“mood contagion”

There went a weekend with the scousers.  As expected by our party of Americans, Liverpool was good for cheap drinks and uninhibitedly hedonistic young people.  I have to say that of the two nights we had in town, I went out only one: I became sick of the scene, of the glorification of wild intoxication, late nights, bad decisions.  Retrospectively, that was probably a severe reaction.  People just wanted to have a good time, to wade in the plebeian culture of the working-class scouser after what to some must be an exhausting strain of social maintenance in London. Following a détente of anxieties of identity that night, I concluded that I have no strong judgments either in favor of or against the culture of youthful pleasure (which may be problematic in itself).  (I do, however, have strong judgments about hierarchies of interest and the place of trusts in relationships, e.g. the fact that my parents are largely financing my semester means that I weigh their preferences into my consumption choices.  It only seems fair.)

Now.  We’re back in London, which I must say I prefer (but to emphasize a caveat of perspective, I wasn’t smoking joints at someone’s flat at 4 am in Liverpool).  Further exploration of the city has yielded:

1)  some oriental markets which I may frequent in the future.  I bought rice vinegar and ginger tonight and felt very Chinese.  Waiting for a good price on bok choy…

2)  a book store I really enjoy.  All who review it seem to hone in on one particular point of genius: clustering travel guides, novels, and miscellaneous non-fiction about individual countries at the same shelf space.  I was torn between snatching a promising quirky travel guide to Vienna or a collection of short stories by its most important authors (I ended up with the latter).  I made a list of books which I don’t exactly intend to read, nor buy; the closest description is that I would be strangely pleased if I ran into them again later in life.

3)  an inexpensive supermarket in a less well-off part of town.  An observation from a data set of one day: ethnic minorities on the tube south; predominantly Anglos riding the underground out of the region.  This was in the afternoon.

Finally:

—  I sent in my application to the Chicago Fed today.  Chances are, I’ll get turned down without a response.  Nevertheless, it feels good to finally get this summer internship thing rolling: I’m too much a slacker.

—  One of the textbooks on my Macro reading list was written by Ben S. Bernanke (recently confirmed for a second term as Fed chairman)!  Yeah, that really isn’t exciting in any way.

—  Seats ran out for Joe Stiglitz tonight and I didn’t get in.  Oh well.  I’ve already heard a Nobel laureate economist speak on the recession, and it gave me time to finally write up a cover letter for summer applications.

—  God give me style and give me grace (if a semi-religious atheist can still invoke the Name).

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