Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Serious Social Problems

When I was in grad school, I had a "carrel" in the library--a little tiny room where I could save books and do some studying. I didn't use it often, since I also had a desk in the department, and we had a decent computer lab too. When I was reading for my comprehensive exams, it did come in handy. Carrels were assigned to the area of the library that was relevant to your department. So, my carrel was near all the social science books. Whenever I walked to my carrel, I would see the same spines and the ones with large text would pop out--one in particular was a text book called, "Serious Social Problems." Now, there is a sub-discipline of sociology about "social problems" though I never understood why, since, in a sense, everything is a "problem" or at least an area of inquiry.  Whatever. Whenever I saw this book I thought about the book I would write someday called, "Frivolous Social Problems." If I'd ever become a stand-up comic, it would have been part of my routine. In fact, it was a routine I performed for many years and usually got a few laughs. Some frivolous social problems--is it really okay to wear white after Labor Day? How many days should I wait before I call the object of my affection? Is it actually rude to put your elbows on the table? Is it ok to send a thank you via email? I could go on!

Anyway, I thought rather than opening up a complaint session about my condo (number two in complaints, right after work!), and since I mostly "triumphed" in my work nonsense yesterday (very conditional triumph, because while I got my way in the end I'm pretty sure my supervisor will use the entire episode as a shining example of my bad behavior), it's time for something more cheerful. Something that involves my friends, of which I have more than a few. Yes, people do like me, they really, really like me! And my new hair. Everyone likes my new hair.

The non-problem has to do with my skeeball friends, who are also baseball, dim sum, happy hour, cook out, and lunch friends. (They're not movie or theater friends, though, or biking, hiking, or camping friends.)  Skeeball attendance has been weak the last couple of seasons, but it's now time to sign up for the fall.  I suggested that instead of skeeball, we pick a trivia night at a bar and do that instead. This has led to a lot of back and forth about how paying gets people out (not really) and that we should do both. The conversation is rancor-free, which is wonderful. No one has said, "If we do trivia instead, I'm out and will never speak to you again." Everyone is open to both ideas. I, however, can't do both. I already have knitting group one night a week. I can add one more thing before I start to feel overwhelmed and trivia seemed like a good thing. What's nice is that we'll work it out and, one way or another, I'll get to see my friends.

Grateful for: lots of different kinds of friends.  

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