Discounting My Awareness

Friday 31 May, 2002

I arrived in Germany yesterday feeling more composed and less excited by the trip than I have usually felt in the past. A good sign. Conversation flowed as usual and we chatted as we always do. Once again, we hit the ground running. Today was the first full day and we filled it. The weather was beautiful – just how I like it – and in the early evening Francis, Paula and I sat in the cool breeze of the Berger Straße, and set the tone of the evening with comments about the Bedienung (waitress). Francis and I were each other’s captive audience as we traded perspectives on her, on us, on her moods and on ours.

Paula seemed offended by my straight talking. The option to leave it unsaid was there but I asked her if her mood had anything to do with me. We sorted it out, and all because I verbalised what I saw. The conversation continued throughout the evening. Our exposure to the Bedienung was mostly brief and always left us talking about her unengaging if not miserable mood. We left her with a big tip. Our conversation was interrupted with a trip to our favourite kebab shop. As we stood waiting to be served, we had a laugh at someone’s expense and he later challenged us as we walked home.

Paula had seen it and called it. I heard her but thought she was being a little too negative, and when the man approached her, Francis and I veered off our course to sort him out. Well, Francis wanted to sort him out, I just agreed with him a couple of times and we went on our way. Francis was surprised by his own, temporary lack of awareness. I was shown a more permanent lack of my own. Actually, I was aware. I was aware of Paula’s warning even though I thought it a bit of an exaggeration and I was aware when the man approached her. I am aware but I just don’t take myself seriously enough. Observe.

[Karaj met Paula once. After an uneventful couple of hours he quietly said to me, ‘She knows the score‘. Indeed, she is one of the most gentle, insightful, thoughtful and wise people I know.]


Leave a Reply