Meaningful project – loner and the community


A life that makes sense – for the sake of a project

Sometimes it makes sense that I should have had the life that I have lived so far, as if someone had said, “You want to do what? Write? I’ll give you a story, but you’ll have to write to keep up …”

It sometimes makes sense that I had to end up at 32, 33 with no property, far from my family, no car, no cool-sounding job title, and no relationship with a significant other. If I had kept myself busy over the last decade steadily building up a life that I cannot but call conventional middle class, this entire literary project would never have come into existence.

Has the price been steep? Has the project been worth it? Time will tell …

SUNDAY, 9 MAY 2004

The loner and the community (i)

I went out last night – Mama Mia’s, and then Pig & Whistle … everybody that I thought had disappeared of the face of the earth was there – the two young ladies with whom I had socialised last March, the one’s brother, and a lady from the Green Jungle.

One of the two young ladies greeted me from where she had been standing on the other side of the bar. In the absence of anything better to say, I replied with, “Time passes, right?” The brother made a remark that was meant to indicate that he knew me, and the lady from the Green Jungle nearly put her hand on my groin.

By the time I crossed the bridge that separates the city from my neighbourhood, the sky was five-o’clock-in-the-morning blue. I felt surprisingly good despite the following question: What do you do when people hold a view of you that is inaccurate, or when they fail to take into account important aspects of your life, or their view is simply obsolete?

I think you have three options: 1) You go to the places where they spend time and manipulate and intimidate them until they give you the respect you think you deserve. 2) You hide, and try to forget about it. 3) Unless it threatens your survival, you let it go, and you think if you can accept the fact that some people have an inaccurate, incomplete or outdated view of you, you are one step closer to where you hope to be.

* * *

Many people’s confidence – as manifested in, for example, the way they greet others and then walk away – is based on one thing: membership in a group.

I say, meet me person to person.

I can go further and add that a superficial performance of confidence does not impress me anymore. As long as I believe your display of confidence is built on nothing more than membership in a group, I have no reason to treat you with more than the minimum politeness with which I treat most people. Show me your confidence without the support of your group, then we’ll talk.

Could it be that I desire the appearance of confidence that membership gives to a person? Could it be that I also envy people who do benefit from group membership? It is possible. But as in many other cases, I repeat the conviction that I believe my position, or my criticisms are valid, and have value, despite the possible motivations for my opinion or my criticism.

SUNDAY, 23 MAY 2004

The loner and the community (ii)

This year seems to be a time of re-labelling.

Previously, church-going, dogma-reciting people were the “believers”, and I the “heretic”. Previously, I was the “alien” and anyone who were not like me, “normal human beings”. Previously I was the being from another time and place, who sometimes evoked sympathy from people because I also have to deal with things like “us earthlings”.

Now I say, fuck this. I am the believer. I am the normal human being. And from now on I refuse to be insulted by people who suffer from a weak imagination or an underdeveloped intellect, who stare themselves blind on their own inadequate frame of reference.