Man or mouse

I like people.
Most people don’t like me back, but… hey, we are living in a free society.
If people find me obnoxious, then I consider that a valid reason for not liking me; I might very well feel the same if I were in their shoes.
Frankly, I can’t be bothered – a vida são dois dias, as we say in Portugal. In translation that would be something like: Life is too short.

That does not mean though that the psychological mechanisms behind it (whom people like or dislike, and why) are not interesting. As a matter of fact I love to ruminate on them…
For instance, I am one of those rare guys that offer strangers my trust and respect right away. Most people do not trust that attitude – let alone, respect it. Most people seem to feel that respect and trust are things that need to be earned first. Now, to me that is weird. To me it is quite simple: if one trusts oneself, and respects oneself, why would one begrudge a stranger the same courtesy?

Don’t get me wrong now – do not think for a minute that the other one cannot lose them, my trust and respect. As a matter of fact, very easily. Nothing definite though, no worries; he or she may well see them back as early as… hell freezes over. Yet, once again, I do not see why I should withhold them from the outset. To me that does make no sense at all. But, as I said (and as you have gathered by now), I’m weird… uhh, rare.

The next thing I do is: I keep my distance to new acquaintances that immediately pouted their lips in disapproval…
Is that in contradiction with my opening statement, you say?
I beg to differ. I love all creatures great and small; that doesn’t need to imply – I feel – I want to invite a rattle-snake into my bed. Although that, on occasion, has happened, I must admit – a serpent in my bed, I mean, or on the kitchen table (on the bare floor sometimes when we had no solid piece of furniture within immediate reach).

I especially love the strangers that respond well to my approach – the ones that stand proud (don’t pout) and… smile. Some of those may even become close friends. However, close friends one can fall out with (with the others that’s impossible, I thought until today). And when that turns out to be irreversible, they are inevitably reduced to the Little League of Pouters. Shit happens.
Nevertheless, when it happens it hurts, for a while.

Therefore, I was quite surprised with myself when I felt a weird stab when a friend let me know today that a German pouter, whom I have vaguely known from a distance for many years, told him a couple of days ago that we have fallen out – we, as in the German pouter and I.
I was gobsmacked. I mean, why should I have felt anything at all?

I honestly believed up until now that ‘falling out’ was a reciprocal act, as in ‘it takes two to tango‘.
Moreover, one of the last times I actually did see the guy, was about two months ago at the dinner table at some friends’ house. As it was an all Portuguese party I was feeling sorry for the pouter and bent over backwards to strike up a conversation in German. If memory serves me well, at that occasion it was actually the first time in all those years that we had a bit of a tête-à-tête.

What a bitch!
And I am not saying that because he is schwul – I have no problems whatsoever with other people’s orientation in life, or sexual behaviour for that matter (provided there’s balance of power).
For a long time I actually was convinced that the G in LBGT stood for German, as all the Germans that I know seem… well, I’d better not get into that right now, had I!

Still, what a twit!
I seem to have fallen out with someone without realising it. Now, how weird is that on the scale of Rare?
Well, there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
The conversation we had at that dinner party may very well have been a bit one-sided – as often happens when I am trying to be nice to a person I feel I have virtually nothing in common with – but I do not seem to remember where I could have offended him…
What’s that?
There’s only one way to find out, I agree: Ask him, if I am that curious.
The thing with that is, he just lost my trust and respect. So, I shall probably feel the urge to ask him that… when hell freezes over.

My friend made an interesting point though: ‘You should always try to adapt your conversation to the intellectual level of the one you’re talking to.’
I hope no-one overheard his advice and take it to heart; I don’t want people stooping all the time when they’re addressing me.

No, what he probably meant to say was, that I am without any doubt the only one that finds my incessant word games very clever. A lot of people however may easily mistake those jokes with making fun of them.
He is indubatably spot on: I should refrain from being so childish. There’s only a tiny problem with that: one might as well ask the rain to refrain from falling down.

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