Saturday, July 10, 2004

not a first date
What a nervous feeling, writing this first blog from an internet café in a crumbly Toulouse basement. It seems that the guy who owns the café is the same dood who had the burger shop over the road. I noticed a few weeks back that it had reinvented itself as a phone centre, unsurprisingly.

He once offered me a five minute glorification of their flagship burger, waving his hands in the air as he described passionately how the meat was marinaded in a mélange of spices imported from countries afar, and how it would be cooked gently on the grill with other sumptuous ingredients to produce a wonder of the culinary imagination.

I was drunk and hungry so I went for it and spent the next ten minutes salivating until he handed the finished sandwich to me, wrapped as it was in greasy beige paper.

Have you ever had a philly cheese steak? Well that's about the closest comparison I can think of of the spodge that was squashed between those burger buns. Thin slices of meat had mated with grated mozarella on the grill, and turned into a sorta bland grey sticky goo.

Well, despite the disappointment of the end result I couldn't fault his passion to the idea or his commitment to customer service. And it seems that he is applying these same qualities to his internet café.

I walked in here about an hour ago and he greeted me with a big smile, enthusiastically and efficiently catering for my every need. Problem was that he did it all whilst sitting on a bar stool with his legs spread about ninety degrees apart, and wearing a pair of very very short shorts. Euuuuyeuck.

After I'd got over the shock of being moved from one computer to another, I noticed that there was a cat sitting on top of the monitor opposite me, and it has its paw over the screen. Nobody takes their cat to the internet cafe so I am assuming it lives here. The guy using the computer is patiently scrolling the page up and down, rather than disturb his new friend.

And so, in this glamorous location I have come to chose the name 'glacons' for my blog. I wanted to call it iceberg. That had already gone though, and I am glad it did 'cos glacons is french for icecubes and that seems more like my idea.

The idea is that each of us is constantly being tripped up by our subconcious: sent spinning over by our collections of assumptions, and challenged daily to admit to ourselves that we hardly know anything about life here in these bodies or in this universe.

Just think of one of your friends who has some repetitive behaviour trait which they are unaware of, but which you have come to see quite plainly. Whatever we think about it, the amusing thing is that they look at us and also see things we are unaware of. And so we go on, generally keeping our mouths shut and preserving each others egos and fantasies.

As an English guy living in France I am fortunate enough to be confronted every day with the many varied subconcious assumptions embedded within different cultures. I am in contact with lots of europeans but also with people from potentially any nation in the world. My job is to figure out how all these people see the world, what's important to say to them, and how we should treat them and present ourselves to them so that we don't irritate any of their subconcious cultural assumptions and predjudices about how things are done.

I might not be very good at it yet, but it makes me believe that is a fascinating and diverse world where there is no one way, and definately no superior way of thinking or doing.

So since in any one picture the small amount of reality each of us sees is defined and supported by all that is buried in our subconcious, and since we are 5 billion people or so, icecubes seem a more appropriate symbol than an iceberg. And glacons sounds nicer than icecubes.

So that explains my idea for this blog: the amazing and amusing futility of taking ourselves and our cultures seriously whilst their shape is formed purely by relative experience, and sits on top of all that we have forgotten.

Lets laugh at each other on the of-chance that we might learn about ourselves. We could easily be someone else entirely...

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