Friends of Mine

Apparently, grad school is the place to be these days, as most of my friends are opting for 2, 3, or 5 more years of book learnin’. Great for them, but it has left us all scattered across the country (or at least California), which makes it hard to all live together in a big house by an angry sea.

The current geographic isolation leads to much talk of where we should all live in 3-5 years when reunion is possible. The list right now looks something like this:

  • Ann Arbor
  • Athens
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Barcelona
  • Bay Area
  • Boston
  • Brooklyn
  • Chicago
  • DC
  • Des Moines
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • Memphis
  • Minneapolis
  • New Orleans
  • Philadelphia
  • Portland
  • Seattle
  • Vancouver (is it hard to get Canadian Citizenship?)

Which is to say, no one has a clue, just vague impressions about a lot of places they’ve never visited. The hope is that if we choose the right place, we’ll be able to create enough overlap between people’s various needs for career, greenspace, public transit, food, ethnic presence, and weather that a convergence can occur. Hence the tendency to include a lot of random towns in the hope that they’ll be the one — despite the unliklihood (however humorous) that a bunch of kids from southern california, midwest, northwest, mountain west, and texas will start a commune in the south.

The big problem will always be jobs. Its hard to turn down an attractive job and jump into an unknown new place where prospects are unclear. As someone who’s highly employable in any reasonably sized town (or so I arrogantly think), it’s easy for me to brush aside these types of concerns, but they’re very real for most people. My hope is that setting a location now and beginning to group-plan will provide a focus for individual’s life-planning and lead to this actually happening.

But I don’t know. It’s ridiculously hard to plan your life with other people — even just the one extra person you get through marriage can be a strain for both people. You have to want it a lot. You have to be willing to sacrifice; to group-maximize at the expense of your narrow self-interest.

An argument for nuclear families is that only they, united by marriage and children, can conduct that kind of planning. I believe that affinity is enough. I guess this whole endeavor will be a sort of experiment to test that theory. Results forthcoming.

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