My e-shoe box is not just a place I come to scream my frustrations out. It’s where I take things I find interesting and/or amusing and save them for a rainy day. Like the pompous way in which stand-up Comedian Meskerem Bekele crosses himself before going on stage. Like that Master of Social Science colleague who told me to quit reading books and put my time to better use. Like that classmate who always confesses she fears she’s become too hardened for romance because nothing moves her these days, but becomes more head-in-cloud-ish than a teenager the minute a cute guy drew near.
I treasure these moments. They are the delicacies that make life sweet. And ofcourse reveal the character more than half a day’s confession would. However, nothing delights my fiendish heart more than observing the various ways in which the creatures try to avoid pain. I, for one, joke and try to make people laugh about those things that pain me. Humor, as well as exaggeration, are my defense mechanism. When I can’t joke about them, I blog them. If I can’t blog them, I find somebody to rant about them to. When nobody can be trusted, I would take time to try and analyze who is [more] responsible for the pain: the rat or the fear the rat triggered. It may not always make me a blogger/friend/classmate you could trust your secrets with. But I’d have dealt with my pain in a way that would make my parole officer proud: without inflicting needless pain to neither myself nor others.
This guy, then, e-befriended me a few weeks ago. A polite individual who happened to come across my blog, and love it, he said he wanted nothing but friendship with the sister who he said isn’t perfect but “conscientious person being honest and engaged with curiosity and verve in self-examination and exploration of the world – and sharpening her writing skills!”. (“You aren’t perfect but..”, is, by the way, a word I find almost as amusing as another self-promoting expression: “my weakness”). Infact, he was all the ideal online friend should be except his keeping refering to the undersigned as “My sister”. For some reason, I do not trust people who call me “my sister” when no blood ties us together. The hair at the back of my neck literally stands as would a rabbit’s fur when sensing danger. Especially when, blessed/cursed with the ability to read people like a book, I know the caller’s intentions were far from brotherly. Which is why I slipped the information I was married while responding to something totally unrelated.
Guess what? This friend turned into this enemy. He started being cold, creepy & even rude. Giving the impression that he was dragged to the inbox unwillingly, and wasting a time that could have been spent in a more productive venture somewherelse (tell me about it!!). His reaction was almost as comical as that Doctor dude who bugged me for my mobile phone number after I joined his forum in an attempt to seek help to my not-so-good-in-English syringomelia-patient friend. I said, “I can’t give you my number, but I can give you another friends’ who is the perfect age for you, single and looking”. Doctor Dude’s response was indignance. “How can you misread me so?” he’d have said, had he known the expression. Instead, and totally ignoring the fact that I was party to his e-confession of becoming restless at the thought of poor little moi only a day ago, he listed his achievements. Achievements, I can only assume, are meant to intimidate poor little 10+4 me into believing a man of such accomplishments can have nothing but the purest interest in the undersigned.
“I am married”, he bragged, “and have two harvard materials girls, 16 and 9 yrs old. My wife is beautiful and with two degrees. I have a solid life..Honestly , I dont communicate on personal basis with people.I dont even know why I open up with you.I must say I have appreciated your love to [friend] and that broke a huge barrier .I also appreciated your skill of communication,other wise , I dont communicate with email with people I never met as I do with you…there is no time…I founded free clinic for the city I live in…and this is for Americans who have jobs but could not buy health insurance. I founded boarding school for orphans girls in Gojjam ..” etcetra etcetra. While I sat there, someberly shaking the head and thinking “ahuun ‘my bad’ maanin geDeLe beAbaabaa mOt?!”.
Now, I don’t expect any of us to turn the other cheek every time we feel attacked (deservingly or undeservingly). None of us are “Cheru Medhanialem”, after all. Who, in the hearing of the prophet Isaiah, is said to observe “yeSew liB kifu ne’w maan yawQewal”. I, for one, can take it as well as dish it out. But the minute we run out of good will, we seem to run out of temper as well. This is especially true with lovers, wannabee lovers and long time neighbours. There they were, I mean to say, supporting one another through thick and thin, in a way that would make the cat and the fox (villains of The Adventures of Pinnocio) sound aloof. Not just by speaking for eachother and referring to one another as “egna” (Seyoum’e Egziabher like), but by being eachother’s biggest fan. But the minute the ego gets bruised, the glove comes off and the iron hand beneath it becomes apparent. It’s as if they have spent most of their (together) life secretely waiting for an opportunity to destroy one another.
Love maybe like the morning grass, “there now, gone tomorrow “. But the conviction, where does it go?