|The return of anti-semitism
||Violence and hatred against Jews is on the rise, especially in the Middle East and among Muslims in Europe.
|The psychology of why sports fans see their teams as extensions of themselves
||Research shows in all kinds of unconscious ways, a sports fan mirrors the feelings, actions and even hormones of the players.
|Floating in the Hormonal Sea
||Our body chemistry changes, moment by moment. We feel this indirectly as energy levels rise and fall, fullness gives way to hunger, and arousal alternates with sleepiness. Many of these internal shifts are due to hormones. The pituitary gland, connected directly to the hypothalamus in the brain, drives many of...
|Your personality could influence how well you fight disease
||The extent to which our personalities determine aspects of our lives and health has increasingly been the subject of research over the last few years. There was the suggestion, for example, that being a morning person or a night owl might reveal a lot about our personality. But scientifically speaking, what do we actually mean [...]The post Your personality could influence how well you fight disease appeared first on PsyPost.
|Sci-fi becomes reality with the rise of ‘smart drugs’ at work
||The potential of “smart drugs” that improve our memory, focus and capacity for work has taken a hold of the popular imagination. Two recent blockbuster films have played a part. Both Limitless and Lucy wove stories around the possibilities of humans using drugs to access more of their brain power and gain super human abilities. [...]The post Sci-fi becomes reality with the rise of ‘smart drugs’ at work appeared first on PsyPost.
|Three Creative Minds: Dolan, Lange, Binoche
||Multitalented people often express stimulating perspectives on realizing their creative abilities and passions. Here are comments from three well-known artists. Xavier Dolan has credits including: Actor, Writer, Producer, Costume designer, and at age 25 has directed five feature films. He has said “I don’t know that I’m being prolific, I’m...
|Novel study on dopamine neurons could instruct research into mobility and neurological disorders
||Scientists studying hatchling fish have made a new advance in studying a chemical in the brain that impacts on movement. The team from the University of Leicester Department of Biology has examined transparent hatchling zebrafish to gain new insights into the working of neurons in areas of the brain that are normally difficult to access. [...]The post Novel study on dopamine neurons could instruct research into mobility and neurological disorders appeared first on PsyPost.
|Study examines how poverty affects memory
||Working memory, how we actively hold and manipulate information in our mind, is a cognitive skill used on a daily basis. How effectively working memory performs, however, is not as universal as one may think. In an Open Access article published in the Journal of Cognition and Development titled “Working Memory Differences Between Children Living [...]The post Study examines how poverty affects memory appeared first on PsyPost.
|We had Sex. Now What?
||Last week’s cartoon was about the sad sound of a phone that doesn’t ring. It also includes some tips on Search Engine Optimization. Today’s cartoon is about how some women feel after sex. The spiders in the cartoon are black widows, which are surprisingly common in houses in Los Angeles....
|Are You an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Thoughts
||Last week, I unveiled my Four Tendencies quiz, which helps people determine their Tendency. I developed this framework as part of my research on habits for my book Better Than Before. To take the Quiz, click here. I’m very gratified that so many thousands of people have taken the quiz —...
|Growing functioning brain tissue in 3-D
||Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan have succeeded in inducing human embryonic stem cells to self-organize into a three-dimensional structure similar to the cerebellum, providing tantalizing clues in the quest to recreate neural structures in the laboratory. One of the primary goals of stem-cell research is to be able to replace [...]The post Growing functioning brain tissue in 3-D appeared first on PsyPost.
|Individuals may fail to navigate complex tradeoffs in privacy decision-making
||We leave a trail of data, both knowingly and unwittingly, with every swipe of a credit card, post on social media and query on a search engine. Carnegie Mellon University researchers detail the privacy hurdles people face while navigating in the information age, and what should be done about privacy at a policy level, in [...]The post Individuals may fail to navigate complex tradeoffs in privacy decision-making appeared first on PsyPost.
|Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
||Most of us suffer from various limiting beliefs. There are many therapeutic techniques for changing beliefs. But if we approach each belief one at a time, the process takes forever. We believe there is an easier way. In Reology, we’ve identified three broad categories—patterns—in which most limiting beliefs reside. As...
|Fluorescent dyes ‘light up’ brain cancer cells
||Two new fluorescent dyes attracted to cancer cells may help neurosurgeons more accurately localize and completely resect brain tumors, suggests a study in the February issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health. Dr. John S. Kuo [...]The post Fluorescent dyes ‘light up’ brain cancer cells appeared first on PsyPost.
|Stress shared by same-sex couples can have unique health impacts
||Studies of stress and its effects on health have typically focused on the worries of an individual: money, love, health, work. But what about stress shared by two people in a romantic relationship? New research by Allen LeBlanc, Health Equity Institute Professor of Sociology at San Francisco State University, studies how minority stress — which [...]The post Stress shared by same-sex couples can have unique health impacts appeared first on PsyPost.
|Tweeting about sexism may improve a woman’s wellbeing
||Publicly tweeting about sexism could improve a woman’s wellbeing as it has the potential to let them express themselves in ways that feel like they can make a difference. This is one of the findings of a study by Dr Mindi Foster, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada that is published today, Friday 30 January 2015, in [...]The post Tweeting about sexism may improve a woman’s wellbeing appeared first on PsyPost.
|Quid Pro Quo
Managing relationships is a task that most people perform fairly adeptly. That’s not to say that we do so flawlessly – we certainly don’t – but we manage to avoid most major faux pas with regularity. Despite our ability to do so, many of us would not be able to provide compelling answers that help others understand why we do what we do. Here’s a frequently referenced example: if you invited your friend over for dinner, many of you would likely find it rather strange – perhaps even insulting – if after the meal your friend pulled out his wallet and asked how much he owed you for the food. Though we would find such behavior strange or rude, when asked to explain what is rude about it, most people would verbally stumble. It’s not that the exchange of money for food is strange; that part is really quite normal. We don’t expect to go into a restaurant, be served, eat, and then leave without paying. There are also other kinds of strange goods and services – such a sex and organs – that people often do see something wrong with exchanging resources for, at least so long as the exchange is explicit; despite that, we often have less of a problem with people giving such resources away.
Alright; not quite implicit enough, but good try
This raises all sorts of interesting questions, such as why is it acceptable for people to give away things but not accept money for them? Why would it be unacceptable for a host to expect his guests to pay, or for the guests to offer? The most straightforward answer is that the nature of these relationships are different: two friends have different expectations of each other than two strangers, for instance. While such an answer is true enough, it don’t really deepen our understanding of the matter; it just seems to note the difference. One might go a bit further and begin to document some of the ways in which these relationships differ, but without a guiding functional analysis of why they differ we would be stuck at the level of just noting differences. We could learn not only that business associates treat each other differently than friends (which we knew already), but also some of the ways they do. While documenting such things does have value, it would be nice to place such facts in a broader framework. On that note, I’d like to briefly consider one such descriptive answer to the matter of why these relationships differ before moving onto the latter point: the distinction between what has been labeled exchange relationships and communal relationships.
Exchange relationships are said to be those in which one party provides a good or service to the other in the hopes of receiving a comparable benefit in return; the giving thus creates the obligation for reciprocity. This is the typical consumer relationship that we have with businesses as customers: I give you money, you give me groceries. Communal relationships, by contrast, do not carry similar expectations; instead, these are relationships in which each party cares about the welfare of the other, for lack of a better word, intrinsically. This is more typically of, say, mother-daughter relationships, where the mother provisions her daughter not in the hopes of her daughter one day provisioning her, but rather because she earnestly wishes to deliver those benefits to her daughter.On the descriptive level, then, this difference between expectations of quid pro quo are supposed to differentiate the two types of relationships. Friends offering to pay for dinner are viewed as odd because they’re treating a communal relationship as an exchange one.
Many other social disasters might arise from treating one type of social relationship as if it were another. One of the most notable examples in this regard is the ongoing disputes over “nice guys”, nice guys, and the women they seek to become intimate with. To oversimplify the details substantially, many men will lament that women do not seem to be interested in guys who care about their well-being, but rather seek men who offer resources or treat them as less valuable. The men feel they are offering a communal relationship, but women opt for the exchange kind. Many women return the volley, suggesting instead that many of the “nice guys” are actually entitled creeps who think women are machines you put niceness coins into to get them to dispense sex. Now, it’s the men seeking the exchange relationships (i.e., “I give you dinner dates and you give me affection”), whereas the women are looking for the communal ones. But are these two types of relationships – exchange and communal – really that different? Are communal relationships, especially those between friends and couples, free of the quid-pro-quo style of reciprocity? There are good reasons to think that they are not quite different in kind, but rather different in respect to the details of the quids and quos.
A subject our good friend Dr. Lecter is quite familiar with
To demonstrate this point, I would invite you to engage in a little thought experiment: imagine that your friend or your partner decided one day to behave as if you didn’t exist: they stopped returning your messages, they stopped caring about whether they saw you, they stopped coming to your aid when you needed them, and so on. Further, suppose this new-found cold and callous attitude wouldn’t change in the future. About how long would it take you to break off your relationship with them and move onto greener pastures? If your answer to that question was any amount of time whatsoever, then I think we have demonstrated that the quid-pro-quo style of exchange still holds in such relationships (and if you believe that no amount of that behavior on another’s part would ever change how much you care about that person, I congratulate you on the depths of your sunny optimism and view of yourself as an altruist; it would also be great if you could prove it by buying me things I want for as long as you live while I ignore you). The difference, then, is not so much whether there are expectations of exchanges in these relationships, but rather concerning the details of precisely what is being exchanged for what, the time frame in which those exchanges take place, and the explicitness of those exchanges.
(As an aside, kin relationships can be free of expectations of reciprocity. This is because, owing to the genetic relatedness between the parties, helping them can be viewed – in the ultimate, fitness sense of the word – as helping yourself to some degree. The question is whether this distinction also holds for non-relatives.)
Taking those matters in order, what gets exchanged in communal relationships is, I think, something that many people would explicitly deny is getting exchanged: altruism for friendship. That is to say that people are using behavior typical of communal relationships as an ingratiation device (Batson, 1993): if I am kind to you today, you will repay with [friendship/altruism/sex/etc] at some point in the future; not necessarily immediately or at some dedicated point. These types of exchange, as one can imagine, might get a little messy to the extent that the parties are interested in exchanging different resources. Returning to our initial dinner example, if your guest offers to compensate you for dinner explicitly, it could mean that he considers the debt between you paid in full and, accordingly, is not interested in exchanging the resource you would prefer to receive (perhaps gratitude, complete with the possibility that he will be inclined to benefit you later if need be). In terms of the men and women example for before, men often attempt to exchange kindness for sex, but instead receive non-sexual friendship, which was not the intended goal. Many women, by contrast, feel that men should value the friendship…unless of course it’s their partner building friendship with another woman, in which case it’s clearly not just about friendship between them.
But why aren’t these exchanges explicit? It seems that one could, at least in principle, tell other people that you will invite them over for dinner if they will be your friend in much the same way that a bank might extend a loan to person and ask that it be repaid over time. If the implicit nature of these exchanges were removed, it seems that lots of people could be saved a lot of headache. The reason such exchanges cannot be made explicit, I think, has to do with the signal value of the exchange. Consider two possible friends: one of those friends tells you they will be your friend and support you so long as you don’t need too much help; the other tells you they will support you no matter what. Assuming both are telling the truth, the latter individual would make the better friend for you because they have a greater vested interest in your well-being: they will be less likely to abandon you in times of need, less likely to take better social deals elsewhere, less likely to betray you, and the like. In turn, that fact should incline you to help the latter more than the former individual. After all, it’s better for you to have your very-valuable allies alive and well-provisioned if you want them to be able to continue to help you to their fullest when you need it. The mere fact that you are valuable to them makes them valuable to you.
“Also, your leaving would literally kill me, so…motivation?”
This leaves people trying to walk a fine line between making friendships valuable in the exchange-sense of the word (friendships need to return more than they cost, else they could not have been selected for), while maintaining the representation that they not grounded in explicit exchanges publicly so as to make themselves appear to be better partners. In turn, this would create the need for people to distinguish between what we might call “true friends” – those who have your interests in mind – and “fair-weather friends” – those who will only behave as your friend so long as it’s convenient for them. In that last example we assumed both parties were telling the truth about how much they value you; in reality we can’t ever be so sure. This strategic analysis of the problem leaves us with a better sense as for why friendship relationships are different from exchange ones: while both involve exchanges, the nature of the exchanges do not serve the same signaling function, and so their form ends up looking different. People will need to engage in proximately altruistic behaviors for which they don’t expect immediate or specific reciprocity in order to credibly signal their value as an ally. Without such credible signaling, I’d be left taking you at your word that you really have my interests at heart, and that system is way too open to manipulation.
Such considerations could help explain, in part, why people are opposed to exchanging things like selling organs or sex for money but have little problem with such things being given for free. In the case of organ sales, for instance, there are a number of concerns which might crop up in people’s minds, one of the most prominent being that it puts an explicit dollar sign on human life. While we clearly need to do so implicitly (else we could, in principle, be willing to exhaust all worldly resources trying to prevent just one person from dying today), to make such an exchange implicit turns the relationship into an exchange one, sending a message along the lines of, “your life is not worth all that much to me”. Conversely, selling an organ could send a similar message: “my own life isn’t worth that much to me”. Both statements could have the effect of making one look like a worse social asset even if, practically, all such relationships are fundamentally based in exchanges; even if such a policy would have an overall positive effect on a group’s welfare.
References: Batson, C. (1993). Communal and exchange relationships: What is the difference? Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 677-683.
DeScioli, P. & Kurzban, R. (2009). The alliance hypothesis for human friendship. PLoS ONE, 4(6): e5802. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005802
Understanding the difference between friendship and consumerism
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Why are men upset when they land in the friendzone and why don't dinner guests pay their hosts for meals? If only exchange relationships could be made more explicit such problems might be avoided, yet many relationships do not opt for transparency. Why is that?
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|How Do We Tell the Kids About the Divorce?
One of the most challenging and painful tasks for parents deciding to separate is telling the children about the impending divorce. The key to talking with children is to understand the experience of separation from their point of view, and to develop strategies that fit with each child’s age and stage of development. Children have a limited ability to understand what is happening during divorce, what they are feeling and why, and they struggle to understand. Younger children see things from their own perspective, and tend to see themselves as the cause of events, often blaming themselves for their parents’ divorce. Many children firmly believe that they are the reason for the divorce. Further, most children secretly believe their parents will get back together, or wish that they would, and try to “fix” things and figure out ways of keeping them together. Some fear that their parents will walk out the door and never come back, and need reassurance that they will not be abandoned. Too afraid to tell anyone, they believe they are the only one in the world who feels that way.
Like adults, children manifest the classic stages of the grieving process, including denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, rejection and guilt. Some may also experience relief, which may bring about further feelings of guilt. The process varies from child to child. Some children may have suspected a separation, for others the news will come as a complete shock. Although children of all ages are deeply affected, younger children are particularly vulnerable and often suffer the most. It is thus very important for parents to be attuned to children’s reactions, and watch for changes in sleeping, eating, and behavior.
With all this in mind, what do parents say and how should they talk with their kids about the separation? First, wherever possible, it is useful for parents to jointly have the conversation with their children, well in advance, to reassure them that they will not be abandoned and that as co-parents they will cooperate in the future. Second, find a time and place that will be safe and comfortable, and speak with them together, and then with each of them alone; children will benefit from several shorter talks, rather than receiving all of the information at once.
Here are some key strategies and guidelines for talking with your children about the impending separation:
It is not their fault. Children assume that if they had behaved better, fought less with their siblings, received good grades or helped more around the house, they could have prevented the divorce. Tell children, in general terms, why the separation is taking place, keeping in mind their age and stage of development. Above all, children need to know that the separation is not their fault; regardless of what they may have heard when their parents fought, children are never the cause of a divorce. In other words, separation and divorce is an adult problem: “Mom and Dad could not find a way to work out our problems or to make things any better. We’ve made mistakes and we’re sorry that we’re causing you pain.” “Separation is a grown-up problem and you are not to blame. It is our problem and we will work it out.”
As parents, you will always be there for them. Tell your children you love them, over and over again, and that you will both always be there for them. Reassure them that you will continue to take care of them and keep them safe. The relationship you have with them will go on forever, and although feelings can change between adults, they never change between parents and children. Similarly, relationships with grandparents and other relatives will continue. “You will always be part of a family.” “We won’t be living together any more, but we both love you no matter what.”
Be clear about the reality of the separation. Children need to know, and to come to realize in tolerable doses, about the reality of the separation, “The separation was not an easy decision to make. We put a lot of effort into making our relationship work, but we have decided that we can no longer live together.” One of the saddest consequences of a divorce is the pressure some children put upon themselves to fix the problem. Feeling responsible for getting you back together is a huge emotional burden that you do not want your children to undertake.
Reflect your children’s feelings, and be a good listener. As children’s grief is quite profound, it is important to encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. They are also anxious about how the divorce will affect them. But children need time to digest the information you give them. Don’t force a discussion of feelings, but be patient, look for cues and clues about what they are feeling, and reflect back what they may be going through. “We want you to say what you feel and think. You may feel worried, angry and hurt. Adults have these same feelings too.” For younger children, use books, storytelling, hand puppets, dolls, action figures and drawings to help children talk about what they are feeling and experiencing.
Be as clear and specific as you can about your future co-parenting plans. Children need to know the specifics of the future time-sharing arrangement, where they will be living, and how much time they will be spending with each parent. Address their particular needs such as friends, activities, toys and school. Before you embark on this conversation, make sure that you have made clear plans, and that the children are ready for the discussion about their future living arrangements.
Provide them with choices. Over time, it is important that children know that their voice will be heard when adult decisions are made about issues that affect their lives. As much as possible, encourage your children to express their needs and opinions, and to be part of family decisions, but never put them in a position where they are responsible for making adult decisions.
Just as important as what to say is what not to say. Never blame the other parent for the divorce, or give children the message that you are the good parent and the other parent is the bad one: children hear criticism of the other parent as criticism of half of who they are. Also, do not discuss details of what went wrong between you as a couple: children do not need to know about affairs, money problems, personality conflicts or other problems in your relationship.
Guidelines for Talking with Children About Parental Separation
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Co-Parenting After Divorce
Many children firmly believe that they are the reason for the divorce. Further, most children secretly believe their parents will get back together, or wish that they would, and try to “fix” things and figure out ways of keeping them together.
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|Odd Couple House Mates
Last summer, I became a pioneer in a sort of a May-December living arrangement. That’s when my 25-year-old grandson – I’ll call him Tom - decided to move from Chicago where he, like I, had grown up, move to New York and move into my West Side New York City apartment with me.
My one-bedroom apartment barely had room for me. But its amenities included a minuscule sleeping alcove, a second, half-bathroom, a dishwasher, a washer/drier, and a balcony on which he could both stash his bike and, in less than freezing temperatures, withdraw to converse in private on his cell phone – all attractions, according to Tom, that were lacking in the still tinier apartments of his friends in which he’d first thought he’d stay.
A graduate of an art school, Tom had dozens of friends who’d already moved to, or who’d moved back home to New York. Though I keep hearing that New York has become so prohibitively expensive that no one can afford to live here anymore, let alone move here, Tom’s social circle seemed to far exceed my own rapidly dwindling number of friends who lately had been succumbing, at an ever more alarming rate, to the ravages of death, disease and/or dementia.
My few remaining, cognitively- intact friends, hearing of Tom’s arrival, were shocked. “How long is he staying?” they kept asking. “Don’t you find it a huge imposition?”
Actually, I didn’t. I’d had trouble adjusting to living alone after thirty-plus years with my artist/companion, David. But in the three years since he died, while I’d gotten used to my privacy, Tom and I both understood our arrangement would be temporary – breathing space for him to take stock and look for a job.
Truth to tell, from his arrival, I found it exhilarating, to be privy to Tom’s boundless, energetic bursts of optimism as he outlined his hopes and goals for his future. For the past seven years – through high school and college – he’d held a part time and summer job in a Chicago bike shop. He was interested in retailing, design, plus he could sew. With his myriad contacts and talent, he felt sure that the world lay open before him. Then, a scant week after his arrival, Tom landed a job in a bike shop less than a mile from my West Side apartment – a far easier commute than any he’d had in Chicago,
Before long, my son, Tom’s uncle, along with his whole family, and even I, had all stopped by the bike shop to say hello to Tom at work.
At home, Tom regaled me with tales about his customers. On West 72nd Street, they comprised a cross section of Manhattan; like people I’d see when I reported on civil and criminal trials in Manhattan courtrooms, they ranged from foreigners, Orthodox Jews, working class people, to lawyers, psychoanalysts and other professionals, along with celebrities or an occasional biking-adicted world leaderg.
There were, of course, some minuses. Living alone, aside from an occasional steamed artichoke, I’d given up on cooking for myself. Now I felt a nagging guilt over my typical dinners - meals that mainly consisted of take-out food, or an ordered- in cheese burger or pasta. Despite vowing to take up cooking again, however, Tom’s erratic home-coming hours did little to bolster my resolve. Plus I soon found that he shared my taste for junk food - from pizza, or mac and cheese, to anything on Chipolte’s menu. My main concession to Tom’s presence was that at dinners with friends, I took to bringing home my leftovers, or an extra main dish for him - looking more like a bag lady than my image of a gracious grandmother.
I was surprised to find that Tom never looked at the newspapers I spent too much time studying each morning, or watched my favorite evening news or other TV programs. His chief – actually, his only - source of information was his computer – and his main choice of TV viewing was roller blade videos.
`He’s not my son,’ I reminded myself, each time I’d return home to be confronted anew with what struck me as these more abysmal life choices. But by my advanced age I’d learned to keep my mouth shut – a trait I never came close to mastering in the stormy years before and during my divorce, when Tom’s mother was growing up – the third of my four children. Nor did I lie awake listening for his key in my door at whatever early morning hour he might return. At night, I just closed my bedroom door, read or watched TV and fell asleep. Occasionally, however, in a unique role reversal, when I had opera or theater tickets, it was I who sometimes texted Tom to tell him I wouldn’t be home until around midnight.
“I would have worried if you hadn’t shown up much after 11,” Tom said, sounding just like the real Jewish mother in his - and my - family: my daughter.
As weeks turned to months, friends and family began to ask me a new question: “Are you still getting along?’
“We call you `The Odd Couple’,” my granddaughter, Sarah, not her real name, who’d grown up in New York and was the same age as Tom, told me one night.
She'd meant it as a joke, but I said: "That's a good description. He's an exercise addict; I'm an exercise phobic."
I continued to take everyone’s assumption of impending disaster in stride. Even when he was little, Tom and I had always gotten along. He’d shared my taste in reading about Jeffrey Dahmer and some of the other grisly true crimes I’d reported on. Unlike his bookish younger brother, he also had always loved visiting New York. Like me, he felt invigorated by the city’s noise and hectic pace – by the jammed, chaotic mess of the city that, in just days, left his mother and brother limp and exhausted.
A few friends remained alarmed. “Is your grandson still there?” Roz asked, every time she phoned. Then, as if fearing disaster: “Are you feeling okay?”
Diane, another friend, continued to inquire how much longer my son, not my grandson, would be staying with me. Did these friends fear I’d embarked on a taboo relationship – a mama cougar out to ensnare my much younger grandson? They didn’t seem to know about today’s `boomerang’ generation – what writer Sally Koslow, in her book, Slouching Towards Adulthood: How To Let Go So Your Kids Can Grow Up
terms `adultescents.’ Koslow was describing today’s often jobless college graduates of around my grandson’s age who opt to move back into their parents home – more than 21 million, according to 2012 statistics - and a few million more who choose to move in with one or both grandparents.
Tom soon got busier, working three days a week in the bike shop, the other three in a skate board shop down the street. And I got introduced to a whole new group of his co-workers.
My friends went from appalled to dismayed. “Is he ever going to get a real job?” they asked?
“He’s just going through a delayed adolescence,” I said. “Or maybe a second one.” So long as he seemed happy, I doubted it mattered.
Not everyone has been as upset as my friends. My dermatologist said she has four patients in Manhattan - four! - whose grandchildren are living with them. “If their grandchild lives in some other city, how can they possibly afford to move here unless they’ve already got a great high- paying job?" she said. "And after all - some young people would rather live with a grandparent than a parent.
(Photo of Sally Koslow; Property of the author)
“Do you ever get embarrassed”, I asked Tom. “Living with your grandmother?”
“No, not at all,” Tom said. He noted that he’d grown up with friends in Chicago whose parents – thanks to their divorces, remarriages and second families- were all different ages. Some were as young as his parents, but others wre about the same age as me. “Besides,” Tom looked at me from his perch at his computer on my living room couch. “My colleagues all think you’re a really cool grandma. When I told them I was living with my grandmother, they thought you’d be a little old bedridden lady. But I told them no, you’re busier than I am. You go out to the theater, to movies, your Shakespeare group – and when they met you, they said `wow! She’s really cool!’”
I’d thought of myself as pretty doddering – prone to falling, arthritic ridden- the next broken bone just one footstep away. Never, until now, as cool.
I was more surprised when Tom, never that interested in films, piped up one night and said: “I know about a movie we should watch. “Grandma’s Boy.” It was a flop, then it became kind of a cult thing.”
So far Tom’s been too busy to watch it when I stream it on my Roku. Whenever he gets the time, I know he’ll find it a hoot. The movie grandma and grandson enrich each other. She gets her grandson, Alex to shape up - grow up? - and do chores around her apartment. IAlex manages to turn his grandma and her two mostly sedentary women roommates onto TV remotes, then to TV cooking programs, foul language, then accidentally onto drugs, and finally he gets them addicted to playing video games. Alex’s grandma becomes such a wiz at the new video game her movie grandson is developing, that, spoiler alert - she ends by saving the day.
I haven’t yet gotten hooked on speed, taken up video games or tried skate boarding. But I have introduced Tom to Bill Maher (he’d never had HBO), and to Larry Wilmore’s new Nightly Show – things I consider huge pluses. Mainly, what struck me about the movie, however, is that the cool reel- life grandma and grandson in Manhattan get along just as well as I have so far with my cool real- life live- in grandson in Manhattan. As half of a pair of real-life `Odd Couple' housemates, I also plan one day soon to ask my exercise-devotee- grandson to take this exercise-shunning grandma downstairs into our building's gym and forcibly show me what I need to do to start regularly working out.
Family and friends wonder if I'm wise to be temporarily rooming with my grandson
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Decades ago intergenerational living was widespread, ofen for economic reason. From the mid-1950s, nuclear families became the norm. Today's convulsive economic upheaval has seen a return of multi-generational housing situations. And as my recent experience with my grandson attests, while it may not be a familar phenomenom, it definitely has its pluses for young and old.
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|Chicks Might Map Numbers From Left To Right – Just Like Us!
When you think of the numbers 1–10, you probably envision them running along a line, with 1 on the left and 10 on the right. Scientists have long debated whether this tendency is hardwired or culturally instilled. This week, the hardwired camp scored a major point. Young chickens, it seems, also map numbers from left to right....