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A long-standing friend made an interesting and, I think, somewhat accurate observation about me recently.
He noted how I spend a lot of time fretting about casually meeting certain people to the extent that if I see them on the street or wherever I’ll often go out of my way in order to avoid them.
However, if I happen to be spotted by the person I had been trying to shun, I’ll then be the one who’ll end up doing most of the talking and keep the encounter going on for longer than it really needs to go on.
This “hiding policy” isn’t in reference to people who I generally dislike either. It tends to be those with whom I have no issue whatsoever.
What seems to be at play here is my overall dislike of small talk and, paradoxically, as mentioned, my inability to not engage in it when I meet someone.
So I try to nip this in the bud and not let the situation arise in the first place.
“I’m not quite at the level of the Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle, who I recall saying that ‘a stranger is a cunt you haven’t met.'”
Such behaviour might be more understandable here in Colombia if it was purely down to a language issue i.e. the additional effort needed to converse in a non-native tongue. Also, there’s the fact that many Colombians tend to spend a lot of time on meaningless chatter, for example asking pretty much the same basic greeting in various ways, ‘¿Cómo estás? ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo ha ido?’, etc. But it’s not solely a Spanish thing. I’ve done this shunning back in Ireland, too.
Considering I’ve worked in radio, presented podcasts, “starred” in various film/TV productions (see https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2022/02/freedom-fighter.html and https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2021/09/blast-from-past-making-scene-in-sin.html) and regularly host events (https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2021/12/iquiz-bogota-pub-quiz-edition-liv-quiz.html), some people find it odd that I’m often happier to avoid mixing with others. There’s an assumption that I’m an extrovert. The reality is, I’m more of an introvert.
It’s one big reason why I don’t like house sharing, particularly with people who I hadn’t known previously, which is what I’ve had to deal with for the majority of my time in Bogotá (and something I’m doing again after a seven-month respite of sorts in a studio apartment. The Bogotá nomad moves once more. Oh dear).
The same goes for travelling. I prefer going solo. The only real benefit I see in travelling with others is to keep hotel costs down, in places where you can share a room that is.
Then there’s my panadería office. I don’t like to be interrupted by anyone when I’m there. This is more “acceptable”, though, seeing how I frequent the place to write, read, send emails, tasks that require some concentration.
When it comes to a few letting-off-steam beers these days, my version of socialising that is, I tend to stick to the quieter tiendas and mix with only a small circle of friends and acquaintances.
That being so, I’m not quite at the level of the Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle, who I recall saying that ‘a stranger is a cunt you haven’t met.’ I’m still open to befriending people, I’m just not too proactive in seeking them out. Also, I often find it easier to become pally with older people rather than my peers.
Whatever the case, the idea of escaping to an isolated rural retreat, going off the radar for a time, appeals. If I could make such a life sustainable, that is.
Finding satisfaction from this solo searching, however, may be an impossible task in this shared life of ours.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.