Friday, July 14, 2006

...and still thinking...

Today I:

  • had a bowl of cereal with soy milk for breakfast with a cup of jasmine green tea
  • am having leftover pasta for lunch
  • actually have things to do at work that are interesting for a change*

This is a scene from last weekend. I had a terrible headache, so I figured a bottle of water, some aspirin, and way too much strong coffee might fix it.

It didn't. But the coffee was good.

Intellectualism

Last night my boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot and I went out to dinner with an old friend of ours who was visiting from Philly. It had been a year since I'd spoken to him, and it really took me back. The subjects we usually discuss are Foreign Policy, Silly Attitudes Toward Political Issues, Crazy People We Probably Shouldn't Have Dated, Culture Shock, Languages, Racism, Good Food, What the Hell am I Doing With My Life?, and Philly Sucks. (Not necessarily in that order.) It's always a relief to have someone to vent to about Philly who can sympathize, and a sheer joy to find someone whose loathing not only equals yours, but surpasses it because they are still living in Philly. My friend had a new complaint about Philly last night that I hadn't heard vocalized before, despite how many people are probably suffering from it in that city:

Philly is Anti-Intellectual, and It's Damn Hard to Find Anyone to Hang Out With Because of That.

My boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot and I were discussing the definition of "intellectual" as we understand it this morning over breakfast. His definition is that an "intellectual" is someone who is not afraid to actually think about things, and has nothing to do with perceived intelligence or whether someone has a bunch of initials after their name or not. We know people who fall into this category and people who don't, but generally the people we both know who are not intellectuals by that definition are nonconformists of one stripe or another - people with upwards of a hundred tattoos, people who work in an unusual field, people who make their life a kind of performance art. (We've also known obnoxious intellectuals who will argue about whether a particular word has a Latin or Greek root first thing in the morning while we're trying to have our coffee, but we wouldn't really call them friends.)

I know I'm non-conformist in some ways, and intellectual in others, but I wouldn't really call myself either. I think it's important to exercise the mind and make life interesting. (If not exactly exciting. I would never call my life that.) Alas, I think the way architecture is taught squeezes out the possibility of thinking about anything else (including new ideas in architecture) which is largely why it is not working out for me.

Back to my light bulbs.

Last night, I:

  • had fettuccini with marinara sauce
  • drank a Peroni
  • had some chips

*I'm assigning kitchen cabinet lighting and then counting how many bulbs! It's amazing how much this is lifting my spirits. (Try not to let the glamour of my job overwhelm you.)

4 comments:

Carrie K said...

Wait. Non conformists are anti-intellecutal? Or am I reading this backwards?

Anyway, I feel your pain. Possibly. Think? When there are so many people who will do it for you and you can just mindlessly go with, well, whoever you've picked out to do your thinking for you.

Christine said...

I re-read the post and I guess it sounds like I'm sayign that, but I'm not really. Neither is mutually exclusive.

Lissy said...

I'm definitely non-conformist (see catseye glasses I wear and the fact that I just celebrated my 11th anniversary of unwedded, non-cohabitating bliss with Gary). I also consider myself intellectual (see the fact that I may be the only person you ever meet in our whole life who has read Proust, I have a very decent working knowledge of art history and technique, also I write scholarly articles for a living, and I enjoy mental gymnastics just for the hey of it). And I think I have one more thing going for me that qualifies me to be your friend. I do not like Philly, though I do admire the amount of art that city contains (see definition of my intellectualness above). So, do I make the cut? I hope so!

Christine said...

edbfwI don't actually have any hard and fast friendship criteria, just some general trends I've noticed. And you've already been in for a while!