The Chairs Are Where the People Go How to Live, Work, and Play in the City

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-07-05
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Why shouldn't neighborhoods change? Why is wearing a suit a good way to quit smoking? Why do people think that if you do one thing you're against something else? Is monogamy a trick? Why should making the city more fun for you and your friends be a super-noble political goal? Why does a computer last only three years? How often should you see your parents? What do spam filters tell us about the world? How should we behave at parties? Is marriage getting easier? What do gyms say about the way we live now? Why do we sometimes feel like frauds?In short, pithy chapters ("Gentrification," "People's Protective Bubbles Are OK," "A Mind Is Not a Terrible Thing to Measure"), Misha Glouberman tells us what he has learned about life, tackling the most trivial of questions alongside the more important ones and revealing that they have more in common than you might think. From thoughts about conflict resolution in the Middle East to observations about loud music in rowdy neighborhoods, from questions on the function of spam filters to ideas on how to edit our own lives,The Chairs Are Where the People Gois an invigorating, entertaining handbook for the times we live in.

Author Biography

MISHA GLOUBERMAN is a performer, facilitator, and artist who lives in Toronto.

SHEILA HETI is the author of three books of fiction: The Middle Stories, Ticknor, and How Should a Person Be?. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, n + 1, and The Guardian. She regularly conducts interviews for The Believer.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
People's Protective Bubbles Are Okayp. 3
How to Make Friends in a New Cityp. 4
The Uniqlo Gamep. 6
Going to the Gymp. 7
How to Be Good at Playing Charadesp. 9
Don't Pretend There Is No Leaderp. 12
The Chairs Are Where the People Gop. 15
How to Teach Charadesp. 17
Miscommunication Is Nicep. 20
The Gibberish Gamep. 21
The Residents'Associationp. 23
There Are Some Games I Won't Play with My Friendsp. 36
Social Musicp. 37
Mannersp. 39
How to Improvise, and How Not to Not Improvisep. 42
The Crazy Partsp. 46
Charging for My Classesp. 48
What Is a Game?p. 50
Spamp. 51
Margauxp. 55
Charades Homeworkp. 56
Harvard and Classp. 59
The Rocks Gamep. 66
Some Video on the Internetp. 68
People Who Take My Classesp. 70
Shut Up and Listenp. 71
Is Monogamy a Trick?p. 72
The Conducting Gamep. 75
Sitting on the Same Side of the Tablep. 78
Seeing My Friends Drunk for the First Timep. 81
A Decision Is a Thing You Makep. 84
All the Games Are Meant to Solve Problems, but Problems Are Unpleasantp. 89
Home Maladiesp. 90
Keeping Away People Who Would Be Disappointedp. 92
The Happiness Classp. 93
The Converge/Diverge Gamep. 98
Going to Partiesp. 101
Kensington Marketp. 103
Keeping People Quietp. 108
Feeling Like a Fraudp. 110
Negotiationp. 111
Fighting Gamesp. 113
What Experimental Music Is Forp. 118
These Projects Don't Make Moneyp. 119
Seeing Your Parents Once a Weekp. 122
Asking a Good Questionp. 123
A Mind Is Not a Terrible Thing to Measurep. 125
Doing One Thing Doesn't Mean You're Against Something Elsep. 128
Get Louder or Quitp. 129
Why Robert McKee Is Wrong About Casablancap. 130
Conferences Should Be an Exhilarating Experiencep. 132
Improvised Behaviorp. 139
Storytelling Is Not the Same Thing as Conversationp. 140
Introducing People in the Classesp. 141
Making the City More Fun for You and Your Privileged Friends Isn't a Super-Noble Political Goalp. 143
Seeing John Zorn Play Cobrap. 145
Impostor Syndromep. 148
Nimbyismp. 149
Conducting from the Center of a Circlep. 151
Why Noise Music?p. 153
Absenteeismp. 154
Failure and Gamesp. 155
Why a Computer Only Lasts Three Yearsp. 156
What Are These Classes For?p. 157
Who Are Your Friends?p. 159
Neighborhoods Changep. 160
Atheism and Ritualp. 162
Social Capitalp. 164
Sitting Down and Listening as a Rolep. 165
Everyone's Favorite Thing and Unfavorite Thing Are Differentp. 167
Finding an Endingp. 168
Wearing a Suit All the Time Is a Good Way to Quit Smokingp. 169
Acknowledgmentsp. 175
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


1. People’s Protective Bubbles Are Okay
I hear people complain that, for instance, in this city, people don’t say hi on the street or make eye contact on the subway. And people try to remedy this problem by doing public art projects that are meant to rouse the bourgeoisie from their slumber. But that’s ridiculous! It’s perfectly reasonable for people not to want to see your dance performance when they are coming home from work. People are on the subway because they’re getting from one place to another, and for all you know, they’re coming from a job that involves interacting with lots and lots of people, and going to a home where there’s a family where they’re going to interact with lots more people. And the subway’s the one place where they can have some quiet time, get some reading done,nothave to smile,nothave to make eye contact. That’s what a city is: a city is a place where you can be alone in public, and where you have that right. It’snecessaryto screen people out. It would beoverwhelmingif you had to perceive every single person on a crowded subway car in the fullness of their humanity. It would be completely paralyzing. You couldn’t function. So don’t try to fix this. There is no problem.

Copyright © 2011 by Misha Glouberman and Sheila Heti

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