Sunday, May 1, 2016

Two hours lost

Two hours were taken from my time this afternoon by your pontificating. It's too much. It was time I could have napped during. Or found the aspirin I was looking for after lunch. Why did I need an aspirin? Because I sat too long in one position. Why did I sit too long in one position? Because I was fighting off sleep listening to you go on and on. Patience has its limits and I nearly walked out today. Just for a bit of a breeze. Just for some peace of mind, some "alone time" which you'd think I get enough of here but mysteriously always want more. 

Besides it got cloudy, real cloudy. And dark. I wanted to trace the storm, to encourage it if I could, to have the sound of heavy rain and thunder drown out your all-knowing quite boring droning. How I wanted to get up and trace those clouds while you were going on and on. But my back hurt and I didn't want anyone's feelings hurt. Especially you because I know how delicate you are, how sensitive to a rose petal's difference in behavior, how important it is for you to have an audience. What did you need an audience for? For telling us about your cat and her behavior. For telling us about your trip to Iran. For telling us you have to get back in practice for pie baking. For gosh sakes man you're in Sri Lanka. Pies: not necessary. Not even on Thanksgiving. Get over yourself please, even if it's been eleven years since you came. It's been eleven years since you washed up here. 

Maybe after all that you're still not an expert on the whole wide narrow world here. Who made war on whom. Who was on which side, who trusted the government and whom the government trusted and who the government looked the other way from while they were beating up on whom and how the government empowered one group one time and another group another time and Sunni and Shia and Sufi and Wahhabism. Guns and knives and cutting and borders and to me it all sounded more like it's just so you can be in the know. Know why? Because I've heard people, many people, locals and foreigners, who are much more knowledgeable about this place during that time. And you know what? They are discrete. They don't let on how much they know. They listen to what others know, which you decidedly did not do today. Who are you anyway to pontificate? And your arsenal of alphabet soup paramilitaries and political parties and dates and timelines. All this, ironically enough, after I just wrote this morning how I don't care about sides. Just to add, I was and am deeply uncomfortable with this kind of talk. It's like your a jock who knows something about the conflict but it's sad how you've been here over a decade and didn't do anything. Only bake pie and get a kitten? Your monologue: Who's worthy of gossip and who's not. 

Well, good thing I know people like you. I have a close, very close, very very close relative who's the same. But we're not so close right now because I broke my cardinal rule: Keep your own mouth shut is what you must do when bully boors like this one are on the march. The verbiage the expressions the rolling of the eyes the desire for a smoke that comes out of their pores. Keep to yourself and smile, I've been in the trade long enough to know that's what you do. 

But small problem. I don't want this one to know my address. I don't want this one, the one I met today and had to shake hands with twice, to know how to find me. I don't want this one to come by any more and I don't want to be invited over for pie. I knew today when I saw him, exactly at two o'clock, exactly two hours ago. He was on the prowl for an English speaker. He had to have an ear, or what he would call "someone to talk to." Nobody in Sri Lanka comes to this or any other place exactly on time unless they're desperate for the company of another foreigner, hopefully someone unsuspecting and new and fresh. Someone who will laugh at your inane expressions, smell the need to have a smoke with you, in short, respond. Call me bad but I didn't feel responsive. I sat with my smile and I asked a few questions and I didn't get up and walk away as much as I ached to do it. I absorbed your expertise and your complaints and your quips and I smiled, stationary, unfrowning and patient for the time when you dismissed the crowd and went on to have your smoke. 

You probably gossiped about me afterwards or more likely you were so stuck in yourself you had nothing to say about me or anyone else. But I'm afraid I'll be added to your list, how many "crazy" and "crazy in the best way" and "crazy in the best possible way" people did you rolodex in today's monologue? If I'm there in your pantheon then, whatever. Maybe you can describe me as dull. Dull in the best possible way. If I was dull enough maybe you won't come back. 

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