Back for an unexpected bout of Internet, without knowing how long I'm going to be on here before somebody shows up to give me a lift to where I'm staying tonight. I'll just see how it goes...
Alright, I've named the young man L, so I'll name the woman S.
While camped in the city square, the idea started growing on me that L was trying to impress me. He seemed to seek me out to ask me unnecessary questions, ask my opinions about ideas of his, call out to me every time he'd improved his performance on the unicycle. This (flattery?) soon began to bug me.
I should point out that, although I'm not the oldest person in the local chapter of The Spanish Revolution, I'm in perhaps the oldest 6 percentile. And I was the oldest of those actually camping overnight in the square. (Though I only found that out a few days ago: 2 guys that I thought were perhaps older than me turn out to be 9 and 11 years younger, respectively.) I was treated as something of an "older brother" or "uncle" by SOME of the others. But not - by anybody else - in this cloying "Look at me! Look at me!" way that L was treating me to.
This interest in impressing me started to seem like L was trying to outdo me. He would get involved in activities that I was involved in, and try to do everything better than me. As I've written, his prowess on the unicycle soon outstripped mine.
On the first few days of the march to Madrid, this one-upmanship, this rivalry, this "anything you can do, I can do better: I can do anything better than you" attitude REALLY started to get up my nose. I started considering him an arrogant show-off. And yet he was still treating me - at least superficially - in a friendly way. (In a way that seemed pretend-friendly to me.)
[How much of this is just jealousy - on my part - of his youth and his abilities? I really try to be honest with myself and keep coming up with the answer: "not a lot: there are talented young people that I admire... I just don't admire people (of any age) who rub my nose in their talent; I just don't appreciate sham friendliness".]
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellenceThe person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverbAnd the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais NinI'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.