Sunday, August 2, 2009

these are the people in my neighborhood

I consider myself to be a pretty tolerant person. I like people. All sorts of people. Even red heads with metal plates around their collar bones. But that's neither here nor there.

Every morning when I wake up and walk to the train station I walk past our town square where a group of a dozen or so Chinese people are doing slow rhythmic motions. They're doing some sort of morning calisthenics or something. One of the peeps is in charge of bringing stereo and they sway with the music. It's sorta like watching a Falun Gong demonstration without the harsh political overtones.

Now it's a little bit odd to be honest with you when you first see them it throw you off - especially because it's like 6:30am and I'm a little woozy to begin with, sudden dance movements can be startling - but after a while you sorta get used to it.

So this in my books is deemed all fine and good. You gotta do whatcha gotta do to make it through the day. If it's doing weird motions with odd music in the park, so be it.

I felt pretty good about this open view towards motion routine in both this specific case over the past few years, and generally speaking over the span of my lifetime.

Until last Wednesday

I woke up to the noise of what sounded like a tortured sheep and I had no idea where the fuck it was coming from. I looked around and the usual suspects for weird noises (alarm clock playing unexpected CD as a wake up noise, answering machine message, neighbors) didn't seem to apply. So I looked out the window and there was an elderly lady in a Punjabi dress. Laughing. At the Sea... or the Hudson anyway.

I looked closely and thought maybe she was on the phone...but there was none to be found. She was just laughing for the sake of laughing. WTF. And then it hit me, I've heard of laughing clubs in Bombay, basically guys who just laugh in the mornings because it's supposed to be good for you. But I didn't think it would make its way here. In front of my building. In July of 2009.

This woman was a one-person laughing club. And it scared me. Her laughter was seemingly echoing off my building and almost gaining intensity. It defied all wave-particle physics that I was aware of (did you know that Slinky's are fantastic for demonstrating the movement of transverse waves?)

I'm sorry but this is not acceptable. You wake up however you want on your own goddamn time, but scaring the bejeezus out of me is not cool. At all. This is not a Pareto Efficient outcome. One person is not able to maximize their utility without making someone worse off.

And you know what pisses me off more than racism and losing sleep? People who partake in non-economically efficient activities. Vilfredo Pareto didn't die in vain. He didn't!

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witnee said...


Anonymous said...

You live in Jersey....what do you expect?

Kishan said...

I wish you took a video of her laugh.

Nikita said...

Err the slow dancing is Tai Chi. Oh and try living in Bombay in a building where they have a laughing club of about 20 odd peeps..laughing ridiculously loud at 6am every single day, oh and its especially loud on Sundays, just for good measure. Pareto Shareto.