Monday, June 24, 2013

early thirsty re: your community, your crew, your comrades, your tribe, your peeps

I'm part of a group that regularly discusses whatever the Christian Science Monitor publishes.  I don't think any of us are Christians or Christian Scientists, but we are hooked on the CSMonitor.  We've all been reading it for decades.  They get me, I get them.

So that's one of my tribes--and one that probably actually matters to me more than the American Association of Hamsterfurology or most of my fellow proffies in my school's Department of

And family matters to me.  For better or for worse, they are my clan.

Some others will go without mention.

Q. What are your most meaningful communities?  Church?  Russian mobsters?  Friends from high school, uni, grad school?  The guys you've been drinking coffee with every morning for years at that cheap restaurant?  Who is your most meaningful community?  Is there one you expect to endure until you die?  Is there one you would recommend to the rest of us lost souls?

A. ____________________________________________
Don't mention the other three of us at CM.  We know how important we are to you.
And don't mention your fellow hamsterfurologists--unless the mere mention of them literally makes your mouth water and your loins lubricate.
Be honest, dammit.


  1. For most of the time while I was teaching, I was busy adding to my educational qualifications. I didn't have much time between my job and being a part-time grad student for extra-curricular activities.

    I joined Mensa about half-way through and I attended a few gatherings. Many of the discussions we had were interesting and some even became wild and woolly.

  2. I'm not really a joiner of "club" like activities. The very idea of a sorority--or anything like it (like Junior Auxiliary) makes my flesh crawl. I went to Overeaters Anonymous once, and after that I decided I'd rather die a fatty.

    But I have a couple of online communities I'm a part of--including CM, which I love. I participate in a couple of steady activities at church--one Bible study group has been meeting for years with a regular bunch of people, and others float in and out.

    1. So "Bible study group" is a euphemism for "sorority."

    2. Only if we start drinking heavily and performing bizarre public rituals...wait...oh dear...

    3. My answer would be pretty similar (well, except that I've never tried OA, though every once in a while somebody cheerfully tries to welcome me into the chapter that meets at our church, and I have to point out that I'm in the building for a church meeting. Besides, not only am I not much of a joiner, I also have a pretty healthy relationship to food -- thanks in part, I suspect, to not having dieted much. In my experience, that's a pretty good way of becoming obsessed with food if one isn't already). I'm a longtime member of a church community, and of several subgroups within that community (choir, the Christian Education committee, a small group that includes Bible study among its activities). And i enjoy online community, though it does have its limitations.

      I also have a few close friendships, mostly formed during grad school, that are sustaining (but I wish we formed a group as cool-sounding as Proffie G's WISE Asses. That group needs to form some spinoffs.)

  3. I second Stella on the "joiner" thing and on loving this CM community. My handful of friends and trusted relatives (emotionally trusted, that is) are enough most of the time, and I expect these relationships to endure until I die.

    Sometimes helping out with my kids' sports and school activities lets me meet kindred spirits, and right now we've got a good "family" going in support of a mercifully low-key team.

    And then there's my WISE Ass group*: four moms with Ph.D.s teaching at community colleges in far-flung corners of the state. We overlapped in grad school but only two of us were close friends at the time. Two are department chairs; two continue to publish research; three are involved in statewide disciplinary fol-de-rol; all have insane family members. Most importantly, we all enjoy wine-tasting, antique-browsing, bluegrass-listening, and dude-ranching, all of which are conveniently located in the exact geographic center of us. Those are very special weekends with about equal parts kvetching and laughing till we fall down.

    *Women Into Surviving Education Association

  4. PG, your WISE Ass group weekends sound like heaven!

    We foreigners tend to stick together at Across the Seas U, and we have a great time. But it tends to be a rotating cast of characters, since very few of them are personally invested in the country through research or family. I have been around long enough to see good friends come and go, sometimes with very little notice, and it makes more permanent connections difficult.

    But I do have a small circle of grad school peeps "back home" with whom I try vailantly to Skype with some regularity despite how geographically scattered we've become. Those friendships could very well last forever.

  5. My partner and I have been active for a few years in the local traditional music community, both contra dance and Celtic. The area has a thriving and widespread interest in contra dance, with weekly jams for us musicians and in the summer, a weekly outdoor dance that anyone can join, either as a dancer or as part of the band (we're both musicians). There's also a weekly jam just for musicians and another Irish session at a local bar.

    There probably aren't many towns like this, so I suppose this pretty much tells you where we live :-)

  6. It's church for me.

    We live about 300 miles from the nearest relatives we could impose on in an emergency, but there are several people we know at church who we could call at 3 A.M. if we had to.

  7. I'm not sure I have one.

    I've got a handful of good friends, mostly inside the Ivory Tower, my partner, my kid. That's sort of it.

    I suspect I'm not unusual; book types tend to be introverts.

  8. I'm not sure I have one.

    I've got a handful of good friends, mostly inside the Ivory Tower, my partner, my kid. That's sort of it.

    I suspect I'm not unusual; book types tend to be introverts.

  9. I don't have very many. I'm closest to my actual family (husband, sisters, mom) and I have a couple of friends that I've know my entire life that I keep in touch with, even though we all live far apart. Otherwise, I have a couple of online groups that I've made friends in, but that's it.

  10. I don't have a "tribe", in the sense of a group of like-minded friends that meet regularly. Most of the time I don't think about it, unless I'm made aware that some people have such groups.(Way to go, Bubba and PG!)

    Early on I had friends in the dept (all older than me) but one by one they left, and the remaining people I can't really relate to (uncritical about academics or politics). My partner is similarly isolated. Yet we're really nice people, who had no problem making friends in other places where we've lived. The area of the country where we are now has nothing to do with us, so we're working on moving.

    I don't do religion. Online... there was another "online community" in which we were active for a while. But if you never get to meet people in person, and only interact along one dimension (and as an anonymous "internet profile"), it gets old fairly quickly. I've enjoyed participating in CM, and it is a natural "tribe" for me, but again, it is very limited.

  11. I've got a few meaningful communities in my life. I'll not count friends I made during elementary through high school nor the friends I made in the meat grinder called grad school, but there are two groups that matter quite a bit.

    The first community is my fraternity brothers. Not all of them, of course--there are fellows from our time as active members that I wouldn't piss on if their hair was afire and they were screaming for mercy...and for a few of those guys I might volunteer to light the match--but my close fraternity brothers and I are still tight, even almost 20 years gone.

    The second community is an online group that I've been involved with for over a decade. It started out as a public forum on a friend's music review website, and it evolved into a private chat board. Over the years, members have come and gone, but a stable core of members is still around, and we've become friends, even though many, if not most, of us have never met in person. I don't post to the board all that often, but I check it every day.

  12. I'm pretty connected to a couple of different bicycle-related subcultures which gives me some rather different social circles to play and/or drink within occasionally. A regular pub-quiz night. Splintered subgroups of academics with whom I have other shared non-academic interests-- brewing, hiking, music, etc.


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