Look, Here's The Thing:
If given the chance, I will spend a great amount of time expounding upon my beliefs on tribal culture and living. Read: I will talk your face into the floor. But please, if you are a philosopher or anthropology major, warn me ahead of time. Because you and I both know I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, I just have a lady boner for Daniel Quinn.
I may not get the terminology or maybe the historical particulars, but I do believe that tribe life is the Way To Go. It all just makes too much sense: you find what you're good at and you do it; social security is built in because as an elder you're needed to just keep those young brats in line; fuck medical expenses because hey, that's what witch doctors are for. You have a war every hundred years or so with the neighbors just to prove that I AM NOT TO BE MESSED WITH, and then you go on with your life. You give to the tribe so the tribe will give to you. It's practical.
But the sticking point here (and also the reason a lot of my friends think I'm BS crazy) is not that I believe we should go back to wearing leaves over our junk, but that tribal living can very much be a practical thing.
You find what you're good at. You do it to contribute to the whole so that the whole keeps you safe. You travel sometimes, you trade with other tribes sometimes. When you're on their turf, you abide by their rules. They know that you don't mess with tribe BossyPants. You eat and you breathe. You live and you die. And you live on through the next generation, who keeps the memory of you in its tradition.
THIS COULD SO TOTALLY BE A PRACTICAL THING. But I'm not going to get into all of that -- why I think we could absolutely live in a big world made up of little parts. Why I think no two groups should ever have to live in the same way. Why big government has totally fucked us over in this regard. Why the five or so corporations that own us have really, really screwed us over. Not that I'm bitter or anything.
That's not the point here. The point is the Eureka! moment I had today. Whilst feverishly avoiding being late to work in the Death Mobile this morning, I stopped at one of the many passive-aggressive stop signs en route and it came to me. Like the two roads crossing before me, the tribe is neither the structure nor the people. It's the intersection of them both.
What do I mean? I mean that it's been a rough week. I mean that I've had to draw on every resource I have at my disposal just to stay sane, or at least to keep me away from a case of wine. I've been on the phone more times than probably the last few years combined. I've had more screaming-crying-kicking-laughing-sobbing conversations than any of my friends should ever be proud to have endured. I've written, I've knitted, I've taken baths. I've taken a huge loan out of my tribal social security.
But here's the amazing part. The reason I have so many amazing people in my life and the balls to ask them to be around me in times of crisis is because I've worked for it. I've put my time in. I've used my gift with words as my payment to the tribe, or all the wonderful people I am blessed to call a part of my life. I love them and they love me, because no one -- NO ONE -- is an island. I give to the tribe and the tribe gives back. It's emotional social security.
Oh dear god, I'm just making allegory for The Hangover, aren't I? Like, wanna be part of my Wolf Pack?
P.S...As an added bonus, please go listen to this song. Because it keeps showing up on my Pandora and simultaneously makes me want to dance in the rain singing and jump off a building. Just do it.