Arman's stuff
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Plate Spinning

(Thu Jul 16 16:29:45 2009)

Plate spinning is an old carnival trick.

The performer takes a stick, balances a plate on it, and spins the plate to effectively turn it into a gyroscope. There is considerable skill involved - to get a single plate spinning, you must be able to intuitively find the plate's center of gravity, and spin the plate on that point. You can't simply whack the side of the plate spin it, either, since that would unbalance it, sending it crashing to the floor. Once the plate is spinning, you have to continue to add rotational energy, or the plate slows down to the point where the gyroscopic effect is too small to keep the plate balanced.

It's hard enough keeping one plate spinning; you balance it, spin it, and watch it to see if it's slowing down too much, spinning it up when it does. It's even harder to keep a bunch of plates spinning - at some point, you lose track of which plate you last spun, and checking the rotation of all your plates takes so long that, eventually, one crashes to the ground. The current world record is 108 simultaneously spinning plates.

For me, relationships are the same way. I have a very small circle of close friends and family, a (still small) group of people I'm friends with, and a still larger group of people I'm friendly towards (basically, whose names I can recall). Adding people to any of those groups is like adding another plate to spin - I have to remember their name, what they look like, what they sound like on the phone, and what reason I have for adding them to my group. Are they a coworker? A friend of a friend? A random person I just happened to like? The more friends I have - the more plates on poles, so to speak - the harder it is for me to keep them all spinning. Often I'll let friends (especially in the third group) go ignored. Don't get me wrong, I do have friends that I would do everything in my power to avoid growing distant. I just tire of "friend upkeep," just like I would tire of running from plate to plate, keeping them all spinning. I'm getting better, though; my list of "inner circle" friends has grown since I was in high school, and my list of "people I'm friendly toward" is positively enormous by turn-of-the-century-me standards. Still, if you feel neglected, give a little wobble (in the form of an email, phone call, IM, postcard, personal visit, or candygram), and I'll be sure to respond.

Now hold on, I need to spin some work-related plates...

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This blag is tagged: Friends, Relationships, All