Sunday, 15 June 2008

Observe (through a glass, darkly)

I went to a party with Alice this evening, and found myself as one of the only English people there. The most interesting people I meet are from other countries and yet they always seem amazed that as an English person I should want to talk to them.

In a way this does not surprise me, as some of my more shy, withdrawn English friends would find it difficult to relate to people from any other background than their own, and tend to hang out with other upper-middle class girls from families like theirs. Maybe this is judgmental of me, lots of my friends would be inclusive and interested in people from all backgrounds, but then I do know others that would rather stick to their comfort zone.

It upsets me to be associated with this separate Englishness, I am in some ways very conventional and ordinary, but I like to think that I can extricate myself from this. I do have interests that are my own and not from being from a certain class or country, and I want to discover those of other people and know about people's quirks and differences and find people that want to know mine. I guess my occasional shyness comes from wanting to stop searching and have someone want to draw out my interests rather than being the person always interested. Maybe in anthropology you can't do that - I question others and want to understand them in a way that is a mix of social interest and delight in and affection for human minds but it is hard for me to understand that not everybody thinks like that. Sometimes I feel like I must be pestering people when really I just want to know them better, other times I feel unoriginal, tired.

Conclusion: more observation and less analysis? Keeping quiet or keep talking? Pursue or wait?

(More from this week: light from above through a lace tent, green water with pressing ripples through my fingers and eel-soft coils between my toes, strips of crisscrossed grass, velvet edged hair, sticky pineapple, a striped-shirted man squeezes my arm, pink tissue paper under my nails, strawberry grit between my teeth, catching the glimpse of people dancing and first moments returning to my memory, bright black leather, dreaming too much to sleep, floating ceilings like a projection, feeling driven to distraction.)


João César said...

... Hey ...!!! .... every time i read stuff like this .... i just wodering ... "What the hell am i doing here ...???" ...
... there are places and there are PEOPLE .... and it seams ... there is a new kind of people ... that try to understand ... PEOPLE ... as they are ... cultural, religious, with a 1.000.000 differences .... but respect and learn with Cultural DIVERSITY ....

this few ... seams to have this ... huge advantage to put ourselves (our values and "civilization") away for a little bit and celebrate "human king" (whatever that means) in all our differences ... enjoy the stupid and little things that belongs to the person universe

... i just don't know if i am making any sense at all ... 2u .... forgive me my lousy english .... anyway ... just found your "Fold and Unfold" blog by chance ... but i did like it a lot your "UNIVERSE" if i may call it that way .... Cya

James said...

Being a "bore" means you just talk about yourself, whereas to be "interesting" you must ask others about themselves. That's what my Mum always said... and its true.