Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trip Notes

Yesterday I joined the club of people who have flown halfway across the country and back on a single day, for the purpose of a business meeting*, on someone else's expense account, carrying nothing but a wallet and phone and wearing a suit. Here are some random notes from that trip.

People often get annoyed at crying babies. But think about it from the baby's point of view. They are in a bizarre alien atmosphere, completely separated from their familiar environment. They are constantly assaulted with a barrage of strange sights, smells and sounds. Unfamiliar and alien people are everywhere. In the natural habitat of the human baby, that kind of thing would only happen if they were lost, or being abducted. Human instinct says that babies should always be in a familiar place, surrounded by familiar people. This is one of many ways our instincts are not meant for the modern world.

I wonder if anthropologists have done studies comparing how often babies cry in hunter-gatherer tribes in a natural environment, compared to how often they cry in our odd artificial environment of civilization.

Speaking of artificial, my new dress shoes are horrible. They scraped a hole in my dress socks, and then started chafing my heel. The rotten things actually drew blood. There is dried blood on the inside top heel of my right shoe. And the soles are starting to visibly wear, after just a little bit of walking around.

When I got my Vibram Fivefingers shoes, I loved them. Now I wear them all the time, but I do not love them so much. I have gotten used to the benefits, and the minor annoyances loom larger. But today, after suffering through wearing and walking around in 'normal' shoes, an interesting thing happened. I did not fall in love with the Fivefingers again. Rather, I decided that I loathe and despise anything that is not a Fivefingers. This is a perfect example of hedonic adaptation.

It is easy to forget the wonders of civilization. I wonder if anyone else stopped to think how awesome it was that we were soaring above the clouds inside a giant fire-breathing metal beast. Looking down on clouds in the late afternoon or early morning is amazing. But until I stopped to reflect on this, my main thought were annoyance over a 90-minute delay.

*Technically it was a job interview, in my case.

1 comment:

1400 characters said...

Come to think of it, it's surprising more grown-ups don't cry on airplanes. Crying babies on planes never bother me -- perhaps because I'm a bit jealous how they're able to express themselves.