Slower

Ep. 74

  
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Walking is good for us, but it takes a while — it’s not the most efficient mode of transportation. But it’s not about efficiency; that’s not the point. What about the other stuff in our life that can benefit from slowness? Seth and Tsh talk about being slow to reply, slow to respond, and slow to assume, and how we all need to do more of it.

Tsh: This is A Drink With a Friend, I’m Tsh Oxenreider.

Seth: And I’m Seth Haines.

Tsh: Seth, what are you drinking this afternoon? 

Seth: Have you ever heard of Ancient Nutrition?

Tsh: No. I’ve heard of those two words. 

Seth: The brand Ancient Nutrition. Yes, you know ancient and you know nutrition. The is a brand called Ancient Nutrition and they make bone broth. Powdered bone broth. 

Tsh: Oh yeah.

Seth: Today, I was noticing I was a little low on my protein intake which is to say a lot low. I need a lot of protein. I went to Ozark Natural Foods which is our local co-op, our local Whole Foods competitor. I try to go there any time I can instead of Whole Foods. I picked up a packet of Ancient Nutrition Chocolate Bone Broth that tastes amazing! 

Tsh: Okay! This comes full circle to a few episodes ago when you talked about anything chocolate and healthy is terrible. 

Seth: I know. Someone on A Drink With a Friend that sponsors the drinks has recommended some things which I have not gotten around to trying but in preparation for today while I was at ONF looking for high protein foods, I saw this and it was chocolate flavored and it was $3 and it had 20 grams of protein, less than sugar, very few carbs. I thought I’m going to try this and while I drink it on the air I’m going to report to the people about whether it’s good or terrible as all healthful chocolate things are terrible, this is kind of amazing. 

Tsh: Nice. I’m literally looking it up right now.

Seth: I mixed it in, it recommends 12 ounces, it would probably be better, but I mixed it in 16 ounces of hot water. It would be super amazing in hot cashew milk or almond milk. 

Tsh: That’s great to know because bone broth drinks are expensive so to me, $3 is not that bad. 

Seth: Well, for a packet. I use it as a meal supplement so I think the bigger tub of it is quite expensive but still amazing. If you use it as a snack or a supplement, I highly recommend it.

Tsh: Very cool.

Seth: I’m assuming I know what you’re drinking because you texted me before we went on that you were running a few minutes late because you were making your drink which is…

Tsh: Coffee. Black coffee. I don’t drink coffee that much when we talk because I can’t do caffeine after 2 pm but this is 1 pm so I can still do it, I’m in the window. It’s just my standard Cafe Creole Ethiopian coffee that’s just good. It’s nothing fancy but it’s really good coffee from the grocery store. I actually added a cinnamon stick because I was just reading cinnamon in the nutritional benefits so I’m just tossing it in there. I am actually testing out a theory. After we record, I’m going to take a 15-minute nap. I was just watching this YouTuber talk about the weird unknown effects of taking a power nap after drinking coffee and that it does something or other that I can’t remember and I’m going to test to see if it’s complete sh*t or if he’s telling the truth. We’ll see. I’ve never been able to take good naps but I’m desperate for some sleep. 

Seth: Can you report back?

Tsh: I will report back. 

Seth: Interestingly you said, the amazing health benefits of a cinnamon stick and I don’t know what that even means. 

Tsh: It’s like digestion, mental clarity, and what is that called? The bio-gut stuff. Whatever that’s called. It promotes healthy bacteria growth, the good bacteria and not the bad bacteria. That is a very scientific way of explaining what I just said. 

Seth: That sounds pretty amazing. Maybe I need to get eat a cinnamon stick today. 

Tsh: Don’t do that. That’s probably toxic or something. We are not doctors. 

Seth: Yes, that’s right.

Tsh: We’re kicking off, I don’t know if you want to call this a series because they’re basically not non-sequiturs so in my mind they are kind of a series. This week and next week, we’re going to talk about these two ideas we’ve had on our minds. Today, what’s been on my mind because it’s been on my mind all week, is this idea of slow. This is not new. I’ve talked about slow and moving slowly through life frequently in many different places so I’m kind of reinventing the wheel here except I want to talk about it in a slightly different way. The thing that’s got me thinking about this is my current workout routine. I’ve been walking about six miles a day for the past seventeen days. Today’s my eighteenth day of walking six miles a day. 

Seth: Wow, that’s amazing. How long does that take you to walk? 

Tsh: Believe it or not, not as much as you think. Here’s the thing, I don’t do it in one sitting. I do it all throughout the day. I’m very grateful to live in a very walkable neighborhood. I’ve made this commitment post-Lent to walk anywhere a mile or less and so I’ve just been walking everywhere. I take a morning walk, afternoon, and evening walk but then I sometimes just get up and walk around the block. It’s for mental clarity in a lot of ways but also for a lot of other health benefits. And it’s really been a net positive for me. I was doing some reading about it. We all just know walking is good for us but here’s the thing, it’s really slow, that’s a big duh, but it’s a slow form of working out and it doesn’t feel like you’re doing a lot. It feels like you’re doing the thing you’ve done since you were eighteen months old. It’s gotten me thinking about what does it look like to move slower through life. I’ve been thinking about three different ways that I think we can all move a little slower. Before I get into those three things, unpack with me a little bit, Seth, what does slow look like for you right now? Are you able to be slow at all in any capacity in your life at the moment? 

Seth: Yeah, in some capacities. I juggle a lot of hats from a courier perspective mostly because I’ve made now two career shifts in the last two years. One away from the practice of law and one back into the practice of law so I’ve had to juggle both of those transitions. I’m in the middle of one of those transitions right now. From a business perspective, I always feel like my hair is on fire. Everything moves so fast. The practice of law moves pretty fast anyway. The content development and coaching and book editing and writing move pretty fast, too, with the kind of work that I do in that space. My day feels pretty fast. In the last few months, I’ve really been focused on, we’ve talked about this before, I’ve been doing CrossFit now for almost a year and I’ve been focused on not just doing CrossFit but then building some endurance work on top of that that is intentionally steady state cardio which because I’m forty-three is much slower than when I was twenty-three. I have been intentionally seeking a slower rhythm and slower pace probably four to five times a week. Whether that’s by sitting on a rower and just clocking off forty-five minutes or whether that’s going on a long run to have that slower state cardio. That slow time is really helpful for me because it pulls me away from that breakneck speed and I find, actually yesterday, I had a slow row day and there was this issue I was having a hard time unlocking. Within ten minutes, I texted the answer to somebody. That slow, slowing down, being disconnected from the internet, being connected really only to yourself and your thoughts has been really helpful for me. I really have to seek it out. I am not as good at it probably as you are. I would love to hear more about your journey into slowness. But before, I have a couple of technical questions. 

Tsh: Okay.

Seth: One, is your morning, afternoon, and evening walk for mileage?

Tsh: It’s for steps officially but I also look at the mileage so I’ve got a Fitbit, our whole family has them now, actually. I wanted to track a number of things but yes, technically it is. I walk our dog most of those walks and I just keep track. I officially check for 10,000 steps a day but it roughly checks out at four to six miles a day what I end up clocking. I go for mileage.

Seth: That was my second question, is how many steps is six miles?

Tsh: 10,000 steps for me equal to about four miles. 15,000 steps get northward of six. The reason I’m going to switch to looking at more miles, now that I’ve got in the habit, it feels weird, eighteen days in a row of doing 10,000 plus steps, it feels normal to me. The thing I’ve thought about is everybody’s steps are different, right? 

Seth: Right.

Tsh: My gait is a lot shorter than Kyle’s because I’m a foot shorter than him. But five miles is five miles. That’s why I’m using that as a metric more probably in the near future. 

Seth: Those are my two questions. Miles and steps. I think that’s good when we’re talking about slow exercise or slowness in general, but with slow exercise, I think one of the things is having a consistent metric. When I think of rowing, for instance, yesterday I rowed a 10K and it took me forty-five minutes but I’m also really long and generate a lot of leverage and so somebody who rowing next to me and rowing a 10K who might be shorter, maybe like you, would have to pull a whole lot more and so the amount of energy generated isn’t quite the same. That’s why a lot of times people will say run for time, pull for time, and row for time when you’re doing these slower cardio, steady-state cardio events. I like the idea of saying let’s pick a metric that is the [inaudible] same and do that.

Tsh: Yeah, for sure. For me, one of the things I’ve noticed the past few weeks is I started off doing it for the physical health benefits but the mental health and the emotional health have been right there with it to where that’s one of the reasons why it starts feeling weird to me to not walk as much. Let’s say I get closer to 10K versus 15K, I can feel the steps. I can feel it. For me, the gains have been mostly mental because let’s face it, I’m not sore after walking six miles, it’s not hard. It really is not. But the mental clarity and the emotional clarity have been so great and here’s the reason. Our bodies release cortisol when we work out, that’s just how they do it. Women, in particular, release more cortisol than men and that’s the stress hormone. We need that stress hormone. It’s not about getting rid of cortisol but it’s about having it released at the right times or for the right reasons. Right now, I’m trying to lower my cortisol levels because I’m trying to get better sleep and I’m trying to work on my mental health, my constant monkey brain. I need to lower my cortisol levels and walking is a great way to do it because it’s one of the only forms of active working out that lower cortisol level, not elevates it. That’s why I feel like the mental and emotional benefits have been really solid for me. That’s where I want to park on because as much as we like to talk about fitness and we will continue to, I think we all can relate a little bit to thinking slower and maybe reacting a little slower to the things in our life. We’ve all been through a global pandemic and I think most of us have experienced a slowing down of our life in the past twelve months because of our calendars, that they have emptied. I don’t know about you, Seth, but that was to me, probably the best benefit of something like this that has not been a good thing. I have welcomed the lowered expectations of me needing to be somewhere at a certain time and having to run all over town to take kids places, stuff like that. It’s been a really nice slowing down in that department. 

Seth: I agree with you 100%. We were talking the other night about how there was a moment early in the pandemic when my business on one front slowed down so much that I was actually concerned. But by the same token, we were eating out zero, we were going zero, we were driving zero, and we started realizing maybe we’re losing a little bit of money but we’re also saving a ton of money just as a result of the slowness. Then we started realizing we’re more connected, we’re spending more time together, we see each other just because the pace of life had slowed down so much. Over the last six months, it’s slowly creeped up and I miss some of those things, some of that slow time. I just miss it. 

Tsh: Yeah, I do too. This is for me why it’s a benefit to do something like walk because you can claim it. Walking is completely not efficient. You don’t get anywhere quickly when you walk. If I choose to walk to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription or to the library to pick up a book, by walking I’m intentionally taking the harder, slower, more methodical route. But I welcome the space. Many times I listen to an audiobook or a podcast but I’m also really and truly embracing the being with my thoughts, especially in the Spring when I can hear birds and wind and things like that and I don’t want to miss them. 

What’s been on my mind is this idea that we can all collectively understand, three different ways that we can embrace a more sacramental nature of slow and it all has to do with response. Responding to the world around us. The first one, and I’m curious what you think, Seth. Actually, while I pull it up, I’m pulling up a tweet that I retweeted. I didn’t write it but I loved it, I read it last week. How quickly do you respond to email?

Seth: I’m not super great at it. Some of it is that I put parameters around my time. If you shoot me a business email that’s non-urgent after hours I’m not going to respond. Period. End of story. Until business hours. There are exceptions to that. I have a client who will periodically text me something and he’s in a different time zone and will text and say I know it’s after hours but will you look at the email, then yeah. I will do that. I am probably an efficient responder to emails but I’m not always timely because I don’t respond after hours. I’m pretty slow. 

Tsh: I’m very slow. No one will give me an award for inbox zero, ever. I saw this tweet, it’s by a guy named Mark Sparrow, I don’t know who it is but just says, 

“Best email signature ever: It is normal for me to take a couple of days to read my emails and several more days to reflect on the matter and respond in a calm manner. The culture of immediacy and the constant fragmentation of time are not compatible with the kind of life I lead.” 

Seth: That’s amazing. 

Tsh: I know. It feels a little stick it to the man-ish. I can see how somebody can read it and think who are you to say that this is not compatible with the life you lead? I need an answer ASAP. But I really like this because I think the point of an email signature like this is saying, listen, these things you are putting in my inbox, you’re not owed a quick response. Someone even commented below that when they started work in the early 90s it was just a normal practice to not respond to a letter within two weeks. This sudden expectation for a same day, sometimes same hour response is just not realistic. I once heard my favorite definition of an email inbox, it was like a to-do list from somebody else, or a to-do list for someone else’s time. I forget how they said it. Basically, it’s people wanting things from you most of the time. For me, I really like this idea of embracing a slow to reply posture. I’ve done this for a long time. I’ve had this no-need-to-reply practice to my emails but to me, I feel like this might be an encouragement to anyone listening that there is perhaps not as urgent a need to reply to that email, to that Slack message, to that text, to that request to volunteer at your kid’s end of the year banquet, all these things that you have permission to think it over before you reply to something like that.

Seth: It seems to me that one of the benefits of your walking practice, if I’m thinking of it in practical terms, is if I were to walk more everywhere I went and an email came across on my way to the library, 1) I might not even see it unless I’m looking at my phone if I’m walking which feels antithetical to the whole point; but 2) even if you did receive it, are you going to stop on the side of the road and sit there and type it out with your thumbs? Probably not. It feels like even when you’re talking about this, and maybe this is part of your initial point, is that as you go on these walks and as you slow down, the tyranny of the urgent actually can’t reach out and grab you by the throat. 

Tsh: 100%. That’s one of the great beauties of this. I think just being outside at minimum is this invitation to detach from the ability to be immediate. In fact, I have been tempted by the idea of leaving my phone, which I know sounds like, just leave your phone, what’s the big deal? But for me, because of the audiobook/podcast tethering, I haven’t done it and I’ve been more reluctant but I think I’m going to try. Here’s the thing. I barely check my email on the phone anyway but I’m still reachable. I still could be reached. That is one of the great beauties of a slower posture is intentionally making it inconvenient, let’s just say, to reply quickly to things in life. 

Seth: That’s sort of a side practice. I’ve heard people talk about this with respect to social media. How do you slow down the onslaught of social media and social media demands on your time? Responding to every comment on any, choose your platform, or making sure that you post on, choose your platform, which is all pretty vacuous stuff, if we’re being super honest. Although my beautiful thing that I’m going to share today is literally an Instagram profile. Anyway, that aside, I have often heard it said that if you want to live a slower life, if you want to not be dragged into the tyranny of the urgent, then make it more difficult to get to [insert the platform], your Instagram, your Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, whatever the next thing is, make it inconvenient. 

Tsh: Yeah, add some friction there. I don’t have Twitter on my phone. I currently have Instagram on my phone because I was working on a thing. But for a better part of the pandemic, I deleted it and only downloaded it on Friday’s and that was fantastic to where I had to intentionally go and download it, re-sign in, retell it yes, you can have access to my photo library, and it was really good for me because I wouldn’t just mindlessly scroll when I was waiting at a checkout line. But I could still access it on my laptop but there’s something a little more intentional about opening up your laptop and that’s the same with Twitter. That’s actually a nice segue to my second form of being slow and that’s a flip side of the same coin, and that’s being slow to respond, which I know is similar to slow to reply. It’s this idea that something in this culture of ours has dictated that we should respond to situations right away if we’re to be good people. I made the foolish decision the other day to scroll through my unsubscribe messages, why people unsubscribe from my email. I never do that. I know not to do that.

Seth: A bad idea. 

Tsh: It’s never helpful. It’s like looking at book reviews. They’re not helpful for me.

Seth: It’s actually like going and asking people that hate you why they hate you to their face. Just let it go, who cares? It doesn’t matter. 

Tsh: I don’t care why you’ve unsubscribed. But this one person unsubscribed from me because I did not respond to a current newsworthy event that happened not too long ago. I didn’t make a statement in my weekly email and so she decided that was worth an unsubscribe and worth telling me. Here’s the thing. I didn’t even know what happened because I closed up all these links because I had a book deadline. I literally did not know what happened. My silence was for a reason. But here’s the thing, even if I did know what happened, if I didn’t reply to it, that doesn’t make me a bad person. If anything, it simply made me a person who needed to think or maybe let other people who are wiser than me or have more ownership in the issue or stake in the issue, speak about the thing. I just find it interesting that we live in this world that says if you’re remotely online, which is honestly all of us, most people have chosen to be on social media if they’re listening to a podcast, that you need to say something. I just think that’s really, really weird. I don’t like it.

Seth: Yesterday, I was watching some awkward Mark Zukerberg moments. That was the title of the YouTube video clip. I was actually looking for something to make this meta-joke. This is all getting really weird, what I’m about to tell you. I was looking for a clip to make a meta-joke on Instagram in a Reels post. It was going to be this really snarky meta-joke about Reels themselves. 

Tsh: Got it.

Seth: I started looking for awkward moments of Mark Zukerberg and I happened to run into this one and he was before Congress and they were asking him questions and they said something like, Mr. Zukerberg, you’re not from here, you flew into DC to talk to us, would you mind telling us publicly where you stayed last night? He just stood there and laughed and said, no. Then they asked, would you mind telling us where you ate dinner last night? He said, no, I don’t really want to do that either. They said would you at least tell us how much money you spent on dinner last night? He said no, I don’t really want to do that either. They said, yet, you’re providing this platform that encourages those people to do all of these things immediately. Everybody got a good chuckle out of it. He got a good chuckle out of it, too. The point held, was that we feel the need to instantly tell everybody everything about us just because we can. That feels bonkers and then when you bring that into a news response scenario, it gets really tricky because, in the last week and a half, three major news outlets have had to come out and say we missed a story. We missed it, we misreported, we gave some bad facts, we correct those facts, here are the facts. Facts are still bad but they were reported inaccurately. If you had spent the time to immediately respond to the inaccurate facts, then are you going to go back and immediately respond to the correction? It’s a cycle that never ends and there are some things that just demand a lot more thought. On top of those two things, I look at some of the issues that make major news cycles these days and I think about systemic racism, which is in my opinion, a very real thing, a very terrible thing, that needs to be dismantled in the United States. 

Tsh: Yep.

Seth: And in my local town. 

Tsh: Yeah.

Seth: I know people who are doing amazing work in the realm of really dismantling these systems who are not on social media and who are very quietly doing amazing work. I would rather continue to watch them do amazing work than jump on to social media and always have to have a response. I’ve always felt like there are times that you do need to immediately say something if you know about it. Come out and say the thing, be clear, be honest, be who you are. But also, that’s no substitute for doing really good quiet work that no one ever knows about. That is slow. That is not instant.

Tsh: Exactly. That actually brings me perfectly to the third point, which is being slow to assume. 

Seth: Yeah.

Tsh: People are nuanced and the Internet, by and large, is not. People are three-dimensional, our screens are two-dimensional. It is hard to pick up on, not only tone and rhetoric but also what’s not being said. Someone’s silence could very well be because they’re doing the on-the-ground, un-sexy, hard work of dismantling racism or sexism or poverty or whatever the issue is, in their local community and it is a better use of their gifts and resources and energy than having some kind of public statement in a tweet. Even when we’re not talking about issues or newsworthy events, just looking at somebody online, looking at their body of work, and deciding why it may or may not be for you. To bring it back again to those unsubscribes, I noticed a few other people had mentioned that they decided to unsubscribe once they heard that we had joined the Catholic Church as a family, which is a whole other thing which maybe we can get to later on this podcast. The reason is that they assume that because we have basically put ourselves under the authority of the Catholic Church, then it means we believe and feel A, B, and C about a certain type of person, a certain belief, a certain you name it. They’re jumping to this huge conclusion based on this one thing they know about me and they don’t know me, really. Here’s what it comes down to, I have messed up their idea of who they want me to be. Or I’ve messed with their version that they want about me and because I am not offering that now, they’ve been given another piece of information they don’t know what to do with it and they just decided they can’t have it. Here’s the thing. I am all for the act of unsubscribing whenever you just flat out can’t have something in your life for whatever certain reason. People are not for everyone and that’s completely fine. I follow a podcast that I learn a lot from. I really do not like this podcaster’s politics at all. We are on very opposite ends of the political spectrum but I still subscribe to his podcast because I can learn from him and I appreciate that his posture is one of humility and he is nuanced and I appreciate that. Let’s be slow to assume.

Seth: Again, part of the work of slowness and the work of slowly getting to know yourself and being comfortable with yourself and who you are, means that when people make snap judgments about you and you have clarity about who you are, what you believe, and what you’re about, what you’re supposed to be about, some of those things just roll off your back a little bit differently. If you have the confidence of someone who has done the slow, hard work and continues to do the slow, hard work and continues to change, and be open to new ideas and move in different ways, then some of that stuff can just float away. I will ask because I think it’s a fascinating question, were the assumptions, based on your joining of the Catholic Church, were there both conservative and liberal people who assumed quasi opposite things about you as a result? 

Tsh: 100%. It’s fascinating to me. I think maybe this is why the Catholic Church can feel so uncomfortable to people because it’s so old it doesn’t fit into anybody’s modern categories. It does a great job of pissing off both the liberals and the conservatives. It’s uncomfortable for me. There are some things that I’m like, ehhhhh, I don’t know. 

Seth: Because you’re human!

Tsh: Exactly, that’s what we’re saying, right? Of course, this is just one example of nuance. I’m not at all implying that this is the book of where nuance lies. We can be nuanced and not be Catholic. This is just my reality at the moment. I’m rattling people’s ideas of who they thought I was. They thought because I promoted candidate X, then, of course, I must believe this way theologically. Or because I make these decisions about my kids’ education then, of course, I also think these other things. Nobody is one way. We are all just a mixed bag of stuff. I can’t think of what it is. 

Seth: I took some of that heat. Amber and I took some of that heat after the election. Go look through my profiles. I was very clear. I’ll just say to the listener here, I voted for Joe Biden. I very much supported Joe Biden. Not because I agree with everything Joe Biden says and certainly not because I consider myself a Democrat. But I felt like we were at an imperative point in American history and I felt like, of the two candidates, there was one candidate that could get us where we needed to go out of that imperative moment at least head us in the right direction, point us in the right direction. Does that mean that I’m 100% pro-abortion? No. Not at all. 

Tsh: Exactly.

Seth: I’ve been very, very clear about that. Yet, I took heat from people saying that same thing. How could you ever support abortion? That’s not what I was doing. I think part of the problem, and this is not to make it about politics. I have very good friends who will vote another way and I’m still very close friends with them and will continue to be. Typically when we get in a room I can vehemently disagree with their political opinion and we can still find common ground where we still love each other and still have productive conversations but that is primarily because we’re in relationship not because we’re in this weird subscriber/consumer/producer relationship. I think once we start to commodify each other and impute meaning to each other that maybe not warranted or not fair and in that commodity turn sour or disappoints then it’s really easy to throw the commodity away and say Tsh, you’re a commodity, I’m done with you. Seth, you’re a commodity, I’m done with you. I do this to people, too. I’m a human too, so I have done this, too. I think part of what we have to get back to, again, back to your slowness, we have to get back to the slow art of paying attention. We talked about this a little bit with other writers, the art of paying attention a few years back. I don’t know if you remember that. That’s the primary work of the writer. I think that’s actually the primary work of the writer because it’s the primary work of the human. Paying attention. Slowing down. Listening to each other. Not being so quick to throw each other away. Listen, like you said, if I’m not for you, please go find the person that’s for you. I’m totally cool with that. You’re not hurting my feelings but don’t throw your assumptions on me. 

Tsh: Exactly. I think that seeing is the act of being sacramental. This morning I heard this fantastic definition of sacramentality, which is simply seeing the world as it really is. Since we like to talk about that here and since this episode, in particular, is about slowness, just to bring it full circle. We have a neighbor down the street, who during the election had all sorts of signs in their yard for the opposite candidate our family had signs in our yard for, or at least that we were voting for, they were Trump supporters, basically. They felt compelled to put signs out in their yard for that. I admit that I was probably quick to judge what they might have been like as people. Fast forward, in my walking habit, I nearly every day past their house. It is a sweet older couple who have a fantastic backyard garden that I can see because it’s a corner lot. They are the nicest people. They say hello. They talk about our dog. Our neighbor across the street who drives a Harley, he’s been over there. I’ve seen him in their garage chit-chatting. They are beacons of the neighborhood because they’ve been here a long time. I’ve really grown to appreciate who they are as people, just a sweet older couple. For me, that’s my lesson. These people are nuanced and I slowed down enough to walk past their house and recognize that and I don’t think I would have if I just drove by their house all the time. 

Seth: I think that is key for this moment in our country, is just being slow enough to actually get to know each other as people not as avatars, not as thoughts or ideas on a screen. One of the things Amber and I have been talking about, we’ve actually talked about it on this podcast, Amber and I have been talking about why do Instagram quotables work to drive audience engagement? I just freaking refuse to do it. I refuse to do it. I know it would be good for my audience but I cannot do it. The reason I think that I push so much against it is just the instant gratification of quotable words in a moment that don’t make us wrestle with the meaning of an image. Some of what I’m going to share today in what is beautiful to me right now is an artist who is legitimately the viewer wrestle with the art of an image and it takes time. You can’t necessarily impute meaning and it’s important. 

Tsh: Go ahead and tell us about this then because that was going to be my next question is what’s adding beauty to your life. Tell me more. 

Seth: There’s an account called @findinginterestingpeople. I actually sent you the link so that while we’re talking you can pull it up, maybe.

Tsh: I’m pulling it up right now. 

Seth: If you look, it’s just black and white street photography by I think a female artist who’s just capturing the world through her lens. Every one of these photos is either an interesting composition or an interesting person and it really makes you stop and say, what is the story of that photograph. Again, you have to slow down and stop and look at these photos and spend time with them and say what is it about this that’s compelling? And they’re all compelling to me. 

Tsh: These are fantastic. First of all, it’s in New York, which has so many street images that it’s just interesting to those of us that don’t live in that environment. I love that she’s done black and white and I like that it’s not quotes. I agree. These are real photos. 

Seth: I don’t know why, my assumption is that it’s a woman and I’m not 100% sure why because I’m looking at the profile and it doesn’t really say that. What is super interesting is that I’ve already made an assumption based on these images and the way that these images have been captured makes me think this is a female looking at the world. Even that is just a fascinating assumption on my part.

Tsh: You’re the one that really gave me that idea last year about thinking of Instagram more as a museum and it has made me hate it so much less. I’m not yet at the point where I like it. I don’t think I like it as much as you but I don’t hate it like I used to, so I appreciate it. 

Seth: The curation has made the world of difference in my life. 

Tsh: Yeah. That’s very cool. It’s like visual poetry.

Seth: 100%. I actually talked about this in my last newsletter because I’ve been having such a hard time writing. What I have found is that if I can find the right image, it somehow unlocks the words. These last three to four weeks of just having a real struggle writing, it’s unlocking words for me. 

Tsh: That’s really cool. I think it’s funny, I went to my homepage and it’s literally @#!%. It is jarring. I’m unfollowing right now. 

Seth: You’ve got to mute those things. What you should do is, Kyle, put a big long beep there and then me coming back and saying, you’ve got to mute those things. 

Tsh: That’s a good idea. Do that, Kyle.

Seth: What are you listening to, watching, reading, that is making your life a little bit more good, true, beautiful?

Tsh: Right now, it is a new-to-me podcast that I did not know existed because I thought they just did written stuff. Have you heard of the website Atlas Obscura? 

Seth: No.

Tsh: I think you would like it. It’s a great travel website but apparently, they do a podcast and I started bingeing on this podcast the past week and it is a delight. One of the reasons I like it is because each episode is only fifteen minutes long. There’s a place for shorter podcasts and I’m here for it. It is a podcast about the weird obscure, unknown places around the world that would never make a travel guide or you would walk by and never know. The first episode I listened to was from a few weeks ago and it was called Brooklyn Latrine and it was about this buried latrine before there was indoor plumbing in this guy’s backyard. It’s really well produced. The sound is great. It’s like reporting but it’s reporting about mundane things that we walk by and I thought it was perfect for this particular episode of talking about slow and walking because it feels like they discovered these things by going on walks and unpacking these unknown places. There’s one about a sourdough library. 

Seth: What??

Tsh: Yeah. There’s the one about this tiny little place in Malawi. There’s a thousand-year-old rose somewhere. There’s a thing about communist mummies. Snake dens. There are just really cool, tiny, little, weird, bizarre places. I feel like it’s a great audio form of armchair travel. If you’re feeling the itch to get the heck out of dodge because of this pandemic and you still just can’t, this is a really good podcast for that. Two thumbs up for me. I’m glad to have found a new travel podcast. 

Seth: That sounds pretty amazing. I’m going to have to listen to that. 

Tsh: It’s really good. I think listeners of this show, if you like our show, you’ll probably like this show. 

Seth: That’s awesome.

Tsh: It’s time to wrap up this episode. You can find this episode, as well as all episodes, at adrinkwithafriend.com. It’s also where you can sign up for our new Substack space for the show, where we have plans for some pretty great extra stuff for you, and it’s also where you can support this show for just a few bucks. If you like what we’re bringing to your earbuds, we are almost 100% listener-supported and we like it that way — so again, all this is at adrinkwithafriend.com and in the show notes of this episode. You can find me and all my work at tshoxenreider.com — Seth, where can people find you?

Seth: sethaines.com and like last week, follow me over on Instagram @sethhaines.

Tsh: You’re doing good work there. I appreciate it.

Seth: Thanks, I appreciate it. I’m really excited about the next photo that I’m going to release which I found on my phone, taken in Kansas City in 2017. You will see it probably by the time this episode goes out. 

Tsh: Very cool. Look forward to it. Music for the show is by Kevin MacLeod, editing is by Kyle Oxenreider, and Caroline TeSelle is our transcriber and assistant extraordinaire. I’m Tsh Oxenreider, and Seth and I will be back here with you soon. Thanks for listening.