Year of questions: Would you get married again?

I’m more curious to hear how other people who’ve gone through divorce feel about it, but since I get asked this question fairly regularly I figured I’d give it a shot.

There are obviously some variables, mainly consisting of meeting the right person. It’s not something I feel very optimistic about or even necessarily want (normal for someone in my situation I think) so it’s sort of hard to imagine getting married again.

But there’s a much deeper concern I have with marriage as an institution. I think the reality is that even if you are working a relationship in the healthiest way possible (and who’s doing that?!) it puts some pretty serious pressures on two people (or 3 or 4 if polyamory is more your speed).

All of the things that go into a healthy relationship and have to happen for that relationship to stay healthy, seem to function better in people I know who are not married. I think it’s because cultural norms around marriage do have a static quality to them, though certainly not everyone who’s married is restricted by this. But this idea that you’ll love someone forever and ever and you’ll sign this document that says you’ll support them no matter what……well what if they make a decision to be a crappy person down the line? What if he turns out not only to be a jerk but addicted to pills as well and stealing to support his habit? Or she unilaterally decides to re-mortgage the house, blow the money on a trip to Costa Rica and then returns asking for forgiveness?

It seems to me that a good, healthy relationship comes with constant re-evaluation and honesty, and all we can do is keep working at that and saying how it is for us in our lives. The institution of marriage as practiced by most people I see / hear / read about seems to be concerned with reassurance, as if we can decide how things are and never have to change them again. I can see marriage working as a concept, but it seems like it comes with more baggage than it’s worth.

Year of questions: Are there people who truly are tone deaf?

I’ve got a few friends who sing off key to songs after a few drinks or when they think no one’s watching.

But are there people who are 100% tone deaf? I know from being a musician that most of the time what’s holding people back is fear and not ability to learn…..and I’ve always understood music to be something that connects all humans.

It’s hard to imagine someone not having that connection.

Year of questions: Should your passion pay your bills?

I’m constantly reading about people who do the startup thing or make the decision to turn their passion into a full time job.

Since I work a pretty regular job, it’s something I think about a lot. I like the freedom of having a job with a steady paycheck, it allows me to do what I love outside of work without being dependent on it to pay the bills.

But I do have moments where it feels monotonous and I wonder if the tradeoff is worth it. I work with nice people, and like the clients I work with as well, but beyond the sense of accomplishment that comes with a job well done I’m not sure it has a concrete impact on my life.

What’s the advantage to paying your bills with a “standard job” versus making your passion your main job?

Year of questions: Is email or phone a better way to communicate?

Most of my day at work is spent firing off emails. When things get complex after a few emails on one topic I normally try to call someone because it’s easier that way.

I’m actually a fairly good writer of emails. It’s not the sexiest skill there is, but it’s a good one.

Most of the time I prefer emails because of the ability to edit, but there’s a tone that you can’t replace that comes with being on the phone (still far short of in person).

How to avoid getting killed while crossing a major street

The subject today, gentle reader, is one near to many hearts, as their primary function of pumping blood throughout the body depends entirely on surviving in this type of situation.

Most importantly, remember these tons of steel and plastic and leather and vinyl are not your friends. Their impressive chrome and shiny grills and fishbowl creating glass plates are not to be trusted. Perhaps the inhabitants of these ton and two-ton monsters would gladly accept your kindness and humility at a restaurant, workplace, or library, but here you are the Pedestrian, that scourge of American society who at this moment is not participating in the culture of Having Nice Things.

First, look both ways. Then look both ways again. On the third look in both directions you have qualified to step off the curb, but be prepared to hurry back should an Important Person hesitate to use the brakes of their finely tuned vehicle.

Once you have stepped fully into a traffic lane, you have committed yourself to a serious thing. This is when you must exercise your humanity in the most delicate interaction known to man, women, or child. It is very important here to demonstrate your humanity and your humility, but you must not overstep the bounds of familiarity. A slight head nod, or a distinct but cautious wave of your hand at hip level is the most effective way to remind the car turning right or speeding towards a left turn across the intersection that you are also a human.

Remember though, that you do not want to over-emphasize the connection. Should you make the driver of this behemoth feel responsible for you, there lies trouble. They must only feel that by their benevolence your life is spared, like lifting a lazy finger to turn a light switch on or off. They must not feel obligated in any way. Then, anger will rise.

Lastly, do not under any circumstance celebrate in any manner upon reaching the other side. It is best to communicate that you are grateful, but aware that your life could have been extinguished in an instant. Perhaps keep your head down, maybe a full body sigh, or even wipe the sweat from your brow. But do not linger if you wish to repeat this feat again.

I was a ghost this morning

When the breeze moved through the trees I moved with it, so that you could not tell I was there at all.

Some day I will be the one to look down at my chest in surprise, confused by the silence, and ragged swiss cheese of shirt and armour. But for now I am delivering a bullet.

Mansur Kalay was quiet before. And now it is quiet again.

Year of questions: How does trust work?

People talk about trust in business or personal environments, and it’s often used as a measurement of someone’s integrity. If you can be counted on to act consistently and do what you say you will do, then you’ve created trust.

On the other hand I think it’s a mysterious concept. We often define people or things in a certain way, and then when they turn out different or there is some change we say that “trust is broken.” Oddly, most of being human seems to be shaping and crafting our thoughts and personal philosophies, and really the only thing we can be trusted to do is be honest about where are lives are going…..and even that is difficult for most people.

I wonder if it’s possible to define trust in a healthy way?