Tuesday, September 29, 2015

trust you? why?

There is something both wonderful and reassuring to me in being reminded that there actually are people out there who know what they're talking about. This is especially true when the news outlets bury their constituencies in the skim-the-waves assertions of politicians and policy makers who never seem willing or able to plumb the depths. Instead there is the implicit "trust me, I'm oh-so sincere" mantram. It's like listening to teenagers.

Yesterday, in a small fit of pique, I wrote to a long-ago acquaintance in California who knew about bread. I was sick of paying premium prices for "artisan" loaves that, despite their hype, seemed to have no heft. How does one talk to a baker, I asked, in terms that will skirt the hype and get down to the meat and potatoes of a loaf that is dense and filling and consequential?

In return to my email query, I got a five- or six paragraph response that told me more than I wanted to know or was likely to remember. It wasn't the information that delighted me, especially, but rather the rediscovery of the fact that there always seems to be someone "out there" who knows the muzzle-to-butt-plate of any given topic.

These knowledgeable people -- you, me, anyone -- are almost always left by the side of the conversational road. They may be dying to share their information, but who asks? Snails, screws, bullet velocity, political motivations, how to mix paint ... pick a topic, any topic.

In a world drawn more and more into a 141-character appreciation of even the most complex topic, it is nice to think that someone is still capable of thinking. The information may go begging, but it is nice to think someone put some elbow grease into learning it.

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