I remember a trip our family took to Kraków when I was a young teenager: I sat for a portrait that turned out really poor, not looking the least like I but still being kept by my mom in a rolled up bunch somewhere, along with all other precious 2D-artwork any parent amasses. I also remember that I wanted one of those okarinas which were warbling so magically all over the place, and I got to pick whom to buy from.
I picked a seller pretty much on random — I valued warbling over personality — but still remember that the one I’d picked looked a bit on the natty side once I got close. My parents, lord bless their polite ambition to be non-judgemental, bought the bird-shaped ocarina from the young man with the bad teeth, red eyes and yesterdays cracking clown makeup, but even before I had the chance to pour some water into it and make noise — which probably would have been awesome, since I’d gotten the same okarina that the man had used — my mom took it away from me, making vague comments about perhaps buying one from someone else, which she did, discretely tossing the first one into a bin. I thought my parents were silly and stuck up, but as both instruments looked alike I didn’t care much.
But the event stuck with me, and I was reminded of it again this evening when we were sitting at one of the less reputable pubs in Majorna with Tura, and one of the barflies took a shine to her and wanted to join our table. Being generally tired, and weary of having to cushion the ramblings of a boisterous drunk in the company of a seven-year old, we declined the offer and she shambled away.
Unless the other party has been extremely annoying or otherwise deserving of your scorn, you tend to feel bourgeois and uptight at such moments, or at least I tend do, but Tura became upset because the situation was confusing, and we’d just been impolite to a stranger who wanted to sit down with us and was talkative.
Of course, Tura would entertain the company of Satan if she thought he’d give her attention (kids being lazy megalomaniacs) but even so our rejection of the very noisy but enthusiastic woman must have sent mixed signals about how to deal with people. Some people whom we interact with, and who interact with us, can’t help but to be assholes, confusing or inconsiderate, and we teach kids tolerance, understanding, acceptance and the importance of giving the benefit of a doubt. Others are just annoying — and we don’t think about that we’ll have to explain our dismissive as well as our tolerant behaviour, least we cause confusion.