Vacation: All I ever wanted!

Cape Cod Bay, Wellfleet MA.

So, today was the first day I have taken off from work since that ill-fated trip to Italy back in April. Of course, it wasn’t exactly a vacation because the purpose of it was to start plunging myself further into the question of the psychological reality of language. (any commenters who feel like writing that the answer is totally obvious should know that responses consisting of: a) “it makes sense that it would be,” b) Noam Chomsky says it is or c) Steven Pinker says it is, are NOT sufficient explanations for a theory.)
Anyway, it was, in short, a long, not-as-productive-as-it-should-have-been day, involving three venti Starbucks, one coffee I made at home, 2 cups of green tea, 2.5 quarts of Target-brand diet lemonade, immense confusion and a subtle waft of self-dissatisfaction.

However, by time I left Starbucks at 9pm (the 4th Venti of the day was decaf…I know, I swore I never would…), the panic I’d been wrapping in a well-worn box of ambivalence and numbness was pleading to bust out. Now, it’s never a good idea to open presents 3 weeks before Christmas. Fortunately, tonight, the lovely gift of Catastrophic Thinking was kept in place by a phone call from one of my oldest friends, K.

I’ve known K since we were tiny cells inside our teenage mothers. K’s family brought my mom to Cape Cod when she was a teenager, and both of our mothers (and our aunts) brought us back when we were little.

K has always been incredibly honest and ridiculously smart. I remember that K was the first person to whom I ever confessed that I thought I beginning to go through puberty. She said, “I don’t think so. In fact, your stomach is a lot bigger than your chest.”

Incidentally, she was right. I turned out to be quite a late bloomer. Also, the point she made is still true about me today. I guess some things never change, so it doesn’t surprise me that when she called tonight, even though we haven’t really spoken in several years, we were able to pick off not just where we left off (with her wearing pants to the beach and intimidating me with her designer sunglasses), but in a way better place. And by better place, I mean that the Cliffs Notes of our conversation goes something like this:

K: How are you?
RB: Um, Freaking Out.
K: Don’t worry! Here’s why[insert copious evidence here….]
RB: You know what you’re right!
K: You’re awesome!
RB: No, You’re awesome.
K: Everything always looks different from the outside.
RB: Truer words were never said.
K: You’ll be fine.
RB: I only believe it because YOU said it.

And who said language wasn’t real? I mean, seriously…

Anyway, I’ve thought before there is special relationship you have with people who you knew when you were both unfertilized eggs, and this certainly “proves” it (Although, if this were a philosophy paper, you’d all be welcome to point out that I have not actually “proved” anything.) Perhaps my far smarter friend K will able to offer you some better logic with her guest blog, coming in the next few days. Stay tuned.

Finally, in case you clicked on “Italy” and “Cape Cod” in the hyperlinks above, have read my awesome Travel Tales and are craving more travel, check out a great Winter Getway: Yosemite National Park.

Because everybody loves “Vacation.”


6 thoughts on “Vacation: All I ever wanted!

  1. Isn’t it great to have dear friend like that who can make thing feel better, or right, just by pointing out that things are okay? I love that. And regarding the question of the psychological reality of language: Chomsky and Pinker say it would make sense that it would be, so it’s obvious. (or something like, if our thoughts and thereby our mental states, our psychies, are constructed using language… Well, you know where that one goes.)

  2. Best moment of Italy Travel Tale, RIP travel tales:“A city dweller since birth, I have an uncanny knack for confusing donkeys with cows and goats with pigs, but my confusion provided occasional amusement for us on the four-hour train ride.”

  3. Uncle Eb-“or something like, if our thoughts and thereby our mental states, our psychies, are constructed using language… Well, you know where that one goes.”this is actually still a subject of debate, namely does thought actually have priority over language, ie, which came first, the chicken or the egg? If thought has priority, it’s conceivable that either a)language is only real in our psychology, a “mentalese” language or b) our mentalese matches closely with our external language, suggesting (via many steps I won’t go into here) that while our thoughts are psychologically real, the “public language” is externally real, independent of our psychology.I hope no one in my program reads my blog, because I probably totally botched that.

  4. I am eagerly awaiting Kristen’s blog, too! I think it’s so great that you both are still in contact after all these years!


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