For context, read this post: New Orleans (Part 1 of 3).
On Monday evening, the entire conference met up with the General Assembly (kind of a modern and non-fictional Elders of Zion) at Mardi Gras World for a celebration with music, good food and a chance to check out the artistic pieces and floats used each year for Mardi Gras. Mardis Gras World is a massive warehouse located right on the Mississippi River that stores all of the floats and decorations for the festival. MGW’s coolest room by far is a massive star-lit chamber with high ceilings, trees and even rivers and bridges. I was almost convinced that we were truly outside and I stared at the ceiling trying to figure it out for a good five minutes.
Seeing Neshama Carlebach and the Green Pastures Baptist Choir headline the event was a nice treat that brought a piece of the Bayit to me, and I ran into a few friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time as well. One of them made two comments/questions about my travels that I thought worthy of repeating and responding to here:
1- “You speak about the people back in the New York area who are so busy with work and family like it’s a bad thing. But a lot of them are enjoying what they do!” – Traveling and exploring full time isn’t for everyone and isn’t an ideal to live up to. It’s our decision and something that we are thrilled to be doing. For the individuals who are busy working in med school or pulling 80 hour weeks in finance but are happy with their choices, I don’t judge their decisions. But I do stand by my statement that – to me – they make kind of boring friends since they have no time to hang out. Therefore I wish them well and would love to hear from them in the future, but I prefer our current company to that of certain people with whom I once interacted back home. (And Yair just chimed in that – given the choice – he still thinks those people would rather not be at their desks all day.)
2- “You didn’t know that [name removed] spent the past year in Australia? Don’t you feel so out of the loop?” Yes and no. I like the person who was studying abroad a lot and would have wanted to hear about her experiences. I do use Facebook, which can be a great way to stay in touch with friends or casually check in on acquaintances from high school. And along the same lines, I often wish that others had a blog so that this process didn’t always feel so one-way. Yet at the same time, I value quality over quantity. I recently visited NY and made an effort to see the five or six friends that I feel closest to. Many of the rest are fun acquaintances. While I am sometimes a social bunny, being in NY at the hub of the Jewish community is often overwhelming and distracting – like a lot of excess noise. In other words, people who spend less than five minutes on “Hi! How are you?”-ing me before getting distracted, going to chat with someone else, ditching me to check out the newly-refreshed smorgasbord or not bothering with a proper goodbye… those are the individuals who I have no real need to be “in the loop with”.
One final wrap-up New Orleans post to come!
posted by ayo