This afternoon one particular friend of mine finally managed (without realising it) to answer a question he had asked me nearly a decade ago. I am not going to mention his name because it is not relevant. However, the question we were discussing when he answered the previous question is what I wanted to ramble about now.
Some people I know are like my favourite of all the photos I have ever taken. They reflect your past back at you and don't let you escape - even when you want to. They may be shiny new people who you have never met before but you instinctively think you know how they are going to treat you based on your experience of people like them.
Reflection of Rotterdam Library in the wall of the Markthal (Market Hall) near Rotterdam Blaak Station
(Funnily enough, I didn't have to do anything to get the photo of the reflection - apart from zoom in a bit from where I was standing - using my mobile phone. I think it is a pretty photo.)
I have a confession to make - I feel more comfortable around strangers who look like they could physically damage me when I first meet them. Friendly-looking people be warned - you will have to approach me before I approach you.
The two most interesting men I have ever met looked like they could inflict serious damage in one way or another but turned out to be the most gentle people. (I ended up feeling so comfortable with one of them we sat in the corner of a field in the middle of nowhere at midnight with me being verbally educated on the effects of heroin - he was an ex-user - and he thanked me for not immediately judging him. The other one introduced himself with his name and three Mental Health issues he had - we were on a sealed car ferry at the time - that was an interesting and enlightening conversation as well.)
However, my favourite kind of people are puzzles. The ones who - when you think you know how they are going to react - surprise you and give you another piece to their life story. Not only that but they do it in such a way that you feel like you have just been given the equivalent of a diamond necklace as a result. I can name a few "Jewellery Box" friends - people who have shared themselves with me in such a way that I feel like their friendship is like a box full of precious diamond jewellery.
However, I digress.
Those people who reflect your past at you can be very difficult to escape from (especially when they reflect it at you in such a way that they appear to have the key to unlock yourself from it but you end up feeling like you have to fight them for it - to the point of death if that is what it takes).
As I type this I have one line of "Louise" by Clouseau (the Dutch version of the song) playing in my brain - the English translation is "How can I talk to walls?".
How did my friend manage to answer his own question from so long ago???
Well, later in the conversation he said the one thing which has always been guaranteed to make me feel envious of him (or rather, a slightly different take on it which had the same effect on me).
Put it this way - it is not a good idea to make me feel like I am stupid just because I am not as brainy as you - unless, of course, you really want me to come out fighting. You may find yourself having to defend yourself in ways you have never done previously - trust me, when I feel I have to defend myself I can turn extremely nasty and sarcastic.
This particular human of the male species decided to inform me that important creatures had wanted to speak to him about something which he was very knowledgeable about (as far as theory is concerned anyway - it was connected with his profession). Had we not been in the middle of a very public place I would have taken great pleasure in asking him if the creatures would not have been better off asking someone who had had practical experience of the subject. I wasn't in the mood for a public argument though.
I suppose it is like the photo of the reflection from earlier. The Library has been in Rotterdam for as long as I can remember - its distinctive pipes are almost as much of a landmark to me as the "Tourist Attraction" 'Cube' flats near to the Markthal would be to people who visit that part of Rotterdam.
The only proper "Tourist Trap" building I like in Rotterdam - the 'Cube' Flats (or "Paalwoningen" or "Kubewoningen")
However, the person who reflects your past at you may not be to your taste when you first see them - yet, as you get to know them they turn out unexpectedly refreshing with a different perspective on things.
A little like this building (which I hated when I took the photo - now I am starting to think it is not so much of an eyeshattering experience to look at. Still think it is in the wrong place though.).
The front of the Markthal in Rotterdam (you can see the reflection of the Library on the right of the building).
I suppose it just goes to show how difficult it sometimes is for the theory side of things to match up perfectly with the practical side of things.
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