Or rather, 9 by 5— 9 hours driving, mostly on the I-5 Interstate returning to SF from Palm Springs. From the breathtaking open skies at the beginning past the exit to Mt. Baldy, home of so many memorable Zen retreats, to a traffic jam around Frazier Lake where L.A. folks want to sled and maybe ski?, past the sign to Pea Soup Andersens (holding its own amidst the hostile takeovers of fast food joints off every highway exit, Anywhere, U.S.A.), through a torrential rain just as night descended. Had hoped to dive into an audio book, but us oldsters still struggling with the technology and gave up and went for Podcasts instead.
One of them included some pretty interesting research of psychologists who randomly gave one of each two people playing Monopoly twice as much money at the beginning and two turns for every one of their opponent’s one. They noticed that their behavior grew quite aggressive and cocky and when interviewing the inevitable winners at the end, each attributed it to their superior playing skill, completely ignoring the big headstart they were given. That’s some important information. They conducted another experiment watching how much candy people took from a big bowl meant for children and noticed that those with the highest economic status took the most. Knowing some kind and generous wealth people, I’d be cautious about drawing too hasty a conclusion, but there are some deep truths hidden in the culture where so many people born on third base think they hit a triple and that a life built on amassing wealth feeds greed more than generosity.
Two other take-aways from the last 9 hours:
1) After trying several Podcasts that I found remarkably underwhelming, I’m determined to achieve my goal of starting my own. My first New Year’s resolution.
2) The most interesting sign we passed: “Pleasant Valley State Prison.”
Now to unpack.