All day, when I haven’t been working, writing my pilot, I’ve been turning over this idea in my mind about doing favors for people expressly so that they will do favors for you in the future. And even though I know, yes, I know this is the reason we are social creatures at all, even though this is – at least – the unconscious understanding between people when one does a favor for another, (I am not so polyannish as to deny that) but still, I’m telling you, IT CREEPS ME OUT TO THINK OF IT LIKE THAT.
I was so thankful for the comment about not doing things for people unless you wanted to and not expecting anything in return. I do feel I am like that. I think I am like that. I don’t want to NOT be like that. I hope I am like that.
I was thinking today about how that’s what commerce is, that’s what money is. Our way of making sure we get what we expect to get. I mean, that’s not about community. But still, it’s in this range of ideas I’m mulling over.
I know this is all too broad a topic. And I don’t even have that much to add to it. But after I wrote the last post, I thought – the example of the Seattle Film Society friends is just one example in my life. Of course you must have known that. But I didn’t want to elevate that example, nor denigrate it. I appreciated the comments about a church being a place where people of similar common interests reside. That is true too.
But I will say that the only Republicans I know – almost – are from Spokane, and they are people I grew up with. Not all of them, thankfully only a few of them. The Catholic Church there is probably the place where I would come across people with very different worldviews and different political views than myself. It would be a place where I would have to bowl with other people who did not share my views.
I will get that book, “Bowling Alone.” I also heard an interview with an author of a book called “The Big Sort,” which is out now too and I think its dealing with the same topic. A phrase I heard from the “Big Sort” author that resonated with me was, “as we surround ourselves with others who have similar opinions and worldviews, it’s good for individuals, but not so much for the larger community.”
But jeez. Even though I wanted to move to Spokane for a long time, that doesn’t mean I want to spend my time arguing with conservative Republicans. That seems like such a time suck. It’s so boring! I would rather argue about the finer details of something else – not those nauseatingly simple ideas that I find myself arguing about with these people. I would probably find other people in Spokane more like me and hang out with them.
But this is what I’m turning over in my mind now. How much does awareness influence your behavior in this realm we are discussing?
In some ways, maybe it’s good. Awareness makes a person smarter; you understand the complexities of human exchange – whether social or economic. On the other hand, doesn’t it sort of ruin it? Isn’t it better for the band saw to be offered with no expectations for a return favor? But if a person does this, is this person just being naïve and childlike? But then, doesn’t awareness of this make you somehow, a little bit even… conniving?
I just listened to a part of a radio show today on KCRW called “In The Biz” or something like that. It is about show business. It’s a good show. Two authors were being interviewed on the show about a book they wrote for aspiring movie, movie, movie what? I guess movie power-people. And it was about how to work the “assistant” job in Hollywood so as not to be a sucker and to use the job to gain power and influence. They had a thing about how you could tell if you were a “career assistant” (which in their view is a fate worse than death.) One of the ways you could tell if you were going nowhere was if you had the urge to buy cupcakes for someone’s birthday; a person was of lower status or equal status to yourself. They derisively laughed at that idea.
Oh my god, I would never have made it in Hollywood.
Except, I kind of did.
At least to me, I did. But I swear, I never did stuff to get ahead. I was not ambitious in a strategizing kind of way. If I even became aware that I was, or should be, it never felt right.
You could say that this is why I spent an hour tonight with a guy who is cutting my movie trailer practically for free in his off hours. Then I drove home home underneath several two-story-high movie ads for Mike Myers' new movie. And I’m not saying that Mike Myers was more ambitious – well, he was definitely more ambitious – but… I’m not saying that people who are enormously successful are conniving. Not at all. In fact I know several very successful people that... wait, do I? Hmmm...
But I do seriously wonder if they are just smarter and more at ease with human social exchange than I am, and more comfortable with what it takes or something.
Oh god, this sounds like I’m a sad sack. I am not. I feel great. I like my career, I would not chose any other career for myself. I'm proud of my work and I am proud of my life in general, too. There is no wishing it had gone differently. Not every day is so rosey, but I will admit that just today, I had a feeling come over me. I was as happy as I thought it was humanly possible to get. I worked on my pilot, I took my daughter to gymnastics, I worked on the trailer edit, I’m married to a guy that is so much kinder, smarter and funnier than I would have ever dared to hope for. Life is awesome.
But listening to that radio interview today, coupled with the conversation we seem to be having here, it just made me think about this whole idea of exchange. Being in social groups where exchange is expected and looked for. Not just of ideas (which doesn’t bother me for some reason) – but of services.
I have a friend who joined a business group. They were meeting every week and then using each other’s contacts to enhance their business. It was so creepy to me! I mean, who were those other people? How good could their recommendations be when they met the person at a business promoters-gathering.
I thought of another tangential thing and then it’s the end of my rambling.
I have an old friend who came to my house once (I have lived in the same place for sixteen years now) and she said, “Great piece of property!”
I couldn’t stop thinking about that for almost a year. I made jokes in my head about it all the time. “Great piece of property Sweet Great piece of Property” “Great Piece of Property is Where the Heart Is” “Toto, I just want to go to my Great Piece of Property.”