Tue 13 Dec 2005
I arrived at the Carlisle House to some new faces. I walked around and greeted many people, and spoke with some for extended periods of time. This took the majority of time, going from conversation to conversation. There was a woman working on her crafts, and another woman sweeping up that I spoke with as well as those in the common area. The conversations I shared were mostly about Dickinson, but some of the longer ones were about the sudden change in weather, hurricane Katrina, or favorite hobbies. I proceeded to mingle in the TV room until I realized that the people in there would probably rather be watching TV. The rest of my time was spent saying goodbye.
Though the previous paragraph is not very descriptive, it was a rather bland day in terms of what I participated in. I basically spoke with people having not had a specific goal in mind for when I came. There were other activities going on but I did not want to participate in them, I had rather wanted to get good conversations. As far as my socializing, it was interesting to hear what people had to say about subjects I occasionally brought up, including Katrina and the weather. Some times we would be speaking on one subject and seemingly randomly skip to another. For example, one man I spoke with talked about Cadilacs for twenty minutes. I found these changes of pace very odd but when I thought about it very similar to the course of my conversations in the Dickinson caf. The most interesting things were said about Katrina. They were most interesting because I heard very constructive ideas on what should be done, and what has happened- and not simply a spouting of information of the TV. Some people spoke with such lucidity that I was surprised I expected otherwise.
Between the way I spent my time and the reactions and conversations I recieved due to it I was very surprised. I had expected very little out of menial conversations, and recieved much more than I had expected. The very interesting facet of it all is that I would expect more boring conversations out of a social cocktail than those I recieved at Carlisle House. I have been milling it over in my head since yesterday, and also considering what I would write here, and looked over my notes from The Dismodern Body. I discovered that this experience was very similar to the epitome of Motherless Brooklyn. In Motherless Brooklyn, the protagonist has much more inside than he expresses, and in fact quite opposite to this he expresses much more on the outside than whats really going on. I found in some of the longer conversations truly deep ideas that can only be heard with an open ear, one that Lyonel wasn’t given until the end of the novel. I found this to be a perfect real-life example of what I thought was a romanticism of Tourrette’s Syndrome- except not in people with Tourrette’s.