Hanging Out is the Sound of One Hand Clapping

Thomas - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: pleasure
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Our world is a hectic one; a veritable perpetual motion machine that is espoused to trample all those who do not move from task to task quicker than celebrity couples break up, or flattens those who can’t handle more than four separate tasks whilst driving. No one sleeps, and why should they? It’s a waste of time that could be spent doing valuable things. In this huge conflagration we seem to have lost the ability to stop for a second and just… hang out.

I believe in hanging out. The activity is almost a Zen-like experience. When it’s a “hang out” army of one, there’s time to reflect, read a good book or newspaper, or listen to an album, preferably on vinyl, which is the unofficial recording material of hanging out, as it requires the listener to stay in one place. A hang out with two or more people develops relationships much more quickly and effectively than task oriented gatherings and events and offers more opportunities for conversations and developing inside jokes and/or references that enrich friendships.

A hang out session is free of the rigid, menial schedules of the world. Truly hanging out is aimless, which serves the unlikely purpose of judging the overall merit of a relationship. If you can’t stand a proper hang out with someone, it’s unlikely you’ll ever forge a solid, well-rounded friendship with them. If you constantly need to make plans in order to stand being with you supposed “friend,” maybe that person isn’t for you. Some even go so far as to plan their friendships around activities that require zero interaction. The best example of this is movies, which generally require strict attention. Hang outs may involve movies if and only if, the persons involved talk frequently throughout the movie. Otherwise, the friendship is left lifeless from malnutrition.

Hanging out is almost always the definition of “good clean fun.” People don’t hang out in crack houses. When was the last time someone suggested to you that you hang out and subsequently shoved a syringe in your face and suggested you shoot up? Never happens, right? Hanging out is too pure, too untouchable. It’s almost like a sacred pact between people to be noncommittal. Why plan your day around a movie, or a carnival trip when you can amble aimlessly around a grocery store? It may not be as memorable, but in the long run it’ll probably mean more.

I think the world needs to learn to just hang out. Hanging out has been proven as an effective technique for peace negotiations. Just look at the Camp David Accords, or the PLO-Israeli meetings under Clinton. They involved world leaders sitting in a room together, talking. Not fighting, not imposing sanctions, not running bombing raids or mounting propaganda campaigns, but sitting around talking.