I am tired and I don’t seem able to think straight. It has been a long day and it is as though my brain has been left behind in Perth whilst my body has been transported to London and deprived of sleep.
In some ways staying up late was a useful thing to do, because it allowed me to finish my IB rankings on all three characters. However, I didn’t need to do that, I’m at maximum light level anyway so I guess just getting to run with my American clan mates was a good thing. Hank even came online so that was good or was good until he “congratulated” me on the result of the EU referendum. Looking back it reminds me of Donald Trump congratulating Scotland on gaining control of its country again. It just made Trump another laughing stock because Scotland overwhelmingly voted to stay in Europe.
Hank isn’t Trump. I like and respect Hank because of his generous and supportive nature. He is a great guy to have around, chatty, friendly and good at boosting the spirits. Not today though. I was angry when Hank mentioned it. He did say it hesitantly but he wanted to say something. He could tell I wasn’t happy. I questioned him on whether he thought the individual states in the USA should be separate countries, he said the constitution was originally set up with individual states deciding on their own laws, it is called the “United States of America” not the “United State of America”, and that it would be better if California and Texas did become independent. He thinks that the world would be a better place if we didn’t interfere so much in other countries. It reminded me of Star Trek’s Prime Directive.
Hank could tell I was upset, despite or maybe because I went silent. He seemed to spend awhile apologising to me and trying to reconnect. I tried to reassure him everything was okay, perhaps I was trying to convince myself too. I like Hank, and some of what he says makes sense to me. I was angry with what he said, not at him, but I think that is difficult to unravel at the time.
So why was I angry? There are two things that spring to mind. First of all, there is the “how dare you assume to know how I feel”, then “how could you possibly understand”. But Hank didn’t assume he knew how I felt, he looked at the issue and came to a conclusion that fitted with the result. He thought the right choice had been made. He understood from his viewpoint not mine, he wasn’t assuming he knew mine at all.
I have decided that we as a country are better off working together on issues that have an effect on more than just our own country. I think we work better and come up with better solutions when we involve others, but that isn’t always the case. I also need time by myself to think and be creative perhaps countries are like that too. I don’t know if the analogy works when groups are involved though. Plus, anything I do does have consequences on others, I am not an island, my mood, my behaviour, my communications have an impact of others. I learnt that in a stark way when I did my first active listening exercise. Try not speaking when somebody talks to you, just use head movements, facial expressions, and non-word sounds. I realised that the person talking would not be saying what they did if I had spoken the words that I wanted to do; by responding with words, I would have changed the direction of the narrative and missed out on what the speaker wanted to say.
I want to stop talking about the referendum and move on, but I wonder if that is the wrong attitude. Just because it is difficult to hear about, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. As long as the discussion brings in new viewpoints that help clarify the issues and positions we need to keep talking. Escaping from the complexity by moving on isn’t a solution, it may be a way to cope, but it isn’t a solution and it won’t lead to one. Understanding involves discussion and teasing out of the nuances, and I won’t be able to do that on my own.
Once again Hank gains my respect. He took the chance by speaking out and explaining his opinion, and in doing so, opened my eyes to a new way at looking at things. It doesn’t matter if he was wrong or right, whether the story becomes more complex or straight forward. What matters is that a new voice was heard and I tried to understand it, and in trying I have given myself a new insight to consider and use.
There are times when I need to be by myself, is this a time when my country needs to be by itself too?