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Posted by james on April 24, 2001

It strikes me that people need to be free to talk in order to be free to be themselves. Through the different sorts of people I've come into contact with recently, I've become more and more aware of the differences people have. One of those differences is in speech; not simple superficial things like how large a vocabulary a person uses, or if they speak fast / slow / other. More like the ideas and thoughts behind what a person says, and the reasons behind the methods they use to say things.

I was thinking about how I interact with people I don't know very well. If I don't feel comfortable in a group usually I'll be more quiet and less like myself. I don't feel as comfortable to be a person with flaws exposed, where I don't have to worry about my actions and words being given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to possibly ambiguous inuendos (not sexual innuendos, just any kind). I don't feel comfortable to make as many jokes, trip on as many objects, say things quite as loud, or say things that I know are risky. Most risky things for me to say involve simply pushing the limits of what you know a specific person is comfortable with. Once you've pushed those limits you know where a person stands, and what they're comfortable with. But when I'm uncomfortable with a situation, I don't do this; I even back off more.

There are ways that I've seen people act this way even in the most comfortable of environments, with their close friends. Either in action or speech, they do things that convey that even in this safe environment they're still on guard, like a rabit that never quite relaxes when it's in the open meadow. One possible reason is that they're uncomfortable with themselves. After all, you never quite escape yourself, even in the most comfortable situations. Another reason could be trust... even with close friends, there's still something that doesn't allow them to trust anyone completely. I don't know the reasons, I don't even know if I'm close. But I do think that whatever the reason, when a person doesn't feel free to act and talk, then they can't really be free to be themselves. And that's poor, because if they never can get past that I'll never see what they are. Plus, maybe they'll never see it either.

(no title)

Posted by james on April 19, 2001

So our house is finally becoming something. A long time ago, just before last school year ended and we were talking of all the things that would happen this year, I really wanted a lot for this house. We've had an example in previous years of a house so open that anyone could simply walk in for what they needed. Food, sleep, just to hang out. But it was too much, and eventually the guests wore out their welcome... and a good thing, it was getting miserable for the (what's the word?) hosts.

So what we wanted was a place where people didn't demand too much or take things for granted. But I still wanted somewhere comfortable, where you could go and not worry about whether you were supposed to, or if the people you liked were going to be there, or if it was your crowd, or if someone would be too busy to see you. Somewhere casual, where dropping by is as normal as waving on the street and just as easy. So finally we're seeing it. The first sign was when people started to visit more often. With 5 people in a house, you'll have a lot of visitors. But then people started to hang out that weren't there to specifically see one person. They were just hanging out with the lot of us. Then there were times when everyone would come over for different things, movies, food, sitting around frustrated cause we're stupid americans who can't decide on pizza toppings, let alone what to do for fun. Now people feel comfortable enough to simply drop by to see if anyone's in. Not someone's girlfriend, not close friends, but simply people we know. And that's simply great.

Someone asked me if I actually like that people are always over. For me the answer is so Yes, I can almost not imagine not liking it. I guess there's something to be said for having your alone time... but hey, that's what 4:00 AM is for. But I love the idea that people are always over our house, just one or two extra people that make it a little different every day. Having to entertain them would be tiresome, but people just come to hang out. I figured out that the reason why I'm so thrilled by this is because it's what I would want. In high school I saw my peers every day in at least one class a day, whether I liked it or not. In college, I have the option of never seeing anyone for days on end, if I'm inclined to sit like a pickle and play snood all day. And if you live farther away from campus, say portsmouth, then your chances of spending lots of time with friends is very small. What you really need is a place you can go for the little odds and scraps of time that you have every day, whenever you want to see if people are around.

They're not in the ram's den. They're not at 193. They're not at the bar in the bottom floor of the union that serves alcohol to stressed out students and refuses all the underage fade id lamers. So maybe our house could be that for the friends I know: a place to go when you don't want to do anything specific, just to see other people. And to take the vision one step further, if there's always people around then you'll always see people when you come here. And then it'll get to the point where it's never the same people over. You'll see some more than others, but you'll never be guaranteed the same group of people on any day, but you'll come anyway because you know whoever it is, it's worth hanging out. And what better way to meet people?

Sure beats sitting on the quad with your roommate's text book, hoping someone will knock you sideways with a frisbee so you have the slight chance of starting a conversation. Less painful, anyway.

(no title)

Posted by james on April 14, 2001

<blink>Not Yet</blink>

Something will be here soon, I've got it floating around in my head... but I can't seem to get it out before I get too tired. It'll show soon.

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