Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What's it like?

I was on the phone to a friend in the U.S. the other day, and he stopped me in my tracks with a single question: "what's it like?" A simple question, but one to which I had no simple answer. For some reason, it reminded me of another question that people sometimes ask, which always stops me in my tracks, despite its relatively innocuous nature: "what do you do in your spare time?". I don't know why that question bugs me, but it does, for some reason. It's not that I don't find things to occupy myself in my spare time - of course I do, and I never seem to have enough "spare time" - it's something about being called to account for it, having to come up with a list of "spare time activities" that will pass muster, make me not seem totally weird, or a pathetic loner. Should I admit to - God forbid - liking to read? If I say, "listening to music", am I then obliged to come up with some acceptable list of the kind of music I listen to.

The previous paragraph could probably only have been written by an INTJ (see earlier post). There's the implicit impatience with small talk, coupled with the fatal tendency to overthink everything. At some level I understand perfectly that these questions are not conversational traps for the unwary, that they serve the role of conversation-fillers as much as anything else, and to allow myself to be tripped up by them is silly. But still, there's always that tendency to overthink things.

But I do think the question "what's it like?" is at least potentially more interesting than what I do in my "spare time".

The short answer is "It's terrific. I'm having a blast". And maybe I should just leave it at that. But if I did that, then this blog would be a whole lot shorter.

So I will return to the question of "what it's like". But right now, it's a glorious afternoon in Madrid. So I think it would be foolish not to take advantage. Hasta luego, folks!

The plain people of Ireland: That's it?! But you´ve said nothing at all. Taken your time about it too.
The management: Clever of you to notice. But it's best to leave my readers asking for more, don't you think?

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