Friday, October 29, 2010

The Adult Paradigm

I've had a bad week. Some good things* happened, but I can't stop dwelling on the bad ones. I think having "bad weeks" might be part of the Adult Paradigm.

The Adult Paradigm is something Allen came up with, but I think John has the best example. Once when he was 17 or 18, I think, he was in a restaurant with his dad and a friend/colleague of his dad's, and they bought him a beer. Before John had finished it, his dad and the friend stood up to go. John clearly hesitated, and the friend looked at him and said, meaningfully (at least in John's memory or my memory of the telling), You don't have to finish your drink. Boom, teenage mind blown, welcome to the Adult Paradigm.

I've been trying to get Allen to do a guest blog about the Adult Paradigm, but he either doesn't remember what it is or I misunderstood what he meant by it. In my mind, it's a sudden shift to a different worldview, as palpable as suddenly getting a foot taller. In the Adult Paradigm, a dollar's worth of beer is not important. If you asked Allen he's probably say the Adult Paradigm is stuff like dropping abstract non sequiturs into conversation. (That's a bit more "adults in the movies" to me.)

*E.g., I've got some new poems at Everyday Genius.

22 comments:

  1. sorry you're having a bad week. mine wasn't so good either, but i'm just feeling sorry for myself.

    "the best thing about being an adult: if i want a cookie, i have a cookie." --seinfeld

    is that the kind of thing you mean?

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  2. Yes, except I don't really agree with that statement. I think adults agonize more over whether or not to have a cookie than kids do.

    One of my favorite things about being an adult is being able to "go to the bar" if there's a wait for a table at a restaurant. Just sitting in the lobby and waiting was always excruciating for me as a kid. Waiting for anything was excruciating.

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  3. well when you're a kid, some adult is always telling you, no, you'll ruin your appetite. in adulthood, there's no authority over your dietary choices.

    i can't remember the last time i had to wait for a table at a restaurant. pretty sure it was in indiana.

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  4. I understand the intention, I just don't think it's that simple.

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  5. "People in other countries are starving, and you're just going to throw away half a beer?"

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  6. i like those poems by the way. i think it's because i don't understand them at all:)

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  7. Liking what you don't understand is part of the adult paradigm.

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  8. So is not understanding what you like.

    Nice poems, btw. (Is each paragraph intended as a separate poem? Does it matter?) I'm reminded of a not-so-adult paradigm I recently had to shift out of, which is telling people to go fuck themselves -- usually for no good reason -- after a few drinks. Mostly because it's a delightful phrase, although in practice it tends to get you into awkward situations.

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  9. They're each intended to be separate, yes, but they work much better if you read a few at once.

    It's not something I really say a lot in practice. I always reach for "Fuck you" first -- but they're decidedly different. I should try it on for size.

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  10. An important difference is that it's much easier to tell people to go fuck themselves in a totally nonchalant way. Sort of, *shrug*, yeah, go fuck yourself.

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  11. Also workable in those situations: Give me a fucking break (this just rolls off my tongue all the time, but come to think of it you say it more to the room, but in earshot of the intended)

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  12. i accidentally said fuck you to a manager at the restaurant i worked at in bloomington. it was supposed to be under my breath, but i guess my breath wasn't loud enough to cover my words.

    (i apologized.)

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  13. "Sorry! I meant it, but I didn't mean to say it."

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  14. That Swatch section tastes right, I am seeing those eyelash beads

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  15. Some adult paradigm things:

    Knowing how to get from one place to another (i.e. which bus to catch, which exit to take, where places are).

    Having a map and calendar in your head. (I don't keep a written calendar. Though if it's something important, I will sometimes write down the details at the back of a notebook.)

    Saying "We disagree" (or something similar) rather than persisting with an argument that won't end in agreement (or won't any time soon). This is a little different from "agreeing to disagree." This is more like insisting on the disagreement without chasing after it.

    These come to mind offhand. A few others too, though they're basically variations on the above.

    One of the things I've observed is that some people, when faced with adult-paradigm behavior by someone else, quickly revert to not-so-adult-paradigm behavior themselves. (I'll say calmly to someone, "We disagree," and they begin to sputter or sigh or reload to try to continue the argument. That sort of thing.)

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  16. I hardly ever shut down an argument with "We disagree," but I'm more likely to do that with people I don't know well.

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  17. yeah originally i think the AP didn't necessarily involve a sudden shift in perspective. but that seems like a perfectly valid way to experience/realize the AP.

    i agree that the john thing is a good example. however i think that there ended up being several dimensions to the AP and you might need several examples to cover all the archetypes. yeah maybe a full-blown blodgepost can clarify our thinking.

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  18. I remember the exact moment when I realized that my parents didn't really understand the world much better than I did, and I was only seven. That kind of thing has to be a part of the adult paradigm, too.

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  19. You poor thing! 7 is really too young to enter the Adult Paradigm...

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  20. I like the idea of the adult paradigm. Part of for me is a certain clarity about things and their relative scale of importance. You realize you can disagree with people and it's no big deal. You've seen the same things come and go and don't get quite as excited. But the really exciting, important things are even more important. None of that adolescent blasé attitude.

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  21. Mm, yes, I think part of it is a general lowering of expectations. But that means you're pleasantly surprised when something turns out to be exceptionally good.

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