It’s weekend, baby. Actually, I barely noticed it’s weekend – it’s also summer holiday.
I was lazy all morning and afternoon, and it was only around 4PM that my day really got starting. Went to one of the local fast food joints to get a big and greasy meal. Chicken wings, a burger, zero Coke and fries with curry, mayo and onions.
I overestimated my eating capability, it’s not what it used to be. After regretfully parting with part of my order, I went on my way.
Went to the bookstore to see if I could get a copy of one of the Lingua Latina per se Illustrata series. I couldn’t. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to re-learn Latin, so I used the internet.
I like to stream while Duolingo-ing, it keeps me focused because if I suspect I’ve got an audience, I will want to look smart. Enjoyed learning, picked up some new words, and that’s what matters.
This is where the magic formula comes in:
If I increase the amount of people I can talk to I usually decrease my attention span on the topic at hand.
After mint tea, a large affogato, water, Latin, some light reading and a mixed berry smoothie I ordered a Tagalog language course, partly because I want to be able to understand what my family on my father’s side writes on Facebook.
The library closed and it was time to go. I was an hour early for a meetup with a friend, so I went to the bar we usually meet up early. I sat outside, where there was a family drinking alcohol and being passive-aggressive to each other. My friend came, he had some beers, I had some cola, we had a good chat and some laughs.
1. When I am alone I study more diligently
Yes, I have tried studying with a friend, but it’s different than studying alone.
When alone I do not have to worry about social frills and can focus on the material. I can (apparently) sit in the library and do Latin for an hour, instead of wondering whether my friend wants more tea.
Learning skills have often not been on the same level when I try to study with others – sometimes I’m the one comparatively struggling and sometimes I’m the one carrying the load – so I have had different experiences.
Doing mental work when alone is a good solution for me.
I know that if I am focused, I will stay focused for a while; if lose my attention on the other hand, it is up to me to get back to work. In school a lot of effort was given to teamwork, which is not bad per se – good ideas can spring from working together – but my best work is simply done when working on a project alone.
Alone I can set my own pace, I create my own schedule: I tow my own cart. It is then that the spirit of self government comes in: Nobody is going to force me to do any work, but if I don’t force myself, the work is not going to get done.
2. Add one or two people and that makes for conversation and coziness
The meetup with the friend was very cozy. Gezellig, even. We had cheese and drinks and were able to convey thoughts and political stances to each other.
I thought to myself: “It is easier to carry a good conversation when I’m with less friends at a time than it is when I am with more friends“. Why?
Because when the amount of people stays at or below a certain, magical number (3) it is possible to listen to each other. When you listen, you can place yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to really understand him. Then you can apply your own principles and opinions and whatnot and react. He, in his turn, tries to understand you and reacts to you, voila, you have a good conversation.
Understanding might be the key to coziness, but I’d have to think about that statement.
Of course sometimes the conversation derails, that’s natural. No fun in talking about the same topic sociably with someone for three hours at a time.
3. Add more and you have a party
So deep into the meetup with the friend at the bar (to get to the diary at hand) we texted some other guys whether they wanted to come. There were propositions made, there were negotiations; but it was already late.
At first, I was a bit disappointed because it would have been a party, but I soon blessed the evening, paid, and we went home.
>3 people is a party, but rarely a good conversation. In my experience conversations are short and quickly change topics. However, with >3 people it’s less awkward to dance and that’s that shit I do like.
Conclusion: Be alone when you have to study, keep it minimal if you need to have a good conversation, and scale it up when you want to get loose.
Until the next time.
P.S.: I found out one of the writers of the Tagalog course is also a singer songwriter. This is a song about longing in a beautiful rendition: