Sunday, November 14, 2010

making friends

I am an Innie. It's not easy to make friends for people like me. I am anxious in social situations, it takes me ages to get to used to someone's presence, not to even mention some kind of intimate relationship. In addition to being an Innie, I also have some social phobias and anxiety which really don't help. The only way I feel comfortable getting to know someone is kind of by accident. As a side effect or unexpected consequence. Like when in school and realizing after couple months that there is one or two people I really enjoy, and somehow we are friends without thinking about it. Setting me up terrifies me, no matter how good someone's intentions. Social gatherings exhaust me and hardly ever lead to anything significant (unless repeated multiple times in a natural way).

So now, I think I am getting a friend. Slowly. There is this guy who is an intern, who was present in some of my classes... I kept forgetting his name which was embarrassing (twice I didn't introduce him by name to my class b/c I forgot it) and I still don't remember his family name. Our first conversations were awkward and stressful (to me), it was more about what I thought I should have been saying, than any natural creation. But slowly we started to joke here and there, we realized we have some similar hobbies. We started to comment on FB, and somehow a thought came to me: "I think it would be nice to hang out with him, even outside of work".

I like it that way. Slowly, naturally, no pushing, no expectations. If we don't like each other enough to be friends, we simply remain in our work-roles. All this process (that took over two months I think), reminded me how typically difficult my social relations are. I guess I should be glad I am an Innie, it must be a hell for anxious Extrovert with social phobias...

A while ago I was teaching my kids on the meaning of our sages' saying "find yourself a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend". And I guess I was right, we are "acquiring" friends, not just "finding" them. It's a hard work, full of tension, possible pitfalls and risks. Once in a while worth engaging in.

market-driven society

I admit that I can't understand the position that wants to leave everything to the self-regulatory nature of free market. I am pretty good at understanding various points of view, I like speculating on possible reasons and origins of someone's behavior, political views or oppressive tendencies.
And I can't get how anyone can think free market can regulate everything. Including education, racism, health care, culture, equality, workers' rights and so on. How can you privatize charity and support for the weakest in your society? How can you leave it to the market? Market is driven by greed, not compassion, long-term thinking or tolerance. It is about the profit, the higher the better. It's about stepping over others' backs, it's about selfishness and egocentrism. There is no need for reaching out to the weaker, the underprivileged, victimized by racism, inequality and judiciary abuse.
I remember one person telling me that the government has no place in charity, that this should be left to individuals. That when a person gives or receives charity that way the interpersonal relationships strengthen, character gets stronger and so on. But what about the ones who have no family? Who are asocial and burned bridges with their former friends or neighbors? Who came back scarred and traumatized from wars, unable to keep steady work and fit back in the society? Should we just let them die? Punish them for being born in a wrong neighborhood?
When we leave everything to the market humans become just another numbers in accountant's documents. Market doesn't care about investing in souls, spending on dignity or merging social gaps.

Are these people in denial? Do they really believe that in the quest for ever-raising profits people would remember to take care of the old, sick and weak? Or do they just dream to be part of the top 1% and are willing to step on own compassion for the sake of this dream? I can't understand what is wrong with the idea that spreading wealth helps fight inequality and builds stronger societies.

And I could get the rich supporting these policies, but they are the top 1%, even with all the money they wouldn't be able to achieve so much. They have poor masses supporting them. For what? For a dream of becoming one day another abusive rich pig?


The show, not my own skeleton's.
I fell in love. I started with the books, which are really great mystery. Packed with scientific facts which nourish my nerdy soul, witty humor and very strong, independent heroine. I am reading another one right now, as a matter of fact.
I had no idea it could get better than the books. Not in the detail department or build up of mystery - you can't do it in one episode per crime show. But the character? If it is indeed based on the books' author, Kathy Reichs, I so wanna be her friend. Or bone her (yep, cheap pun) ;-) It's so rare to have such strong, independent female lead role. Who is not only extremely educated, smart and logical, but also atheist, doesn't want children, doesn't watch tv, has questionable social skills (even worse than I), approaches the society with anthropological honesty and fascination. She is passionate, focused, and also beautiful without trying. She thinks plastic surgery is barbarism, admires the way we evolved, treats all religions on the same level (of interesting myths), has no problem with pointing it out to a Catholic partner (who makes fun of voodoo) and so on. I love how she is all in her head, because in a way I feel validated. I am not as smart, and I am not a scientist... But I am all head, thinking constantly and missing a lot of social clues and skills.
In addition to her perfect self, the team is also great. There is a bit of stereotypical nerds with no social skills, but then, it's quite normal to have geniuses who are quite literal, lack social skills or are so much in their heads, they don't get social clues.

So yeah, I am addicted :)