Monday, August 22, 2005

My grandma would pwn Thoreau at Freecell, though.

Right now I sleep in the same bedroom as my grandma, and last night I asked her why so many people stop making friends and getting together with their own friends after they graduate college and start their own families.

She discussed many reasons – about how white-collar workers use their brains so much during the day that they just need to relax and not use their brains anymore when they’re off from work, about how there’s simply no time, or when there is time the other person doesn’t have time, about how there’s this sort of embarrassment among adults past a certain age to talk about anything more profound and relevant than “How are the kids?” and politics and so on.

I tried to ask if adults found it lonely, but due to language barriers it came out as “Do they find it boring?”

And she said no, because adults are a lot more capable of independent thought, which as she elaborated struck me as a pretty satisfactory answer to the intended question, as well.

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. (p. 108, Walden)
Thoreau would probably disdain my grandma since she’d old, and my grandma would probably disdain Thoreau for being that oxymoron, the intellectual American. But they’re pretty much of one mind on this point: they both think that their own thoughts are more companionable than actual people.

On the one hand, this seems like a rather selfish and/or arrogant philosophy. Both Thoreau and my grandma seem to like holding forth on their own opinions, despite the fact that they easily tire of the company and opinions of others. Like: why should we listen to them when they don’t want to listen to us?

But then, how nice it would be to have such fruitful thoughts that one needs no conversational stimulus to set the mind afire! And how nice it would be to be so self-sufficient, companionship-wise. I sort of hope I’ll attain the companionship of my own interesting thoughts at some point, but maybe without the weariness of society that seems to accompany it.