Jan 28, 2007


Last night, I had the chance to go out with some folks who I haven't seen for quite some time. The night was full of beer and a few heavy conversations. I'm very much of the mind that we don't have to agree with our friends and our peers all the time - I don't want to live in an echo chamber.

But I've long felt that the vital exchange of opinions, passions, and ideals should happen as much over dinner and drinks as in the board room or on a conference call. Not that we, the relatively privileged, should be talking about the movement as we are the ones who will lead it, but it's cool for us to debate and dialogue, no? And it's a wonderful way, sometimes, to learn more about what drives people in the work that they do.

So I got into such a discussion with a good friend, with the way paved smooth by about the equivalent of a pitcher of beer each. The dialogue stretched across a few things, of which I had limited knowledge, but strong convictions on a point related to what my friend was talking about (vague, I know - but if I start down the path of the content of the discussion, I'm not going to have a short post).

The point is - it's easy when talking about shit that you actually care about, to screw up a dialogue by speaking in your personal shorthand about one thing or another. And as I meet and build rapport with new friends, it's a reminder to me that I have to start from the trust-building position, even with new friends with whom I feel connected quickly. This is probably why we make fewer close friends as we get older (though this is another reason why our parents' generation is so amazing - given how they had to make a whole new set of friends when they came here in their thirties and forties, and think about how close they are to those uncles and aunties).

Anyway, the context is everything, I guess, and alcohol and a deep conversation about community make me forget that I'm speaking with someone new who could take my strong statements and intensity to mean that my position is intractable, my heart unmovable. It's been a long time. But given that I'm in whiter spaces than I've been in for many years through school, it's nice to take a break from that once in a while again - to kick back and consider the nation that we are hoping to help build...

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