There are times when you think you’ve found honest and kind people. There are times when you’re amazed and glad that someone offers to help you, even without you asking. There are times when you think you’ve found your person. There are times when you get enthusiastic about potential future common projects.
There are times when you trust people around you. There are times when you compromise to include another person in your life. Or you compromise for the sake of a good idea/project. There are times when you want to feel that you belong and you think you do. There are times when you’re ready to commit.
There are times when you’re zen and the first assumption you make is that everyone is honest.
There are times when you lower your guard.
But there are also times when you get fucked over.
Sometimes it’s crystal clear that you were cheated. Like when your ride to the airport to pick up your “friend” transforms into you being robbed, beaten, threatened to be killed, threatened to be raped, threatened to be infected with HIV, sprayed with pepper spray and finally dumped on a lonely street of the busy city.
You have the important things from your bag: credit cards and passport. You don’t have any more the 100 euros in cash in local currency, the new old Huawei phone that you had got 2 days before and the sunglasses.
Your body is a bit bruised, your ego is suffering intensely, but you were dropped off way before any of the threats got to happen. In the middle of the afternoon, after about an hour and a half of adrenaline rush.
Experienced traveler my ass.
Of course that when it becomes clear that you trusted the wrong people, that not everyone is honest, that you had lowered your guard too much, that you’re being fucked over, you try to fight back – the yellow belt in hapkido from Berlin and the kungfu lessons with Benjamin in China don’t seem to help too much, but good old biting works a little.
You quickly remember the biting strategy from the childhood fights with your older sister.
You try, but fail to break the window of the car with your head. You imagine yourself being able to strangle the driver like in Jackie Chan movies, but you are easily held back before even getting to touch the fucking driver.
You clearly watched too many action movies with your dad growing up.
You quickly change the tactics…you start bluffing: that you were smart enough to take a picture of the car before getting on, that you had already sent the picture and phone number you were called from to other local friends, that you are writing travel articles for the tourism department of Tanzania and are well connected in the country, that if you’re not online for more than 6 hours in a row, people start freaking out and police will be on their tail since the receptionist from your hotel had seen their faces, that if they fuck you over, they fuck themselves.
All of these because you are stubborn enough not to tell the motherfuckers the pin of your credit cards which are, of course, in your bag.
Experienced traveler my ass.
Heart racing in your chest worse than the time you were on a rollercoaster in Vienna, you yell “Kill me now! I’ve lived my life! You’re wasting your fucking time! ”.
They smack you once again and tell you to stop yelling and cooperate. You lie you would cooperate.
You wish that at least part of the bluffing was actually true. And when the story plays over and over and over again in your mind after it all happened, of course that you always take a picture of the car and send their phone number to one of the many local friends you got during your two months stay in the country.
Like any experienced traveler would do.
But hey, you know you’re stupidly lucky. You got out of the situation much better than you expected. It might be thanks to your mom’s weekly prayers that you always make fun of.
But it’s not always so crystal clear that you were cheated. Other stories play themselves a bit different. Like the time when you find yourself starting to think for two and making potential future plans in your head. You get too involved too fast. You start compromising, you sometimes leave aside your principles, you offer support, you share the little that you have, you ignore all the negatives and focus on the positives.
You make yourself always available.
You give not because you expect something in return, yet some support and reciprocity would be nice. Sharing is caring? A little consideration and understanding of a given situation? Choices that would include you and your comfort? Thinking about your preferences as well?
You question (sometimes aloud, sometimes in your head), you analyze, you wonder, you try to understand…you decide to express some of your concerns and have the impression that it was a fruitful discussion, but nothing really changes. “Sorry” becomes just another word.
You start realizing that there’s no reciprocity, that things are obviously hidden from you on purpose. And now you know for sure you’re being lied to because you get a different answer to a question you’ve asked before some months back. Bad memory, anyone?
You end up reading between the lines. You conclude that you’ve been cheated once again. You back off. You let go. You detach. You move on. You don’t look back.
No hard feelings. No point to blame. No need for more drama.
There are times when you’re paranoid. There are times when you think that everyone around you wants to fuck you over. There are times when you question the hidden reason of the person who just smiled to you. There are times when you’d rather be invisible.
And then, all of a sudden, you wake up. It was all just a bad dream.
You’re on your own. You’re safe. There’s no one around. Your guard is up.
Nothing ever happened. It’s all the script for a cheesy American movie. Fiction.
And, eventually, it all transforms into a happy end somehow.
Pam-pam. Don’t take yourself too seriously.