Ralph Waldo Emerson

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mauling the Messenger

I suppose in travel writing it's important to balance the good with the bad, so as to avoid portraying my life on the road as some idyllic jaunt from one grand adventure to the next. So, yeah, I went through a bit of a rough patch in the last few days. It's a long, complicated and confusing story so I'll spare you the gritty details; suffice it to say the happy hippie commune became a zone of cultural warfare. It was straight up WWII style, with the German Axis against the American Allies. For each of our own individual reasons, we found ourselves gravitating to one side or the other. It was getting utterly ridiculous, people making snide comments and avoiding eachother. I mostly just ignored the problem and tried to stay friends with everyone, but of course things never quite turn out the way you plan. The juant to Queenstown was supposed to be a fun escape, but while we were out having a blast, things in Wanaka were crumbling into a terrible mess.

I had begun receiving desperate texts from the young Kiwi girl in the house that the Germans were telling her we owed $120 to them and that she was going to have to pay it since we weren't around. I opted that we go back to Wanaka and clear up the mess, thinking Team America was all aboard. Plus, I considered myself a good diplomat between the two parties and envisioned myself confidently striding into the fray and sorting everything out no problem. Yup. I'm a moron.

So the minute we got into town the crew charged into the house to find Matt, the leader of the Axis team. Unfortunately the minute he and I began our little peace talks, the Allies un-allied themselves and disappeared. Long story short, I saw his side of things and paid him my $40 portion of the debt, but then had to sit through one of those "killing the messenger" routines where another very angry German threw some very creative broken-English insults at me while I made feeble attempts at defending myself. Unfortunately my guilt-switch operates at extraordinarily high levels, so when being accused of doing wrong I am prone to feel like a piece of crap no matter how valid the accusations really are. Add on top of that some translation issues as well as the complete disappearance of my US backup, my backbone went from granite to formica and I ended up shuffling out of the house feeling very confused and small. And for the first time in my 3 months here I started to think that home sounded really really good. But after leaving and having a good long sit in a nearby park, I collected myself and decided my role in the conflict was definitely over. Sure, there's now a couple Germans joining the Argentinian and Mag Pie on the life list of Those That Would Rather I Hadn't Been Born, but so it is.

I guess the good that came of a rather crappy experience was that it made me reflect and take ownership of my actions. So, yeah, all a part of the journey. And now I'm heading up to Mt. Aspiring National Park for a few days of tramping and camping and hopefully appreciating the good with the bad.

1 comment:

Wells said...

Did you tell him he smelled like sauerkraut? 'Cause I bet he did.