Thursday, October 24, 2013

Would you like to make me a little less lonely?

Earlier today, I was at Starbucks, reading Nietzsche and preparing for my class tomorrow morning. Yes, this is the first time I am officially teaching Nietzsche in my Intro to Ethics class, and I am quite excited about it. Oh, and by the way, I got my class to watch two episodes of Battlestar Galactica earlier this week (those two episodes which involved Starbuck crashing on that moon, and the crew of the Galactica mounting a search-and-rescue mission for her). I'm happy to report that most people seemed to really enjoy it.

But back to what happened earlier today. After reading Nietzsche for about an hour, I decided to take a little break. So I got out of Starbucks, and went for a little walk in the strip mall where the Starbucks was located. Probably because of the demanding nature of my second series practice earlier this morning, and probably also because of the fact that I was wearing some rather heavy walking shoes, I found myself unconsciously walking in a rather slow and deliberate manner in order to conserve energy. I also found myself walking up and down that same strip mall for 15 minutes, because there really wasn't anywhere else to go.

To a bystander, I probably looked rather preoccupied, maybe even a bit sad and lonely, because this middle-aged woman suddenly came up to me out of the middle of nowhere (or so it seemed to me), and remarked, "You look so lonely and sad. It must be hard to be so far from home. Unlike me: All of America is my backyard! Anyway, I've always wanted to go to Hong Kong... great banking industry!"

And then she walked away as suddenly as she had appeared. Hmm... Hong Kong? Banking? I'm guessing she must be referring to HSBC. Which is probably all that some Idaho hill-billy would know about Hong Kong, come to think of it...

What's even more interesting was my reaction to what she said. When I first heard what she said, my very first instinct was to go on the defensive ("How the hell do you know I'm from Hong Kong or from Timbuktu, you $%^#@?"). But I stopped myself from going there, because in some corner of my mind, I was entertaining the possibility that she might be some kind of psychic, or even a holy woman dressed as an Idaho hill-billy who has somehow decided to appear here in Pocatello, Idaho, to test my faith and to possibly magically grant me some siddhi. Best not to offend her, in case she is really a holy woman, I thought to myself.

My second instinct was to say something naughty, like "Well, would you like to make me a little less lonely...?" But, being the sort of person who is generally not quick on the uptake, she was already gone by the time I had come up with this reply in my mind. Come to think of it, if she really was a holy woman, it probably was a good thing that I did not say this, anyway. Being naughty with holy women is generally not a good way to go.

Then again, come to think of it, perhaps I really did look sad and lonely: Reading Nietzsche does that to you. And I think all the backbending I do also puts me in a rather pensive, somewhat sad state of mind at least some of the time. Not sad in a crying-your-eyes-out kind of way. But there's just this sense of accessing and coming into touch with certain feelings and emotions that you did not even know were there, and feeling them.

Anyway, what do you do?... Just another day, I guess...          

9 comments:

  1. Hong Kong is one of Asia's major financial centres. All global investment banks have big operations there, and lots of American and European bankers have moved there because of the growth and favourable tax regime. So that 'Idaho hillbilly' wasn't that far off regarding that, even if she was on the other stuff.

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    1. Agreed. Which is why saying that HK has great banking industry isn't saying much.

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  2. i love the range of your reactions to the woman. and yes, backbending seems to definitely do something to me at least emotionally. no comment on nietzsche..as i have never read him.

    two times this summer i was stopped on the street in new york, not that long after leaving the shala, by people who wanted to -read- me. one said she was a shaman, and the other was some sort of energy reader, though she said that there was something i needed to feel better about. she gave me her card..
    i was pretty offended as my first reaction each time and shooed each one away, politely..though lately i have had a lot of curiousity about what the second woman was seeing in me. and yes, i was probably feeling rather raw after practice.

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    1. Yes, I have had my share of experiences with shaman/energy-reader types. Best to err on the side of caution with these people, though, since one never knows if one might be encountering the real deal :-)

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  3. Wel, I first put my hand under my jaw to close my gaping mouth. But started laughing almost immediately. That is a well told story, and it reminds me of other bizarre encounters that you have shared in those homogenous towns in the states you teach in. Even if she seemed needlessly compassionate or concerned, my wild guess is that she was delighted with having come up with something to say to you. Sort of like desperately wanting to talk to a celebrity or somebody glamorous, not knowing what to say and blurting out something nutty.

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    1. Ha! It never occurred to me that other people might view me as a glamorous person :-) But it does kind of make sense, come to think of it. In a way, it probably took her a great deal of courage to say what she said. Which makes me even more glad that I did not say anything rude or naughty to her.

      Nice profile picture, btw :-)

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