I went out to one of BB's Friday night meals yesterday evening. So there was a proper shabbat atmosphere, with good food and good conversation. I went with my Polish neighbour, who is always good company. It must be weird for her, being in a group of people who have loads of assumed nostalgia for Yiddish songs, but the only ones that anyone knows are, at best, songs that were already old-fashioned when she was growing up in the 30s, or most often just parodies or pastiches from film scores. But she's always very nice about it, and has even tried to teach us some actual Yiddish songs that were popular when she was young.
There was a moment when we were chatting about dentistry, and she told this story: during the last few weeks of the Ghetto in Poland, she got all her savings together and paid to have her teeth seen to. Then, when she was in the concentration camp, she was glad she had made that decision, because one of her schoolfriends had such terrible toothache that she ran out in front of the watchtower, pretending to be trying to escape so that the guard would shoot her. Thing is, my neighbour doesn't go on about her war experiences, because she's wise enough to know that if you keep talking about your traumatic past, even though people will be sympathetic in theory, they can't deal with it and you would end up not having a strong social network. But in this sort of situation, it's the only relevant life experience that she could relate to the conversation. I suspect that by her standards that wasn't even a particularly horrific story; there's plenty she doesn't say.
I got home at around 11, and decided to do something I don't normally do, namely deliberately time-shift myself. Getting a chance to talk to compilerbitch in California was a more important priority than getting up at a decent hour this morning. So we had a really nice chat that went on into the small hours from my point of view. That meant that I was awake when the snow started falling, nothing very impressive but the first of the season.
This morning I had a lie-in, and then spent the second half of the morning chatting to the PRI. We seem to get on very well, we've been having lots of really good conversations. Now, people have pointed out to me that I can't go out with someone just because they're interesting to talk to... I think if I worked on that basis I'd go out with half my friends list, though if I narrowed it to people who are interesting to talk to, and also single and attracted to me and not my exes, I would get more realistic numbers. Anyway, whether it works out or not at the moment we're having a very enjoyable time getting to know eachother.
Then I went to the secret Talmud study cabal in the afternoon. I've missed the last several, since they keep being scheduled when I am either out of the country or committed with Progressive stuff. Anyway, it was even more fun than usual; we were discussing the line from Pirke Avot which says that you should avoid too much interaction with women, otherwise you will attract evil and end up in hell. It is difficult to have any kind of rational discussion about that, but in fact we did so. It didn't degenerate into either being sexist or complaining that the Talmudic epigram is sexist (no, duh!), which is what usually happens.
As for j4's meme, I'm doing moderately well. I have spoken to hatam_soferet and lethargic_man and ploni_bat_ploni on the phone, loreid and compilerbitch by Skype, pseudomonas and syllopsium by IM, sent emails to rysmiel and timeplease, and I made up my tenth by sending an ecard to j4 herself. Some of those were more like ongoing conversations than saying specific things, but it's an improvement on my usual over-reliance on LJ.