I learn who Andy is, by observing my reflection in the reactions and behavior of the people I meet.
I often say, - I am just a Dollar Sign. -
When I enter a room, the people in the room react in many ways, when I talk, they answer in many ways. Every action it reciprocated by a reaction.
I can see who I am; by the way, they interact with me.
Living in the same house, the same city, the same neighborhood, and going to the same job, one slowly decreases the number of new people that enter into their lives. Some people may never meet a new person and shake their hand, or say hello in a whole month.
Reverse this; my life is in many ways an ever-increasing number of new faces, friends, neutrals and enemies. I travel slow, and travel into the cultures of people, often you will read about trekking, mountains, breathtaking view, and blue seas. This is not people; this is nature and is beautiful.
Going to the mountain is good, live up on a mountain or alone in a room and you are either going to learn to love the person in the room or find a way to avoid, stay busy, drink, constant travel, movement, anything to not think.
In the still, in the stillness is where I am, I can only find me in the stillness and quiet of doing nothing.
I thought this was where I learn about me, I also now realize, who I am is reflected in every face, eyes, and reaction of each person I meet.
About 10 minutes ago, I had another African experience, and it is a vulnerable moment in time. There are these reactions, moments and situations that I have not been socialized in my culture to understand.
It is similar to Dian Fossy going and living with the Gorillas, a person has to take great care and learn the rules. A 400-pound Silverback, Dominant Male could be dangerous. However, I suspect what I would feel is dominated, controlled and watched.
About 15 minutes ago, I was standing around, making a cheese sandwich with these eight small pats from a round container of Vache Qui Rit Cheese. The women are in the courtyard, many today, there is three extra younger girls. There are three levels. The lower, temporary girls who are young and quiet. The two reception girls who do all the cooking or eating in the hotel. Then the Dominant Female, who more or less frowns down people and eats.
I was introducing myself, probably on hindsight, establishing my territory, and introducing the three new ones to me. I then try to get the one reception girl to focus. - I want take a photo of … - La Pate Belly -
Pate is a type of traditional food made of corn flour, and high in calories, a complete swim the English channel in a bowl meal, and eaten often, sort of the rice of Africa, that and Fufu.
I start to leave the Dominant Female area of domination, I am saying, I am going to go make my cheese sandwich.
This women is, as best I can tell, and I do not care, is the owner or the main manager of the hotel, she is bad Karma or Mojo to me, nothing about light being inside her soul, I feel the dark.
The Dominant Female, I do not know her name says, - Give me a wedge of cheese. -
There are eight in the pack, and easy to say yes, I say, - No - Quick, fast, no thought, just a no.
The whole group starts jumping around, like the monolith in Arthur C Clarks Movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey. They are jumping, making noise, strange observation of people, and speaking a language, I rather understood.
Then, I walk out.
I walk back in the area, to again focus on the Pate issue, I want a photo of her big belly full of Pate and the future of her body. I can make a blog title - The Pate Belly -
The Second Dominant Female says, and this time in ENGLISH. - The Mom wants a piece of cheese. - I say, - I know - both in English and in French, then I say, - Pas - In French and a No in English.
There was not a caesura, no delay, no thinking, go to jail, do not pass go. I am 100 percent clear on this; I do not give this women tokens, tributes and especially a Cadeau or Gift.
They all start jumping around again, I am sure if she did not like money I pay for rent, then you could say I was using a machete to cut the path to a quick departure. I try to say to the girls, I give to people that give to me, I help those who help me.
Dominant Female territory, strange how I just ignore it.
When I walked into my room to start typing this, I thought, this a very strange culture. I am supposed to give tribute and respect to a person that I do not respect. Then her little soldiers all try to induce me give her respect and tribute of cheese. I think, this is very different, there is top down hierarchy and the ones below respect the one above, even though the one above treats them like dogs. I see this every day, very strange, and very common in West Africa, the manager, the Gerer, the Police can talk in a way, that could in a way be closer to a caste system and tribes and religions have this.
I saw who I was by their reactions; it was a very clear view.