The colorful wolf

June 8, 2008

Observer

Filed under: Thoughts — randy @ 1:11

Saturday night. The frogs outside my window are making a lot of noise. I just finished a movie, and I’m feeling pensive. I fill up my water bottle with some green tea and go outside on my balcony. From the fifth floor I can oversee all of Atsugi. Despite the clouds there is almost no haze tonight, and I can see quite far. Such a wonderful night. For some reason I always feel better staying at home when other people are going out, and vice versa. It’s hard for me to sit still in my room on weekdays, but on Friday and Saturday night I love to stay inside.

Atsugi is pretty quiet today. Not just tonight, even when cycling to the station this afternoon there were not many people in the suburbs. I guess they all went to Tokyo. The rain stopped since yesterday. Since then it has been the most perfect weather. The temperate makes my body enter a zone of absolute comfort. Walking in Yokohama station today I felt like I was in my own little world, isolated by my music and feeling like I was still lying in bed thanks to the temperature.

Standing on the roof, looking around, I thought about my life here, as I so often do. I have been living on the bare minimum here in Japan. I have no car, no big room, not too much expensive things. It’s quite a contrast from my old life back in Holland. I have gone from a life of luxury to a life of necessity. By choice. And I find myself only desiring less, instead of more. I’d rather spend a couple of weeks in a tent going around cycling than moving to a huge apartment and getting back what I had before. I am more happy if I have less.

Or so I observe myself, at least. And I observe others. I quite enjoy it. I’d say I specifically enjoy two situations. One is where I am standing at the train station, waiting for someone. I always arrive too early, so I have some time to stand still and look at all the people walking around me. It’s so interesting to see what they’re all doing, and what kind of people they are. The second experience is more personal. At one of our youth heim parties, I sometimes just like to relax and look at the party from a third-person point of view. I see all these people who are here for only one year, and in one year they develop wonderful friendships. They really grow to like each other. It’s a great thing to behold humans making progress.

Nobody really sees me while I’m standing here. Nobody looks up. There’s a guy and his girlfriend walking past, swaying from left to right, obviously having drunk too much. I see them walk from far away to here and then they cross the corner.

I watched The Fountain. Quite a spacy movie. Just what I needed. While watching the film I kept on thinking that I’d seen it before. I wasn’t quite sure, so I always watched 5 more minutes, until I finished the whole movie. I wasn’t sure until the end if I had watched it before. But I did. No matter, it’s a good movie. It was a bit spoiled by my inability to turn off the observation sensor in my head. That happens a lot recently, and it’s spoiling my ability to enjoy works of fiction. While watching, or reading, I tend to think about why the director/writer wrote it like that, and how he could have done it better. I notice camera techniques and story telling techniques, and it really takes part of the fun out of it. I can’t simply enjoy it because I’m analyzing it too much. I wonder if this feeling will go away later in life, or if can never again be fully satisfied by works of fiction.

The frogs make so much noise! I wonder what they taste like.

I am very easily influenced by other people. If I respect a person, or if I think something a person says makes sense, I am very easy to change my own point of view or my own actions. Not to say that it’s easy to take advantage of me, no. There are not many people that I respect enough to influence me, but those that I do respect have pretty much complete control over me. Seeing this, I have to conclude that it’s because I have no really strong feelings about many things. My opinion is not set in stone, and I’m open to other people’s point of view. Basically I don’t care about myself. I never used to care about how people influence other people at all, but recently I’ve been getting more interested in seeing how I can influence other people. I wonder what I can teach others, and what other people can learn from me, or what they think might be a good quality in me that they would want to mimic. I never thought of myself as a teacher, and I don’t think I’d be a good one, but sometimes you don’t have to teach people to make them learn something. I think this happens largely subconsciously for most people, but really good leaders and teachers can bring this to the foreground and use it to inspire people to be better than they are. I think I’m really bad at this. I am not a leader, I lack the charisma. Or rather, the ‘uitstraling’, a Dutch word which I think describes the concept better.

Everything is related of course. Lack of charisma is because I have no particularly strong feelings about most things. I don’t have strong feelings because I lack a goal. Or at least a goal that I can share with others. A leader cannot be without direction, he should always appear as if he knows exactly what he’s doing. I can’t pretend to do that. Even leaders who pretend that they have a clue will have followers, but that does not make them great. I’d better break it off here before I start ranting about work-related things.

My room’s clean. Well, clean for my standards. After I have defined my clean zone, I want to keep it clean. Unfortunately, because I have so much crap, that means designating another part of my room as ‘unclean zone’. In other words, to get outside to the big sky-view balcony I have to barge through the huge mess that is my kitchen, which is full of stuff that should be thrown away, cleaned or washed…

Sometimes I see a person who doesn’t quite ‘get it’. Someone whose views of life are so completely different from mine that it makes communication very difficult. It doesn’t have to be a fundamental difference, it could be the little things. And for most of the times I take for granted that the way I look at the situation is ‘right’, and the way the other person looks at it is ‘wrong’. I tend to assume that the other person is completely disconnected from reality, but I never thought that I would be the one who doesn’t have a clue. I can justify all of my decisions in my mind, and there is absolute logic behind every one of them. This is what makes my decisions sane.

When people see someone whose behavior they don’t understand, they just call them insane, or weird. I’d rather try to learn about the person more, to try and find out what set of rules their brain is working with. Everybody has their own logic, even the insane. Other people may judge you as more or less ‘normal’, but that does not make your decisions more or less wrong. Observing other people will make you understand them, and understanding them will give you insight into their internal logic. Their own unique logic, which is different for everyone. Knowing this will make you a better person. Or, ‘begripvol’, in Dutch.

After two and a half years here I really do ended up with a lot of garbage. Lots of stupid bills and receipts, useless anime figures and toys, a printer that doesn’t work, birthday presents and gifts from people that I don’t really want to throw away but only clutter up my room. Since I cleaned up my room and threw away some things I learned (observed) another thing: as my room gets more empty my mind gets more clear.

Should. The word ‘should’ enters my mind a lot. First, I think of all the possibilities I have. Could. Then, I think of all the responsibilities. Should. I could be doing this, but I should do that before I do this. Of all things I could have done, of all the things I should have done. Of all the things I could be, of all the things I should be. The word ‘should’ always puts a damper on my happiness somehow. I guess still have this inborn disgust for responsibility, and I don’t like to be reminded of it. In the end though, I am right here, and I am who I am. I’m happy with that.

Tiny drops of rain are falling down from the sky, and it takes me a while to notice that it’s actually starting to rain. I go back inside, and write my blog.

Define ‘Gentleman’: a person who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do. Thank you for listening.

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