Ich finde sie immer wieder in den Social Media, diese Memes zu Small Talk, die in etwa so funktionieren:
Ich hasse Small Talk! Ich will über das Leben reden und den Tod! Über Wissenschaft, Politik und Religion! Über Musik und die Dinge, die uns tief berühren und bewegen! Ich will kein oberflächliches „wie geht’s?“, ich will wissen, was der Sinn des Lebens ist und was dich nachts wach hält.
Dann gehen Leute, die sowas posten, oft dazu über, sich selbst als introvertiert zu bezeichnen. Sie sind interessiert an „tiefgründigen“ Leuten und Gesprächen. Natürlich verabscheuen sie Oberflächlichkeit. Natürlich. Leider haben sie dabei vollkommen verpasst, worum es bei Small Talk geht. Dieser ist nämlich nicht weniger als ein Indikator dafür, wie gesellschaftsfähig eine Person ist. Davon, dass es dich nicht interessiert „wie’s mir geht“ wollen wir gar nicht erst anfangen.
Let me tell you about a little anecdote that happened on one of my last flights to Madrid, about two years ago, I guess. I was on the plane from Zurich to Madrid, way in the back, and behind me was a Spanish gentleman, in his early sixties, I’d say. He had apparently flown into Zurich from somewhere else, and he had left something on his earlier plane. He pleaded with the flight attendant – who spoke Spanish, because in Switzerland, we speak languages – to allow him off this plane and back on the other to retrieve his item. Now, anyone who’s ever had to deal with airport security in any way knows that neither thing is gonna happen. Our flying still happens in a headspace of absolute paranoia, and regulations are tighter than Barack Obama is with Joe Biden. The man was told he could file a missing items report, and staff at the airport would do the rest.
The gentleman was not pleased. He lamented the lack of understanding in his interlocutor and lambasted the condition of both our country and our hearts. He felt that in Spain, people would have gone out of their way to accommodate him, but here, „en el frío norte“, in the cold north, we were too stuck on rules and regulations to help out a soul in need. I laughed a little, when I heard him speak about the cold north. He inversed the order of words – in Spanish, the adjective goes after the noun – to make his plight more poetic and dramatic. But my laughter also held no small amount of bitterness, because not only was the flight attendant already indulging this guy above and beyond the call of duty, Spain was and is the country where I have found the most abysmal customer service to date. I have never had the misfortune to speak to less helpful people than the employees of a particular mobile phone operator there; certainly NO ONE has ever gone out of their way to be accomodating, not even with shit that was entirely of their own making. There. In the warm south.
That bitterness, it tells me everything about my relationship to Spain, 25 years later. It is the bitterness of a broken heart. Because, you see, I once loved Spain, with the vigor and temperament of youth. But yeah, as they say, love is blind. Because, clearly, I loved the idea of Spain before I knew the reality of it.
The new year is upon us, and as is customary, I want to examine my feelings regarding the year gone by.
I Literally Cannot Even
When the Electoral College of the US chose Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States of America, I dare say, a large part of the world was in shock. There has, in the history of humanity, never been a person less qualified for the job. This statement takes into account and includes Emperor Nero, Josef Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. What differentiates them from Trump is that they knew what they were doing. They were evil, of course, but they knew the system, the people, the tools, and the limits of their power (to an extent…). They knew exactly what they were doing. Granted, they all happened before Twitter, but odds are – being the micromanaging psychos they were – they would have demonstrated better impulse-control than The Orange One. My cats are more qualified to hold that office. Hell, every single object in this room would make a better President than Donald J. Trump. Also, did he just brag about the size of his… button?
One unpleasant truth we must face, though, is that a shift to the political right is happening everywhere right now. The forces of Capitalism continue to pit the working class against the poor, and we keep falling for it. The result is Fascism. I am always perturbed when people wonder out loud how Nazi Germany could have possibly happened, all the while missing the signs right in front of their eyes. We are on the same track, some of us more than others. Switzerland is facing a direct attack on one of its most fundamental public services, and the fear of the outcome chills me to the bottom of my soul; meanwhile, I even have friends who don’t get it. If there are people in my own inner circle who are willing to trade a central tenet of democracy for money, then what can I hope for from the rest of the population? It is hard not to despair.
I did the thing. I wrote 100 words every day for a week. Yay me! I decided to publish them at the end of the week (Sunday) as a collection, because who has time to read stuff every day?
And then I ended up not publishing. It was too personal. Now, people who know me know I don’t shy away from writing personal, vulnerable stuff. But sometimes, caution is advised, because I do not exist in a vacuum, and a blog, in particular, wants to be read. What if the wrong people read that stuff?
There are wrong people for all kinds of occasions. There’s the stuff you don’t necessarily want your exes to read. Or your employer, or potential future employers. There are things that you’d rather keep from your mother, truth be told.
So, please know that I have written, even if there is nothing to read. There will be things to read next Sunday.
It’s 20:00h, and I’m panicking. This happens every Sunday. I am panicking because I didn’t get anything done this weekend. Oh, Saturday was productive, just not in the way it needed to be. And Sunday, today, I didn’t do anything. Not anything, at all. No pants day.
I need this time off, desperately. I need to be able to just do nothing. My energy reserves are depleted. But meanwhile, stuff keeps piling on, and I don’t know where to start. I am so tired. And so the spiral of my thoughts keeps spinning.
I should have, but I didn’t.
Like every Sunday, I will not be able to sleep. The cycle continues.