Thursday, November 17, 2005

Taking a Break from Class/Studying

The fiancee found a cool little cafe that has a cool atmosphere, some nice drinks and sweets and free Internet access for customers. The baristas even have a real friendly aura and attitude about them.

If I lived here in Plymouth, I would probably come to this cafe most every night for a nice drink and to read and write. If I were older, Plymouth might actually be a nice place to live. Oh well, moving to the Midwest, I probably won't end up in Plymouth.

Pity that I have yet to find a cafe close by in Newton, Cambridge, Watertown, Belmont, Brighton or anything nearby similar to this place. The cafe in Waltham near the commuter rail station on the way to work has a good atmosphere and such. Unfortunately, that cafe closes pretty early in the non-summer seasons. I would say it closes around the time that I get off the commuter rail and wait for the bus on the way home.

Remembering the Waltham commuter rail and environs reminds me of a dream that I had last night. In it, I get on the bus that goes by the commuter rail station but stay on past it. For some reason, I believe it will take me all the way to Concord, even after a bit, I realize that taking the commuter rail would have been easier. That fact doesn't matter too much, though, because I think a couple friends and a past friend who had become a non-friend after some small group controversy a little more than a year ago motivated me to stay on the bus. More to the fact, I think I enjoyed staying on the bus because I could passionately and angrily yell at the past friend all I wanted, and he couldn't get in a word edge-wise.

I think, for a little bit. . .when I realized that I could have taken the commuter rail instead of the bus and that I had taken on this endless tirade against this past friend. . .I had become semi-conscious that I was in a dream and could have made it a lucid one. It didn't become lucid. Nor did I really push for it. I believe that things turned out this way because. . .dang! I really enjoyed laughing at this oaf of a past friend. It felt really, really gratifying!

So, yeah. . .I'm at this cool little cafe in Plymouth. Before I could get on the computer, I read some fifty haikus by Richard Wright in this book that I got last year from a friend hailing in Pennsylvania (actually, a pretty good book. . .thanks, friend!). Afterward, I read a couple pages in Steppenwolf (actually at a somewhat interesting part where the character actually interacts with others rather than going off in some essay format) before this computer became free.

While doing that reading, I felt myself fulfilling a certain idealistic, romantic image that I have that I would like to embody. I don't have a real easy way to describe. When I first think about it, I first think some ex-patriot in Europe, hanging out at a cafe, drinking some coffee, philosophizing and such. Then I think about existentialists like Camus, Nietschze, Heidigger and so on and so forth.

I don't consider myself an ex-pat or an existentialist, though. They really do kind of fit that mold best, though. I guess, in some way, I would like to consider myself instead of an armchair politican, rather a coffee shop or cafe politician. I may not necessarily get as much done as, say, a professional politician, a dissident or someone who gets involved so much in protests. I think, though. I feel, too. These things can possibly coelesce together at a cafe and become something more than just show.

Other people come to cafes. I can start conversations. We can trade ideas. I can challenge my own ideas, we can challenge each other. We can bring books, petitions, pamphlets, brochures, etc. etc. We can post them on the bulletin board. A whole bunch of things can happen that can create a community better than if I stay at home, watch TV, go to a bar, gather together with just friends in our living rooms, drink and so on and so forth.

To me, a cafe holds many possibilities. That's probably why I called an old Blog or Discussion Boards of mine the Ontok Cafe. Too bad it never took off. . .probably because I got very busy doing a ton of other things. Oh well. . .such is life.

The Class

I've gone to the insurance class for a day and a half. I have one more day left then a two hour test. Only really a small amount of the stuff comes off as new. At least I understand everything better than I did during my last class, which was only loosely connected to Personal Lines Insurance. I don't think I'll get a perfect score on the test, but neither am I too worried that I will fail, for sure. I'll study relatively leisurely then take the test. I don't really care which way the chips fall.

This guy, Ed, who sits next to me in the class has given me some encouragement about the test. I really haven't told him my full story. . .I don't want a career in insurance, I'm moving halfway across the country in about 6 months, I don't really know why I'm taking these classes and testing and that I'll be looking for another career when I move. His support feels generally heartening, especially since we hardly know each other.

The thought of trying to become Ed's friend has crossed my mind. We have at least a couple things in common. He likes gourmet tea and has some good knowledge about how to brew it, which I haven't encountered much these days. Also, he wants to get a projection TV and likes his home theater. I don't really know much else that we might have in common, but he seems like a relatively cool guy.

I won't try too hard, though. After all, I'll be moving, and the whole not telling my whole story could become a little uncomfortable when it finally comes out. Or something like that. I guess, in the long run, the benefits of making him as a friend doesn't really file like the benefits would be come worth it.

Random Thought or Two

I've done some thinking about not so fortunate people and immigrants and such. In the class, at least one of the instructors has let his opinion known about the whole controversy about people trying to get flood coverage under their homeowners policies, even though homeowners policies don't give flood coverage. Many people I've encountered in the insurance industry have expressed their pity for the people down in New Orleans, but they really get angry about these people trying to get something they haven't paid for in the past.

A friend of mine in NH volunteered for the Red Cross then got shipped down to Houston for a couple weeks. After getting back, she told me some interesting stories about how things had gotten very tense down there, on the ground. Essentially, people feel like they should be getting more support and help than they're getting.

In regards to the immigrant thing, as I've said previously, I've gotten annoyed with the platitude that people say about if people come to America, they should learn to speak English. Yesterday, an Asian guy gave me this platitude.

I haven't done any huge amount of deep thinking about these topics. Today, though, in response to all this stuff, I just felt this huge emotion of pity that these disenfranchised people who don't necessarily have money and skills can get entrenched in this disenfranchisement. A lot of times, these people don't have the responsibility for ending up disenfranchised except for some existential responsibility for trying their damndest to improve their situation. Even then, though, no matter how much some people try, they still get disenfranchised just because they simply don't have the economic, social or knowledge capital to learn how to make things better for themselves and their community. Even more distressing, as one case study I read for school, sometimes a person has to make an existential Faustian deal by abandoning their community or family to make things better just for themselves.

And this emotion and intellectual realization just throws me down into thinking that somehow, somewhere something is fundamentally wrong that causes a lot of suffering. Very Buddhist, I know, but I feel it.

Not much more thoughts on that. I just have done some thinking and feeling on this one, perhaps for years and years. After reflecting on it, though, I just tell myself that I really can't make more of a difference until I finish and publish my novel and possibly do the same thing with my thesis.

But anyway. . .I should probably get on with things. I have to study for this test, after all, which really doesn't have to do with my overall plan to try ease suffering. . .even if on some level, I do help to mitigate the suffering of the propertied.

Darn. . .I'm a jerk. =D

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