Eccentric Independent Contrary

I don’t believe that I have ever eaten cassoulet.    I can’t say that the recipe much appeals to me,  though that big beautiful pork chop sticking out does look scrumptious and I suspect the sausage and fava beans in the bowl would be tasty.

I kind of believe that contrary is in my genes.   My late father would sometimes spend the first half of a party or gathering arguing passionately for one side of some controversial matter,  then half way through switch to arguing the exact opposite.   I suppose it could be that we just like to argue.   And certainly,  it is good to consider opposing views before making up your mind.   I try not be contrary,  but to always remember how important it is to consider at least two (and preferably more) sides to any contentious issue.

In my early twenties, after having lived away from home at college for a few years,   I got to a point where I felt the need to be independent.   That I chose to move from my native New Orleans to the Boston area was probably one of the worst decisions I ever made.   I did not like Boston.   Many of the people seemed extraordinarily rude,   and after the first few winter storms snow turned from a novelty into an enormous pain in the neck.   In Boston,  the weather was never considered a reasonable excuse for being late or being absent.   (When I moved to the Seattle area,  I woke up one morning and found two or three inches of snow on the ground.    I brushed it off my car and hastened to work.    I was delayed an hour or so,  by a bus that had spun out and completely blocked a roadway.   When I finally got to the office,   exactly one person was there.   He had come in only to turn away anyone so foolish as to try to go work when it was snowing in Seattle.)   I do think that everyone should try living on their own at least once,  to see how they like it.    I also think that life is a lot better when we live with people who love us.

Like my friend Peter Wright,  who suggested these three words,   I do consider myself something of an eccentric.   A one of a kind if you will.    I apologize that this post is so very tardy.   For days and days now I have just been unable to bring myself to sit down and write.    My thanks to Peter for today’s words and to each and every one of you who reads and comments on this post.


21 comments on “Eccentric Independent Contrary

  1. Today is Alice in Wonderland – first you tease us by reversing the word order, and then you have the introduction about cassoulet, complete with illustration. Do you believe it is eccentric, independent and contrary never to have eaten it,and therefore the introduction sums up ‘the whole idea’ like in charades? Interesting.

    Of course, I think it unlikely that you would have come thus far through life without ever eating the American equivalent of cassoulet, ‘Pork and beans’. No Boston baked beans in all your time in Boston (though I admit my knowledge of the recipe is insufficient to know whether it includes, as I am guessing it does, some form of ham/bacon). Brazilian feijoada (correct spelling not guaranteed)? Etcetera, etcetera..

    I am writing more than usual in response because for once your background does not leave me longing to raid the fridge, but linger among its pastoral scenery. Thank-you. Not that we are short of green vegetation in a the wettest summer on record here in England – competing for the Irish title of ‘The Emerald Isle’.

    • You know, I had never even considered “pork and beans’– a tinned staple of my child hood as an American version of cassoulet. Honestly, I don’t recall liking pork and beans all that much. (I also much confess that I never once ate baked beans in Massachusetts– though growing up in the American south I recall baked beans being a fancier version of “Pork and Beans” often built from the same canned staple, usually with the addition of several condiments and spices. As a native New Orleanian, I am honestly much more fond of “Red Beans And Rice”.

  2. When at school and university I used to enjoy debates where we argued the opposite of what we believed. Sometimes it was illuminating.

    Eccentrics can make the world bearablewhen we see what the crowd does. At least I make my wife laugh. Sometimes I look at the world and wonder who is crazy: everyone else or me?

    • Mmmm. In my considered opinion it is folly to worry about just who is or isn’t crazy. (I tend to think we All are.) And arguing something contrary to what you actually believe can be a useful skill 🙂

  3. I wrote a reply which seems to have been lost. Shall I write the complete opposite of that reply? Actually, I’m not feeling that contrary today.

    Eccentrics make the world bearable when you see what the crowd does. At least I make my wife laugh. Sometimes I wonder who is crazy: everyone else or me?

    • Hi Robert,

      First time commentators have to be approved before their comments appear. I try to approve comments promptly, but only when I am online 🙂 Thanks so much for leaving two great comments.

  4. I am seldom blessed with description of ‘eccentric, independent & contrary.’ More typically I get called ‘weird, stubborn, and ornery.’ I am unclear if that is a reflection on my character or on that of my associates! I shall be looking for an upgrade on both accounts shortly.

    A fun article that left me with a grin today. Thanks.

  5. Oh, your father sounds like fun! I’m always telling my kids not to argue one side of an argument until they can see things from the other side, too. Then pick the side they agree with – but don’t even try, if they can’t empathize on some level.

    Don’t feel bad. I’ve eaten balut and poutine, but never had cassoulet either. Sounds good, though.

    I love snow, but the thought of driving on it makes me a bit queasy. I’ve done it, but so rarely – and always in places where snow was uncommon, so it is even more dangerous, I think, than doing it up north.

    • The older I got the more I appreciated my father. He really was a remarkable man. And you are absolutely right that driving on snow and ice is most dangerous in places where most drivers rarely get any opportunity to learn how to do it. Which is the real reason that Seattle largely closes down over snow fall that would not be an acceptable reason for being five minutes late in Boston.

  6. Pingback: Weird Stubborn Ornery | Libdrone's Thoughts and Musings

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