Sunday, December 10, 2006

Philly Dee Doo, Va Va Va

[Remotely "blogged" by paper & pen earlier today during train travel; herein keyboarded and revised just a bit. Mind . . . can't help . . . but make . . . revisions . . .]

Hey, let's go to a different city for the weekend! Just on a whim. Nate emails me Friday morning that his friend Kuzman is having an "evil twin" theme party in West Philadelphia on Saturday night. Well, hell, I'm not going to pass that up.

A few hours on city rail systems will get you there from Connecticut: Metro North, NJ Transit, SEPTA. Hooray megalopolis. I was looking forward to getting some pleasure reading in this weekend anyway, and that meshes with train travel as well as it does with anything else. Having finished auditing that linguistics course, I've been greedily going at some readable nonfiction, much more appetizing than chapters on syntactic structure. Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice has been on my list for a couple of years, particularly since I took a class he taught at Swarthmore on the same subject. I finally picked up a copy of the book up at the Harvard bookstore last month: cute little paperback with a banana-yellow cover. Gets one thinking about one's subjective well-being.

What is my subjective well-being like nowadays, anyway? Like on a scale of 1 to 7, say. Five? It's leveled off some in the last few weeks, which makes sense since the year's settled down so much. (My objective well-being, of course, is off the charts.)

I spend a couple of hours Saturday afternoon catching up with my college friends Andrea and Corey, who are both available to hang out on short notice, happily. I haven't seen Corey for more than four years, and only have written back and forth with him a couple of times in that span, so that's a particularly healthy connection to reestablish. In some basic sense it's like we haven't missed a beat.

The party loses its semblance of "evil twin" theme fairly quickly, but OK. I like Nate's friends, and Nate's friends' friends. And Nate's friends' roommates' friends are all right too. Five people live in this house, so there's a large crowd. Good conversational browsing. And good beer is on hand. Mingle, chat, party game, baby carrots, and so forth. Beery to less beery, social to less social. We're sleeping there overnight so we're in this party for the long haul. Around 2:30 AM I realize that it would significantly benefit my subjective well-being to hide in an upstairs bedroom and stop forcing myself to socialize. Poke through a bookshelf . . . Kama Sutra, Dungeon Master's Guide, Kurt Vonnegut . . . end up re-reading the first twelve chapters of The Phantom Tollbooth for the first time since about 1990. Well, they say it's not a real party until you've read 200 pages' worth of classic children's literature.

Sleep soundly from 4 to 11:30.

West Philly always strikes me, when I visit, as someplace where I can almost see myself living comfortably, but not quite. I get the sense I'd need a car for it to work, and I don't have a car. Moreover, I guess, I don't have a compelling reason to live in Philadelphia.

Friday night was a fairly rare post-work happy hour (free wings, all you can eat! All I could eat was three) and then a get-together at my roommate-during-August Judith's apartment later in the evening, featuring mulled wine and latkes and genial law students.

I don't know that all this adds up to being a social butterfly, but certainly it's on the high end of my personal social-butterfly scale. I feel a bit more like a social caterpillar, in that I've been eating constantly and am now looking forward to cocooning for a while.


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