Thursday, 6 October 2005

Learning People

It is a sad comment on myself that at 31 I should still be grappling with how to relate to people. I will blame it on my childhood and teenage years and yes probably on my parents too.

When I started learning to read (I was actually taught how to read and write by my mother because for some reason which escapes me, I had been refused attendance at the village school, together with a couple of other children), my parents devised this neat trick to incite me to read. After the evening meal, we would sit the three of us together at kitchen table and read in turn from a book from the Bibliothèque Rose, usually it would be the Famous Five (Le Club des Cinqs in French) later moving on to the Bibliothèque Verte. The trick worked only too well. Soon I was reading the books by myself in advance of our evening readings, so eager was I to know what came next. That was it: I had been given the book bug and like Sartre in his autobiographical novel, Les Mots (Words), I can say that I will finish my life surrounded by books.

My teenage years, when I should have been out there with my peers, being bullied and ridiculed by them as often happens, I spent in the darkness of my room, shutters drawn, reading and learning about life by proxy. I am convinced that without this encounter with literature, this all-embracing and jealous mistress, I would have been a very different person and my life would have been different. Books made me what I am now, however little this is and it is certainly not something I bemoan.

This time of my life is when I should have been going through the process I am trying to rekindle now. I am increasingly aware that it is probably too late already. However hard I try, I can not seem to ingratiate myself with people. Sometimes, a spark flares up in the night, a close friendship with some other lost soul. This will last a few minutes, a few months or a few years. Eventually, however, as I always know it will, the light dwindles and slowly expires, leaving being the smoke of memories. People loose interest and move on.

Once again this is happening... When this is case, I usually have two lines of behaviour: either I go on the offensive and send a written request for explanation or I try to outflank the other side and just start the process of emotional retreat which will guarrantee that I don't suffer when things really come to an end.

To be fair, I think that in addition to my inadequacies and social awkwardness, my character does not come as a great help in those matters. On first contact, I probably appear as being aloof and have huge problems with what I perceive as mediocrity in which most people seem quite happy to wallow. I am also not so good a social actor, that I can hide this effectively. Oh, and did I mention I am also rather strong headed under a seemingly yielding and retiring exterior. With little in the way of apparent graces (surmising I possess any non apparent ones that is), no wonder people would rather move on than bother too much.

This is how it seems I have upset one of my fellow officers in the Chorus with what he perceives to be a negative comment on his professional abilities. Although I think this is more to do with the person’s insecurities, it looks like I am going to have to make an apology in the name of safekeeping working relationships…

Sigh! Oh, to be a hermit and content with it!



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1 comment:

  1. Ahoj Msieur Z...now that I catch up on your life regularly it's almost as if there is nothing to ask about. I know what's happened already! As for your fracas, I would imagine a quiet word and negotiation outside the public forum, agreeing a satisfactory resolution to present to the forum, and then presenting the resolution to the forum, by way of an agreed statement as it were, ca ira le meilleur!

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