peterson and Bret Weinstein range across the most intense and fascinating landscape of topics. It’s a bit like I took W. to another country – it’s all this stuff that’s out there, yet rarely explored (at least not by the mainstream). Just going there openly changes the maps – but not the underlying terrain, which remains solid, ready to be mapped by anyone who has eyes to see and good sense in their heads.

It made me think about how one person can change a dynamic – and consequently make something better …or worse.

One of the response emails to that luncheon I went to on Friday was from a woman named D. At the lunch she had struck me as someone who doesn’t much come out of her routines or her shell. She wrote that this lunch was one of the best. She didn’t mean the food. I think somehow it was me: we were all asked to go around the table and introduce ourselves, and then also to recommend a book, an event, something which we thought was really interesting. I happened to be the first person up. I did the self-intro, re. my unusual name, the career cut short by my encounter with the adjunct wall, etc., going to Victoria and homeschooling, etc. Then, my recommendation: Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile; and the “why?”: because of what Taleb wrote about DNA being antifragile, and how it’s not just in our children, but also embodied in the ideas and products, cultural, we make …and leave behind. I was quite animated about this, and I think it also spurred the rest of the group to go out on a limb a little bit, to be a bit less cautious and vanilla-y. So, yes, I’ll take some credit for having made it a more interesting lunch than it might have been.

There was a person sitting across the table, J., who struck me as the kind of über-cautious administrator type beholden to rules – rules of whatever – who would have had the opposite effect on the group had he spoken first. A real dampener, not a rabble-rouser, yet probably so repressed he’d be the most outrageous pervert if he ever cut loose. He’d make an interesting fictional character in a novel: a man who measures everything by how it stands in relation to his self-imposed strictures and beliefs, which he determines are durable, but which he feels fracturing, too. Or maybe not.

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