The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, December 08, 2003  

But There Are Larger Questions

I don’t know what reminded me of this particular remark today, but several months ago I was having lunch with a friend during which I made an offhand, but apparently interesting (to her), comment I no longer can recall.

And while I don’t remember what I said, I remember, and probably always will, her response: “You notice everything,” she said. “You see everything.”

No one had ever said that to me before, or anything like it, and I was taken aback.

Her remarks have stayed with me.

Mulling her aspirations in hindsight I see now, in the midst of organizing my things in preparation for what I dread will be an inevitable move out of Philadelphia and into the middle of nowhere, that I have notes, notebooks, jottings, and unfinished projects -- and a year plus of two different weblogs -- that indicate my friend wasn’t merely “close” in her observation, she was dead on.

I do notice, I realized, if not everything, at least a lot, and probably much more than the “average” person, I think.

Is this the inevitable fate of the introvert? The unavoidable destiny of the usually quiet guy who stands back . . . observing? Or is it something more?

Should I pursue this strange thing, one I’m hesitant to call a gift, assuming it even exists? Shall I follow the safe, secure path, or the take-a-chance route? Should I just get a job as a waiter or a car salesman or apply for one of those jobs at Home Depot, about the only positions for which I feel even remotely qualified lately?

Now and then I look back on my life so far and after doing so I think that every time I’ve had to make a big decision I’ve made the wrong one. So I suppose I should sit down and write out and then weigh all of the positives and negatives of each option before me and, when I’ve reached my decision, write that decision down.

And then do the exact opposite.

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