Thursday, March 10, 2011

Babel

The problem at the Biblical Babel, a massive engineering project, was that at some point the workers on-site just forgot the operational lingua franca. Each miscommunicated in his or her own version of unintelligible gibberish. They all simultaneously annoyed and were annoyed by their long-time colleagues and only for just talking. (It must have only got worse when they all somehow thought that talking slower would help others understand. (Foreigners!)) Consequently the project fell through. God has since claimed responsibility for this attack.

History repeats itself more than we like to think.

I met GalPal one random day. More accurately, she cornered me when I wasn’t walking around alone with my gaze fixed permanently in the middle distance. Apparently I’d been acting cold towards her – her words, not mine – and she’d just had it. What was wrong with me? Was I alright?

The thing about discussing what-ifs is that the issues at hand tend to slide into greater obscurity as differing perspectives emerge from participants as they express their varying conceptualizations of What Could Have Been. In English: As GalPal and I talked about whether-and-if-so-why I wasn't “keen on asking her out”, presumptions emerged on both ends. The entire venture collapsed at the point at which we were offended by each others' presumptions. Then the priority for both of us became: to find out where the hell the other party obtained enough balls to assume those things about us.

In short, communication broke down.

She was incensed to discover that I considered her a mindless minion in eternal bondage of servitude and allegiance to Angela, her so-called BFF (who had banned us from relating in any way, shape or form, on pain of injury). It made me supremely angry to find out that GalPal thought me dull and unadventurous for not taking that near-suicidal risk with her. GalPal disliked the unsightly notion in my head that I considered her an unsustainable and downright dangerous intrusion into my controlled, predictable and routine life. I particularly hated her perception of me as lacking in initiative and stubbornly defiant against all the neon signs and green lights she had been giving “since we first met!” She wanted to stab me fatally after I implied tactlessly that she was moving too fast. I felt like harming her when she responded by pointing out that we had kissed a few times already and hung out and had fun variously together so obviously (in her brain) there was a connection which I was obdurately refusing to exhume my head out of the sand to acknowledge. “Or do you now have any other clever objections remaining?”

We glared at each other in silence as I forced myself to calm down, simultaneously using the Minute of Quiet Time to dodge the bullet/question. I couldn't calm down, unsurprisingly, for hot temper coursed through my veins and made my ears very hot. So, while stiffly relaxing my physical stance, I synthesized an artificial outward tranquil by frustrating my face muscles with a hard-wrought smile.

“Look,” I said, cordially, even as my blood boiled, “We can't argue about things that haven't happened.”

I expended a few more words on explaining the folly of such a precarious undertaking. Were such behavior to be allowed, everybody would always be arguing with everybody else every day for all varieties of conceivable omissions everywhere. Of course, on the face of it, my argument was factually logical, but intellectually, it was logically invalid. Both GalPal and I knew this, but I was banking on the off-chance that GalPal had no way of articulating this particular glaring loophole. (She however managed to score a hit when she said the problem with me is that I think too much; that I harrass obvious things to death with too much thinking.) On this technicality I won the argument thinly and we parted ways unhappily.

In hindsight, I should have simply told GalPal that events had overtaken “us” and that I was almost nearly at the point of asking Ailis out.

3 comments:

  1. In hindsight, that would have been far simpler. But why miss a chance to be called predictably unadventurous, complacent, obtuse yet paradoxically overthinking?!

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  2. Birds of a feather write on each other's blogs together.

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  3. BwB, you see now how that conversation wasn't all to no avail? But the benefits of this discourse were limited.

    tSN, I hear you :)

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