After a Long Day of Everyone Else’s Crap…

I’ve come home, it seems, too late to catch Lime on the phone. I think she went to bed. Damn!

All that angry stuff of the last few days, of peoples’ bigotry and so on, is still floating around in my mind. I’ve heard, “You don’t know the culture, you can’t understand.” I think, frankly, it’s bullshit.

I am sick and tired of people tripping on powergames with one another. I am sick and tired of people reacting to one anothers’ powergames. I am sick and bloody tired of people spending so much time and money and energy to learn a language when they don’t have the first idea how to communicate with one another.

With all the grudges I let simmer for ages before I say anything, I know I am the pot calling the kettle black. But I am a stainless steel pot with a little Teflon on the bottom, dealing with a kitchen full of triple-Teflon-coated kettles.

Some hints for people who can’t understand why nobody understands you:

  1. Don’t couch your criticism in terms of sibling-like concern for the wellbeing of the subject of your criticism. It will rankle and they won’t listen.
  2. Do not assume that it’s the other person’s fault, ever. And if there are more than two or three people reacting badly to half of your communications, it’s time to admit you’re putting your point across in an insulting or hurtful way. Don’t try to deny it. Just change your method.
  3. If you think someone knows what you’re thinking, confirm it. Ask them questions to see if they are thinking what you’re thinking. Likely they’re thinking about their own stuff.
  4. Communicate your most concrete concern. Do not communicate concerns about morality, or even about propriety; rather, commununicate directly what you need done and why. Saying what you need done without saying why will not help; people will invent reasons why, and often invent the most resentable ones possible.
  5. If you heard X,Y, and Z through the grapevine, assume that A-W are also floating around there, plus a few letters you’ve never heard of.
  6. Don’t try to imagine the other person’s life as a method of summoning up your own compassion. It’s patronizing and inevitably provides a very poor picture of things. I saw two people do this about one another and seeing them imagine one anothers’ lives was just too much for me, each feeling sorry for the other. Gaaaaaa!
  7. Treat people like crap and they will work less well. Treat people well and they’ll work harder for you, and do a better job, and everyone, including them, will be happy.
  8. Be careful how you feel about authority. You can react to it without thinking, and it’ll usually result in something bad for you. Or you can use the structures, pomp, and methodology of power relationships to make things work out as well as possible. This applies to people in subordinate positions and supervisory positions alike; and this one I learned from watching myself as much as watching the other people I’m thinking about now. If you are in authority, delegate responsibility; if you are a subordinate, try to facilitate the delegation of responsibilities and to carry them out despite rankle, to ensure an easier go of things the next time.
  9. Try not to get caught in the middle of other peoples’ personality conflicts. This I learned myself.

In other news, there are some alarming goings-on circling around the tall, pretty kid in my class. Kid, I say, as she’s 12 or 13 years old.

Turns out I was wrong about this being treated lightly. While one of the camp organizers was so worried she apparently stayed in the dormitory last night, and while the issue was also apparently brought up to the adults involved personally, I still had to take one guy aside because he was still being too “friendly” with a girl who is not only ten years younger than him, but also twelve years old.

Ugh. Double-ugh. What the bloody hell is wrong with adult men who cross that line, even furtively, with little girls? I really don’t get it at all. But I do know I took that young man aside and told him his behaviour was unacceptable and he’d better not repeat it again. He argued that he wasn’t “interested in” her, and that all TAs like all kids—which, I noted, doesn’t explain why she was crying the other day from the discomfort of his too-intense attentions, or why, if all TAs like all kids, he is always hanging around her… and she’s in a different class than he is assigned too, too! I think last night he agreed not to do anything “wrong”, but if he’s still “accompanying” her around, he has a messed-up definition of what is “wrong” and needs to have strict lines drawn for him.

I hope he finally got it after I talked to him. Because it’s pretty sickening having to deal with this daily.


I thought I’d add one more little observation that will surely annoy some people. The young man who was “crossing the line” that way is the most vocally Christian of all the camp staff. He often wears T-shirts with religious slogans and one of the other teachers referred to him as “The Christian TA”, meaning the one who never misses a chance to inform you that he iis a member of some unspecified Christian faith.

Just makes me wish all the more that people would behave themselves and, if they make the (to me) astonishing ideological leap of forming their identities based on membership of this or that group, at least try to follow the best of the rules that group espouses.

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