Grappling with others – as rational actors?

Day 6: Monday

Morning, Tim!

I hope the weather has improved, and, if you are sick, I hope you feel much better. If you are writing about not admitting to sickness just for fun, and aren’t sick at all…well I suppose I hope you stay well, but more importantly want you to know how truly impressed at the boldness and reach for a good bit to write about.

Not sure what kind of sickness you might be experiencing. But, particularly in light of you being in Italy, I hope it’s not a stomach bug, as I’m just going to leave this here.

Visiting family was lovely. Weather, you’ll be pleased to hear, was beautiful.

img_0817-2

Is it good for us to disagree? Not you and I, specifically; I mean it more in the the Royal us (is there such a thing?) Weather is fairly agreeable in fact, but not in kind – while we both likely have a phone app that tells us the temperature, you may think it pleasant at 80°F. For me that would make my walk to work an absolute disaster. Similarly, your enjoyment of rain and clouds may be understandably disliked by others (at least those who, again, like me, don’t always bring an umbrella and sit at work for hours with drinched clothes). It seems we should try to disagree more, Tim. By forcing ourselves to confront differences in others (and, by logical extension ourselves), we have the opportunity to see life from their perspective.

I’m in school, currently studying negotiations. My professor, discussing some of the differences in psychologists’ and economists’ viewpoints on rationality brought up the rational actor. I have read behavioral economists and can appreciate the perspective brought by psychologists on how individuals’ actions are not necessarily in line with economists predictions; however, the interesting piece I hadn’t fully grappled with was a counterargument that these individuals may well be acting rationally, if only we understood their full perspective. While I’m not sure how well that counterargument holds up (and will continue to read to further understand), it has kept me thinking. While it’s obviously impossible to truly understand all that is impacting another, it seems that part of being human is to be relational with others; if that is the case, better understanding their actions may mean better understanding the circumstances leading to that action, understanding the differences in background or opinion that have lead to that choice. Despite male or female, urban or rural, national or foreign, race, height, aesthetic beauty, marital status, talent for sports, or ability for humor (among countless others), perhaps making diversity a priority (a pillar, if you will) isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Until tomorrow,

Zak

p.s. the Swordfish fighting video was so far under half of what I was hoping for. I would have preferred Knifefish fighting to that. Or a grape Blow Pop. Man those things are good…

Guilty Pleasures

Day 5: Friday

Good morning Zak,

So it seems like we are starting to find our stride.  This blog is mainly a place for stimulating conversation about the weather.  Zak, just like every great enterprise, this project of ours needs a strong sense purpose.  I think the promotion of fair and balanced meteorological discourse is a great purpose. You can learn a lot about a person from asking their take on the weather.  It’s one of the deeper conversations that people can have.  The only thing to look out for is bias.  One-sidedness is a major problem with many forecasting sources.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, Zak, but sometimes when I’m sick I do this thing where I, um, don’t admit to being sick.  I don’t really know why I do it.  Some people enjoy not being upfront just for the heck of it.  I don’t think I’m one of those people.  I do this sometimes even when I’m clearly not fooling anyone.  My eyes will be all glossy, and my voice will sound like a frog who spends most of his income of Camels.  But ask me and I still won’t say I’m sick.  Plenty of people I respect are occasionally sick. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of confessing to it, but I’ll be quicker to discuss just about anything else.

Swordfish fighting is totally a thing, but it’s not half of what you think it is…

There’s a new president-elect in America, and everyone I meet in Italy keeps asking me about him.  I usually change the topic to the weather.  Zak, I wonder how closely you followed Italy’s election of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.  Remember the one where he did that thing?  If you missed it, I’m sure there are reruns on TBS.

“Please don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr Worthing. Whenever people talk about the weather, I am sure they mean something else.” -Gwendolen, The Importance of Being Ernest

Maybe if Americans spent more time talking about the weather we would agree with each other more often.  I mean you can say it’s cloudy when the sun is shining, but you clearly aren’t fooling anyone.  People have all kinds of guilty pleasures, though.  For some people it’s chocolate, for others it’s calendar pages, and I totally realize that someone somewhere is bound to take sick satisfaction in lying about the weather.  As you know Zak, this is an inclusive blog, and I certainly don’t mean to judge that one person.  I’m just pointing out that weather is something even very tendentious people can struggle to argue about.

As far as entertainment value goes, these days non-fiction political discourse might even be able to compete with fictional weather forecasting.

It’s kind of raining today in Milan, and I don’t have an umbrella.  It’s cold out.  I’m staying inside because of how well I feel.

Until Monday,

Tim

Stop and Enjoy the … Weather?

Day 4: Thursday

Morning, Tim!

Do you carry an umbrella when it rains? I’m picturing something with a wonderfully curved, wooden handle — sleek, black, perhaps “modern chic” (it is Milan after all)? I’m curious just what it means to “kind of like the rain and the clouds.”

I’m not sure if it would do the meteorologically judgmental people any good to point out that, unless they are airplane pilots or astronauts, there’s a pretty good chance they spend most of their lives under the weather.  Like it or not.

My immediate thought was “ahh some wit!” But then, this can’t be right. Even if one is an airplane pilot or astronaut, they live no more under the weather than anyone else; all of us simply live in it (with acknowledgement, my dear brother, that an astronaut may have brief periods of escape).

And this living in is something I’ve enjoyed about life, about weather. We are in it, fully immersed; and, importantly, we are in it together, whether we like it or not. Through good times and bad, we weather what comes our way, and make choices about how to respond, how to move forward.

I get to visit some family today – I’m reminded how blessed I am to have support when weathering what can feel like the rollercoaster of life. That support includes the relationship we get to have, Tim, bantering away, simply sharing in life’s adventures together here on Thily Fin!

Wise old Tom is right – there really is “a lot of weather out there.” And because we get to choose how we respond – perhaps to dance in the park, to kiss in the rain, to learn diligently about others – we should pause and reflect, reflecting on the supports around us, on the response we want to give to the adventure we are on.

Until tomorrow,

Zak

 

A Lot of Weather

Day 3: Wednesday

Good morning Zak,

My initial plan was to use this blog mostly for conversations about the weather.  If you want to throw in some of the nuts and bolts of financial modeling, then do your thing but don’t go over board.  I mean, Zak, we can spice things up a little bit, but let’s not give our readers more than they can handle.

So we’ve had some rainy weather recently here in Milan, and the other day I was walking home in some of that rain, when the cross-walk sign in front of me turned yellow.  Normally I would run across the street in a situation like that, but there was a couple walking in front of me, taking their time and… enjoying themselves.

Some people say that “bad” weather makes them a bit down.  English speakers even say that they are “under the weather” whenever they’re not feeling one hundred percent.  I’ve always kind of liked the rain and the clouds.  I’m not sure if it would do the meteorologically judgmental people any good to point out that, unless they are airplane pilots or astronauts, there’s a pretty good chance they spend most of their lives under the weather.  Like it or not.

In the park there was a lady singing and a dude plucking a guitar under a plastic awning.  Random people were stopping and doing their best to dance and not slip on the wet cobblestone walkway.  On Saturday I had seen a performance of The Marriage of Figaro at Milan’s world famous opera house, La Scala.  But nobody in the audience had gotten up to dance.  I guess sometimes bad singing is better than good singing.

Milanese Cobblestone Walkway

Zak, you might wonder why so many great artists throughout history have come from Italy.  At the Conservatory they’ll tell you it’s because the Italians use really good technique, I think it’s mainly because they stop to kiss each other in the rain when the walking sign in front of them is about to change to red.

At this point some of our more creative readers are asking themselves, “is this post somehow about the election?”  I’m not here to judge you, creative readers; I’m not here to judge anyone.  I know the world revolves around the red and blue of US politics, so consider this my acknowledgment of the elephant in the room.  Make whatever you will of things, but if you’re tired of the world of politics, consider entering a different world.

Tom Skilling seems to capture my sentiments very well every time he comes on channel 9 and says, “there’s a lot of weather out there.”  That’s precisely the situation.  Traveling the world is showing me that there is a lot of weather out there.  It’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing.  It’s just kind of interesting.  Zak, let’s hope for more weather soon.

Until tomorrow,

Tim