Triple-S is one of the most likeable people I have met. He is one of these American-educated Outposters — you know. So, on Thursday we were both standing greeting the crowds, representing the Firm. Actually, when I started with the Firm, he used to do the job I am doing now. Anyway. Although we were there to talk to people about the Firm, little was happening by way of eye contact with others, let alone communication. So, we chatted about the ‘avoid communication’ principle that seems to be in operation here. Triple-S said
Every instance of communication outside their local social network of mutual trust is a source of anxiety for Outposters. If they do not know you or if they do not manage to promptly locate a trusted mutual acquaintance, they try to avoid communication altogether with you, if possible. In the worst of cases, they will even try to somehow cheat you.
The above immediately reminded me of Jack Byrnes’ Circle of Trust. But seriously now, if you have been following this blog for some time, you will realise that the above quote summarises much of our experience and frustration here.
I was thinking of this discussion on the treadmill this evening. My mind drifted to times and places when people would actively seek me out in order to communicate with me. Some still do, they are known as ‘friends’ by now.
When I was in High School, I was actually miserable for being sought out to be communicated with: all the girls I fancied would somehow end up installing me as their father confessor and handy agony aunt (Jod still calls me like that some times, although she first met me years after that time…). So, while I was trying to get to know them better in order to be able to propose to them high-school style, they were in the meantime talk-talk-talking to me. By the time we sort of knew each other, a boyfriend-girlfriend relation was no longer possible, as I would have by then firmly but imperceptibly become their confidant. I would curse and curse myself and the trust others (especially sweetly smelling schoolmates, usually long-haired and somehow absent-minded) would put in me.
I then remembered the night, years afterwards, when I had just come back from France. I knew Jorge had troubles with his girlfriend (who had also confided to me that she fancied me because I was “a genuinely dark personality”; although flattered back then, I had passed), but that was not the reason I wanted to see him. Neither was it because I had really developed a crush on that Croatian painter and I had passed again because Unstable Ballerina was waiting for me to come back from my three weeks in France. It was because, hours after coming back from France, Unstable Ballerina had broken up with me. I wanted someone to pour my (broken and bruised and generally molested) heart out. That is why I wanted to see Jorge. We walked and I talked, upset and hurt and disoriented. I didn’t even mention the sweet Croatian painter waving goodbye to me from the loft window of MJIF in Paris. I focused on the disaster at hand. This went on for half an hour, Jorge looked somehow uninterested in my tragic circumstances. Then he upstaged me: not only had he broken up with his girlfriend, he had finally admitted to himself he is gay. Although we had seen this one coming, it was certainly much more serious than my predicament. So I lent a sympathetic ear to him for the following three hours (at least).
Laughing I got off the treadmill. A little lack of communication won’t kill me, after all.