tim kreider-we learn nothing (still)

“I know we’re all very busy, but what, exactly, is getting done? Are all those people running late for meetings and yelling on their cell phones stopping the spread of malaria or developing feasible alternatives to fossil fuels or making anything beautiful?” (80, Lazy: A Manifesto)

“But my privileged position outside the hive may have given me a unique perspective on it. It’s like being the designated driver at a bar: when you’re not drinking, you can see drunkenness more clearly than those actually experiencing it. Unfortunately the only advice I have to offer the Busy is as unwelcome as the advice you’d give the Drunk.” (82, ibid)

“Even though my own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since you can always make more money.” (83, ibid)

“I don’t know why we take our worst moods so much more seriously than our best, crediting depression with more clarity than euphoria. We dismiss peak moments and passionate love affairs as an ephemeral chemical buzz, just endorphins or hormones, but accept those 3 a.m. bouts of despair as unsentimental insights into the truth about our lives.” (5, Reprieve)

“Defriending isn’t just unrecognized as some social oversight; it’s protected by its own protocol, a code of silence. Demanding an explanation wouldn’t just be undignified; it would violate the whole tacit contract on which friendship is founded. The same thing that makes friendship so valuable is what makes it so tenuous: it is purely voluntary. You enter into it freely, without the imperatives of biology or the agenda of desire. Officially, you owe each other nothing.” (96, The Anti-Kreider Club)

“Ken’s contempt for authority, his disdain for emotion, and his humourlessness on this issue may give him greater clarity than the rest of us. We think of color blindness as a defect, but it enables those afflicted with it to see through camouflage.” (121, Escape From Pony Island)

“The ways in which I’m best able to help people are silly and impractical ones.” (154, Bad People)

“Laughter is one of those intimacies, like orgasm or tears or just getting completely snockered with someone, that bares our most helpless, undignified selves. It’s what’s bound and consecrated all my friendships, the way that sex consummates a love affair.” (180, Chutes and Candyland)

“In this respect it resembles averted vision, a phenomenon familiar to backyard astronomers whereby, in order to pick out a very faint star, you have to let your gaze drift casually to the space just next to it; if you look directly at it, it vanishes. And it’s true, come to think of it, that the only stars we ever see are not the real stars, those blinding cataclysms in the present, but always only the light of the untouchable past.” (228, Averted Vision)

“so when you see that shrink in beverly hills…ask him how much of your mind is left?”

i’ve grouped this second set of brilliant passages by tim kreider by the lifestyle choice of how we see ourselves in relation to others, and specifically to our friends-that most special relationship because it is based solely on choice-unlike family or nationality (that one is coming) or any other allegiance, friendship is truly that relationship that we choose to keep choosing (or not). and the same thing that makes is solid makes it tenuous-and socially acceptable to just walk away from, on a whim, and not tell anyone at all.

i like the rational discussion of how shitty it is to be “too busy” to be friends with someone-i’ve been feeling too many emotions to do so in such an eloquent fashion. at the end of the day-that gift of time is one that we owe to ourselves, and too many folks go too long (and/or resent their jobs/parents/partners/kids for their not claiming it) without being empowered by such.

i’ve had a good year of long-distance friendship, and have been blessed with my folks coming through almost on a rotation, and it’s been almost enough for me not to be sad that they’re not here all the time.




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