Food for Thought @ Highlands

Nadav texted me that he is coming into the city to hang out. This does not happen that often because he is now a Mr. Mom in Philadelphia. In our 20s and 30s, because we did not have smartphones, his apartment on St. Marks Place functioned as the central hub that informed us of what was happening in our circle of friends. He was the only witness at our City Hall wedding.

He never had a career. How he spends his time and makes ends meet has been a big mystery. On the phone, he always sounds like he is busy, but we make fun of him by putting “busy” in double-quotes. It’s not that he is a secretive guy; if you ask him any questions, he’ll give you straight answers. The only problem is that even those straight answers cannot clear up his mysteries.

He has no skills but has abundant charm. I’ve been asking this question for the last 25 years: What could he pursue as a career? Some people have traits and qualities that could make them wildly successful if there were opportunities that required those specific ones, but their combinations are too unique to have standardized names for those jobs. They would have to create them.

Nadav is ambivalent, not ambitious. He was, even when I first met him in our 20s. He doesn’t see anything wrong with being a nobody. That’s what initially drew me to him, and is a big part of why he has a mysterious aura. After all, who isn’t afraid of being a nobody, especially in New York? The fact that he can’t do anything useful baffles me. He has no reason to feel confident, and he knows it, yet he oozes confidence, like he is standing inside of the rainbow of confidence and can’t see it himself.

People don’t need him but want him; it’s an envious place to be since I’m the other way around. In my career, I have collected a closet full of marketable skills because I had to make sure that people needed me. Nadav’s lack of ambition is so complete that he makes no effort to be wanted, needed, or even liked. I would be too scared. I’m not sure how he let it all go. I don’t think he knows it either. It’s like, one day, he decided to jump off of a skyscraper to enjoy the view.