A week after his visit with Morrie, Mitch flies to England to cover the Wimbledon tennis tournament. In his free time, rather than enjoying the British tabloids like he usually does, he finds himself preoccupied with thinking about his visit with Morrie.Mitch finds that – as he reads the tabloids and consumes media about celebrities that don't mean anything to Mitch personally – he envies the quality of Morrie's life. Mitch mentions the OJ Simpson trial taking place at the same time in the US, saying that many people watch trial footage on their lunch hours and continue to watch once they get home from work, despite having no personal connection to the individuals involved.
Despite being entrenched in it, Mitch is willing and able to critique parts of modern culture even after one visit with Morrie. He recognizes the strangeness of being so caught up in the lives of celebrities rather than one's own life and relationships.
Mitch compares his own culture of spending hours per day on the computer, doing nothing but work, to Morrie'sculture. Morrie watches little television, and instead spends time writing letters, visiting with his friends, keeping up with new ideas, starting community service projects, and until he was confined to a wheelchair, dancing. Mitch knows that Morrie believes that finding meaning in life is accomplished by becoming part of a community and creating meaning, but Mitch doesn't do anything like that.
Again, we see how totally Mitch has bought into the ideals of modern culture, juxtaposed with Morrie's rejection of it. Mitch is willing to admit that Morrie's way of living is more fulfilling, but he's not yet willing to do anything about it. This builds tension between the two opposing cultures that are presented.
The morning after Mitch returns to Detroit after covering Wimbledon in London, his newspaper union decides to go on strike. While he has other work for TV and radio, Mitch feels lost and depressed without newspaper work to keep him busy. The strike continues for days, and there is talk that it could continue for months. After a week, Mitch finally calls Morrie and asks to visit him again.
Mitch is relatively non-functional when his work culture disappears and he's forced to stop moving. Reaching out to Morrie is a way to connect again with some sort of community, albeit a very different one than newspaper work.
In Mitch's second year of college, he and Morrie meet regularly just to talk. Morrie encourages Mitch to be fully human, and advises him that money isn't the most important thing. Mitch doesn't understand all of the wisdom that Morrie tries to pass on, but he loves having the conversations. He confides to the reader that his lack of understandingdoesn't affect his enjoyment of talking to Morrie.
Mitch values the conversations for the connection he feels with Morrie more than the content. Seeing Mitch valuing connection and friendship over other things contrasts again with who Mitch is in the present.
Morrie encourages Mitch to follow his dreams of becoming a professional pianist, rather than a lawyer as his father wants him to be. When Morrie says that if Mitch really wants to be a pianist he can make it happen, Mitch wants to hug Morrie but doesn't.
The tension of opposites appears again here with Mitch's desires contrasted against his father's. Mitch is consistently hesitant to show affection physically despite admitting his desires to do so to the reader.