One of the reasons that I never talk to people is that they almost always bring the conversation down to a low level. It's one of my greatest frustrations. Of course it happens in politics all the time, I want to talk about something like how we could actually get better regulation of corporations; obviously just putting Glass-Steagall back in place would be good, but you have to look at the underlying reason why that went away - too much political influence of the big banks, too much importance put on GDP; but besides that you have to ask why the free market is not regulating itself better. Why are private funds investing in hedge funds that charge such high fees and don't actually beat the S&P 500? Maybe it's just ignorance, or maybe they're getting kickbacks. And why aren't shareholders making sure that executives do what's in the best interest of the company? I think this is one of the most important things, there's a big problem with corporate boards and the whole shareholder-election process that isn't being addressed; boards are full of cronies and are failing in their oversight. When's the last time you ever heard of a board shaking up a major company because it was being run badly? Never!
Anyway, I want to talk about something interesting, and instead I get, "but regulation is bad" , uhh , okay, that view is fine, but how about some actual content, if you want to disagree tell me something interesting. No, "mmm I don't like the idea of bigger government". Umm, okay, why not? how about some ideas about how it could be controlled in other ways. No. The conversation is brought down to a boring low level.
Or, even when you're talking to smart people, they will often go into this annoying pedantic correction mode; they don't want to let you be right about anything so they pick some little irrelevant detail to squabble about, like "urm you didn't actually mean GDP, you meant GNP, that's a common mistake". Umm, okay, maybe that's true, if it is true you could make your correction interesting by explaining yourself a bit, or you could just shut the fuck up because it's not germane to the point I'm trying to make and it just drags the conversation down into semantics.
I also really don't like talking to people about a topic that they obviously don't care enough to actually learn. When I find somebody who really knows something about a topic and can teach me, I am ecstatic, I want to pick their brain, first of all I want to get references and do the reading so I can get up on the background material because I don't want to waste their time going over stuff anybody could teach me. I enjoy teaching myself, but find that people who actually want to learn are very rare. Most people just want to rant about some topic they don't actually know anything about. I'll offer "well if you'd like to learn I can point you to.." oh no, I'll just rant without learning thank you. Okay, I'm done with this conversation. Or you get the people who think they're an expert and because of that don't want to listen to anything you have to say. I mean, I know perfectly well that I think I'm an expert on lots of things that I'm probably not, but I still want to learn. If you actually have new insight that I haven't figured out, that's fantastic, please give it to me.
In other stressful news, one of the neighbors just bought their child a drum kit.
Despite my past complaints about the god damn home improvers, it's actually a very quiet neighborhood. For one thing we aren't afflicted by that common Seattle blight of being near "musicians". (Seattle has perhaps the highest per-capita of amateur bands in the US, which sounds good in theory but is actually fucking terrible, because they practice). It's kind of amusing when you just go for walks around the neighborhood; in our neighborhood there's a guy who plays accordian about a block away who's quite good actually, and a guy who jams on electric guitar really loud about two blocks away. (though it doesn't beat where I lived in SF, where down the block from me some older guys would hang out in their garage and play really good jazz).
Giving a child drums should really be illegal. I mean, you could practice on those "Rock Band" style fake drums until you're decent; once you're decent the sound is not so bad, but there's something in particular about an instrument being played badly that is just excruciating and hard to tune out.