Of being raised by someone so kind and generous. Remembering that kind and generous spirit today.
A picture of a neighbor’s property from this morning’s walk.
“Hey Ron, what’s the backstory of the University of Washington-painted tennis court/full basketball court with state-of-the-art plexiglass break-away rims?”
I’m glad you asked.
The owner, a friend of a friend who I have never met, bought this large wooded property a couple of years ago. And then proceeded to clear cut it. And then added a bunch of out-buildings and the primo lighted sport court for his children.
Granted I’m not omniscient, but I’ve never seen or heard the children using either of the courts. Which is why the lighting is a humorous touch, as if there’s not enough daylight to get in all the basketball and tennis the children want to play.
Meditating on that court this morning made me think of Venus and Serena growing up on Compton, California’s public tennis courts. Or any elite basketball player who routinely left their hood to find competitive games that helped them hone their skills.
But forget elite sports—whether college or pro—consider the opportunity costs, besides the obvious environmental ones of the clear cutting, of not having to play in public settings with a diverse assortment of other people. Some exceedingly difficult to get along with. Even though my parents could have afforded to, I’m glad they chose not to join a country club. I benefitted immensely from growing up on public golf courses, swimming in public pools, and playing on public tennis courts.
Like in public schools, places where I learned to mix it up with other kids. Which has proved extremely valuable throughout my life.
It’s time for us to pivot from an abundance of caution to an abundance of risk.*
Sure, we should keep being smart about social distancing and wearing masks indoors, and of course getting jabbed; otherwise though, it’s time we start affirming that living life in close relationship with others entails risk.
To be in relationship with others is to embrace a much wider range of emotions, including positive ones like acceptance, tranquility, and love, and negative ones like anger, sadness, despair, and grief.
Kaitlin Ruby Brinkerhoff met Ian McCann, a Canadian, on a mountain biking trip in her Utah hometown. They then maintained a challenging cross-border relationship through the pandemic. Here’s their story. I dig their story because they embody the “abundance of risk” mindset we need to reclaim.
Of course, one can pivot to an abundance of risk in many ways. Romantic love isn’t the only avenue, we can form friendships by planting gardens together, by moving outdoors together, by doing all kinds of community service with one another.
Here’s the start of the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes:
“For everything there is a season, A time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.”
Consider, if you will, this is a time to risk.
*Admittedly, this does not apply to the frontline workers, especially our health care providers, who have been taking on lots of risk on our behalf for over a year.
Recently, I lost a friend. He didn’t die, he just decided he didn’t want to be friends anymore. The reason? Partisan politics. After twenty years. We were very good at preventing our considerable political differences from hindering our friendship until we weren’t.
I’m not sure how to write about it. I don’t want to give you just my version and I don’t want to try to summarize my former friend’s thinking. Suffice to say, he just got to the point where he said, “I can’t take it anymore.” I think “it” being anti-Trump liberalism.
I guess we weren’t as good as friends as I thought. Like many, many times before, I wanted to work it out. For the first time, he clearly didn’t.
I’ve learned at least two things. One is that I’m not immune from the relationship destroying political dissension that so many people are experiencing not just with friends, but family. I was naive about that, wrongly thinking that my interpersonal skills and educator sensibilities enabled me to sometimes befriend my political opposites. This failure has been humbling.
Another thing I’ve learned, or more accurately re-learned, is that all friendships are based upon reciprocity. Each side has to continually extend themselves. If one side stops for whatever reason, it’s out of the other side’s control. Most simply put, friendship can’t be forced.
I can’t think of any way to spin this as positive. It’s upsetting and my attitude about it, “Fuck it, it was stupid of me for thinking we were close,” is poor.
But I’m okay with having a poor attitude. I accept he doesn’t want to be friends. Have a nice life.
- I’m far from a Presidential historian, but I can’t help but wonder, has there ever been a more dramatic change in governing assumptions and policies than we are witnessing right now?
- After their amazing comeback victory over Sparty last night, is UCLA the prohibitive favorite to win the NCAA championship?
- Speaking of the NCAA tourney, is my contingent of the PAC-12 teams plus Gonzaga plus Oklahoma State going to overwhelm Richie’s ACC teams for yet another t-shirt victory?
- How many t-shirts does one need?
- Chuck is proposing a 30% rebate on electric bikes. Can I get a shop to throw a cheap battery on my next bike, and then immediately take it off, for 30% savings? And still get into heaven?
- In the (dis)United States, how long until the ‘rona vax supply outstrips demand?
- Why doesn’t Trudeau want my money?
- When is Trudeau going to shave?
- How do young adults find romantic partners these days?
- What should I make for dinner?
1. Hiking Is an Ideal Structure for Friendship. Love stories like this.
“As soon as we complete one hike, we immediately establish when the next will be. We rotate the organization and planning duties, eeny-meeny-miny-moe style.
That person has complete authority and responsibility to organize the hike, select the location, provide the beer and other refreshments, and make any other side-trip plans. We’ve done breakfast, dinner. We sometimes hit various local watering holes, or we just plop down with a cooler in the woods somewhere. The organizer is responsible for setting up all the logistics, soup to nuts, and is not questioned on the decisions made.”
3. 2021’s Best States to Retire. I know, I know, how can any state known for the blog ‘PressingPause’ be ranked 31st? Spurious methods.
4. Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College. Don’t know where to start on this one.
5. Mean tweets may take down Biden nominee. If only Neera Tanden had shown the same tact and diplomacy as The Former Guy. Has nothing to do with “civility” and everything to do with political power. It’s a tad bit ironic that the R’s are channeling Malcolm X. “By whatever means necessary.” (credit: DDTM)
6. The most important Western artist of the second half of the twentieth century. (credit: Tyler Cowen)
And do you need one to tide you over until yours reopens? I got you.
“Mr. Goldberg, 75, then came across a stranger’s post in a neighborhood Facebook group: ‘If anyone has a family member, friend or knows someone who is elderly and needs help pre-registering or registering online for the Covid-19 vaccine, I am happy to help,’ it said. The person was not asking for money and said, ‘I don’t care how long it takes.’
Mr. Goldberg wanted to contact the stranger immediately, but Ms. Goldberg was more skeptical. ‘You have to give your personal information to make appointments,’ she said. ‘A lot of people get targeted for scams when they are elderly.’
But Mr. Goldberg won the debate and reached out to the stranger, Harriet Diamantidis, a 36-year-old executive assistant who lives in nearby Merrick. Within a few hours, Ms. Diamantidis had procured appointments for the couple at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Ms. Goldberg, 73, remained skeptical until she and her husband showed up at the high school, she said. ‘But we both got our vaccine, and we even have follow-up appointments for the second dose on Feb. 27.’
The Goldbergs have stayed in touch with Ms. Diamantidis, who, it turns out, visits the same community pool they do in the summer. ‘I told her I wanted to send her something, but she wouldn’t accept it,’ Mr. Goldberg said. ‘So now I’ve decided I will buy her a pretzel and a soda at the pool.'”
Faith in humanity restored.
Ignore if you’ve mastered self-compassion.
A 34-minute podcast seemingly for female yoga adherents but really for anyone that struggles with body-shaming.