Thursday, May 01, 2008

Random musings

I tend to be like the guy above.
Head first into everything.
The difference lately has been I'm kind of losing the sense of "fun".
To be more precise I'm having a bit of trouble staying on message when it comes to a smirk now and again.
I could trot out the usual excuses:
Too much work, not enough play.
Too many nights in hotel rooms watching CNN OVER and OVER again.
But that would be a heap of cliched nonsense.
The thing is I chose this life.
Maybe "chose" is the wrong word.
It somehow happened and I went with the flow.
I get itchy feet when I'm stuck behind my desk; I need to see new things, new people and have pointless discussions over beer and ciggies with strangers (though the places you can smoke are diminishing).
Again and again I catch myself chatting with cab drivers, cleaners, waitresses etc, about their lives.
It's amazing how much people will tell you about themselves.
Really personal things.
The fact that they do it in a language other than their native tongue is mind boggling.
They really have to consider their words, weigh them out and then vent.
Boy do they vent.
A few well chosen questions, sit back and let the monologue begin.
It may be I appear like a circus animal in some places ( Iran for example), which provokes curiosity and that breaks the ice.
Sometimes the stares you get are startling and are way out of context to the place.
Women in Iran gave my colleague and myself long looks which were......... disconcerting.
So much so that we stared at each other afterwards:
"Did..... that ...just...happen?"
Maybe going places where I'm "different" is the point.
I hope not.
I've had my fill of expats who consider themselves special. This becomes such a mindset that when they get back to where they're from (a place they constantly romanticise and talk about when they're posted abroad) they can't adjust.
Their "specialness" vanishes and they're just like everyone else.
Nobody takes notice of them. The flickering of the eyes that they've grown used to by the locals is no longer there. They find that its they who are doing the flickering when strangers appear in their midst. The easy camaraderie of a fellow like minded westerner, yank or whatever no longer comes into play.
Being the stranger in a foreign land is a powerful drug to the psyche let me tell you.
Taking it seriously can make you into an asshole.
Back to the first bit of this ramble:
From time to time, I find myself wondering what all of this means.
Is there an end to it or will it all just play out over and over again?
The days blend one into another and it becomes a bit numbing.
Things that seem important at certain points in time can illicit a struggle to remember what the big deal was at others.
Are we all so random and relative that we move on a never ending conveyor belt of shifting priorities and objectives?
When I go to places where people profess to live according clear sets of principles and points of reference, it all appears rather contrived.The cracks in the facade become more what you remember than the core values that were put up as the road map.
The more rigid the rules the less "objective" morality, whatever its colour, convinces me.
I'm not going to get into a "sticking pins in a baby's eyes is always wrong regardless of the context" argument as that belongs in a classroom of earnest college freshmen.
I'll assume you get what I'm saying.
So, are all things relative?
I'd have said, no not so long ago.
My daughter for instance is a constant in my life.
I think about her every day.
But the fact is I see her once a week if I'm lucky.
She's important sure, but to say she's the center of my life would be stretching it yet I'd come to believe that.
It gave me a sense that there was something different and pure at the core of my life.
We all spend a huge portion of our lives working, so you could believe this may end up being central to who we are.
" Central" seems strong.
In my case I work a lot, and devote quite a bit of time to it (thinking about particular issues etc), but in terms of talking specifics about my job with people I don't work with, I'd say its absent in terms of a central focus.
Its more about places I've been rather than what I was doing there.
So what is the central focus to our lives?
Or rather my life?
Its hard to say and probably my confusion around this is the source of this ramble.
I think that obsessing about it is much the the same as obsessing about anything. It takes on a monstrous significance and the process of introspection becomes more of a problem than the original issue.
I have to quit smoking at some point though.
G'nite all.


Chris Wren said...

I keep a copy of the Desiderata in a place where I can at least glance at it once a day. After decades of crunching metaphysical crapola, I find it's all the philosophy I need and it never seems to age.

Also, if you heart is telling you to slow down, that's one thing, and listening is optional. If your body is telling you: Listen carefully.

Terry said...

Hey Chris,
Its good to hear from you.
From what I can tell you and Ken have finally if not got to the good life are fast approaching. I'm glad it all seems to be working in the right direction for you.
In this bizarre world I live in I'm actually going to be in your neck of the woods we should try and link up if you guys have time.