Yesterday was odd. Odd enough that I won't resist the urge to gradually make this blog more and more like a journal - I left work totally unsettled because of it all.
The day started with walking to work through the absolutely silent streets of Ascension Day, a public holiday here. That was odd enough because the streets are generally jam packed to a stupid degree with back-ups from fender benders or from some twat trying to parallel park on a badly placed dime. Too much money, too many big cars. I could hear the birds all the way to the office and seemed to see a lot of things I'm too busy avoiding being hit by a car to see generally.
When I was walking down my erstwhile business class but presently abandoned avenue, I was accosted by a man who looked to be tidy but fairly fresh off a Congolese boat, the Congo being landlocked I know, but there you are. I saw him smiling ingratiatingly as he approached me, and in those few seconds I decided I knew the neighborhood well enough to give directions, that I had enough change to be panhandled, that I had a repertoire of ripostes to invitations to join religions and sexual situations, and that I remembered the lower-body skeletal manipulation movements that would let me fight off anything aggressive.
But then he said, in a childish voice and using a familiar address but with perfectly correct French, "I'd like to say that it would be nice to be friends, if you want."
I was shocked and quickly went on a cold autopilot, assuming there was a sexual aspect to all of it; made a dismissive sound and went to my office. Then I proceeded to feel awful about it the rest of the day.
It's statistically probable I was right to assume it was the beginning of a pass, but the least I could have done was ask him how I could have been his friend. F-word pointed out there was a fair chance the answer would have been disgusting. But I was ready to be disgusted - I assumed I'd be disgusted - and maybe I wouldn't have been disgusted, so it couldn't have hurt to ask. Maybe he was too embarrassed to just ask for the euro or two I would have given him if he'd asked flat out.
Or worse: maybe he really did need some sort of help that I could possibly have given and I've got to a point where I just don't give strangers that kind of help anymore because my perception of the human race is so low, which sucks for him, and sucks for me, because it means I'm at least a little bit disgusted all the time now. I don't know what to do about that, but I think it means I should volunteer within a structure with people who need help, since the rest of the world shouldn't have to pay for me being disgusted with it.
Anyways, once I got to the office the day kept getting stranger, but I'll have to write about that tomorrow because now it's time to go to the office again.