Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I really messed up over this girl.

Her name wasn't Marie, but then neither is mine.

She was French Caledonian, and forever asking questions. "Whut arl you doingk?" That was her catchphrase. She was slightly annoying, but not very much. But it was enough.

"Whut arl you doingk?"
"Arl you going owt?"
"Where arl you goingk to?"
"'Oo arl you meetingk?"
"Arl you goingk down to zee Globe bar?"

I had to avoid giving her too many open answers. I had to avoid conversation. I had to avoid spending all my time giving a constant running commentary on everything I did, so instead I spent my time updating this blog.

Avoid conversation with Marie.

Later on, the hostel's other French resident, came up to me.

"Marie was asking after you today. Asking lots of questions."
"Questions? Marie? Are you sure?"
"Yes. She kept asking me why you are so wierd."
(you can insert your own comical reply for me here)
He continued "Yes, she wanted to know why you are so quiet. I said I don't know why Steve is so quiet. If you want to know why Steve is so quiet, then why don't you ask him?"

Thanks. Thanks for telling her to do that.

Marie: "Whut arl you doingk?"
Me: "I'm geting something out of this bag."
Marie: "Eez eet yourls?"
Me: "No."
Long silence - I'd told her the truth and succeeded in confusing her. Now she thought I was stealing, and didn't know what to say. Yes!

So I was downstairs with Al, and the subject of this invasively questioning French girl cropped up. I mimicked, entirely good-naturedly "Whut arl you doingk?" and I think we both laughed. Actually I think we chuckled. Actually I don't think it was even acknowledged. No matter. I had made the mistake of beginning the avalanche. Soon even the pebbles would no longer have a vote.

A couple of days later, I realised that others were talking about her. "She's a strange one." "She's wierd." "Scary."

What? What? What? She was just slightly irritating. She asked a few too many questions, but that was it. Now everyone was talking derogatively about her behind her back? I had to defend her. "No no no, she's very nice. She's very interested in people. That's good."

Ahh, it was nothing, but for Marie, life was about to get worse.

Marie charged people for massages, which sometimes brought them out in a rash. She also apparently offered them favours. And she'd change with her door wide open. None of these things endeared her to anyone.

Then she tried to set me up with her friend.

"Would you like to come down to zee Globe Bar and meet my friend?"
"Do you 'ave a girlfriend?"
"Why not?"
"Because I am not looking for anyone."
"Are you gay?"

At a later date this became:

Marie: "'Ow long az eet been zince you larzt 'ad zecks?"
Me: "Forever."
Marie: "Whut deed you zay?"
Me: "Forever."
Marie: "Why deedn't you unswer my quezteeon?"
Me: "I did. (BEAT. SPELLING IT OUT) I-have-never-had-sex."
Random comatose guy: "Cool man. It's overrated."

I have no idea why random comatose guy said this, as a few nights later it had him lying on the floor of a public toilet to get it.

Anyhew, the public disquiet over this girl began to grow. I started to overhear "Arghhh, that girl is SO annoying! She just NEVER shuts up!"

She even got given a nickname behind her back - "Sideshow."

Although it was claimed that this was a comment on her hairstyle, the added implication was surely that they thought she was some sort of freak. I had two reactions to this. Firstly, I decided that I would never, ever refer to her by this name, under any circumstances. Second, I thought this was the most brilliant nickname that I had ever heard of anyone being given, and simply wished that I could use it. If only she'd been given such a great name in love.

The temptation to use it purely for its inherant comedy value was huge. But there was simply no way that I would. In fact, I even managed to avoid clearly hearing other people use it.

Jay: "Where's slide-show?"
Me: "I'm sorry?"
Jay: "I said 'Where's Fido?'"
Me: "I'm sorry, I just couldn't hear you clearly either time. What did you say?"
Jay: "I said, 'WHERE'S SIDESHOW?'"
Me: (running from the stigma of deafness) "Ohhhhh, Sideshow! I think she's upstairs in her room."

So I'd done it. I'd called her 'Sideshow.' I was no better than anyone else. And to think that I knew her nickname was Sideshow because I'd actually read it on the internet.

I cracked during a conversation at the start of February about her boyfriend. Al had successfully gone on the offensive by, quite brilliantly, asking HER questions instead of answering them.

Al: "So your boyfriend's back home in French Caledonia then?"
Marie: "Yez. 'Ee eez zere, and I am 'eeyre."
Al: "Why don't you go home and see him?"
Marie: "Becoz 'ee eez waiting fore mee zere."
Al: "So when are you going home?"
Marie: "I yam staying 'eeyre until zee zecont of Maarch, whan I yam going to fly 'ome and zee eem."
Al: "But why are you staying here though? Why don't you go home and see him tomorrow?" (nice one Al - she won't suspect any subtext to that question)
Marie: "Becoz 'ee eez waiting fore mee."
Al: "But I don't get it. You have no job here. You have no reason to stay here. Your boyfriend is back home. Why don't you go home and see him tomorrow?"
Marie: "Becoz 'ee eez waiting for mee."
Al: "But if you stay here, he may find someone else."
Marie: "No 'ee won't."
Al: "Why not?"
Marie: "Becoz 'ee eez waiting for mee."

Then I said it.

Me: "Can I just say that I think that is quite the STUPIDEST thing that I have ever heard?"

I'd burst the bubble. After all the stress I'd been under lately, I was quite deliberately insulting someone for the first time since...since ever, I think. Usually people have to figure out if I'm in a bad mood with them, but coming straight out with calling someone stupid to their face was a completely new experience for me. I always like to look for the good in everyone.

I continued: "Why? Why are you staying here when he is back there?"
Marie: "Becoz 'ee eez waiting for mee."
Me: "But the longer you stay here, the greater the chance that he will not wait for you. Go! Go now while you still can!"
Marie: "But 'ee eez waiting."
Me: "Well I hope for your sake he is. I really really hope that he is waiting for you, and that he is still waiting for you when you get back next month."
Marie: "'Ee eez. 'Eee eez waiting for me."
Me: "Well I really hope so, because I think that what you are doing is the most absolutely stupid thing that I have ever heard of."

This wasn't technically true. I was actually hoping he would leave her, instead of gullibly waiting for someone who was apparently offering favours to travellers.

She left the room. I cooled down a bit with Al. After that she didn't really talk to me again, but I had initiated the hostel's landslide.

A few night's later a full-blown screaming match erupted between her and Al. It was a bit one-sided. He and I had been chatting amicably, when she showed-up and said the most trivial of things. Inevitably it meant that all the ill-feeling came out between them.

The F word started getting yelled at her and I said nothing. Said guy started yelling that she was interrupting me too, and again I remained silent, instead of protesting that I didn't mind, and being mistaken for falling on her 'side.' Once again I failed in my Christian duty by just staying silent.

I just hung around as a discouragement from any blows being thrown. Things died down. There was silence for a few minutes. Figuring the argument had peaked, I made my excuses and left. How very British of me.

Of course, it started again after I'd gone. Tears flowed. Yada yada.

She never really talked to me again, lumping me in with Mr Shouty, since he'd drawn on my presence as evidence against her.

It had all started when I'd mimicked her. Then I'd used her nickname. Then I hadn't defended her properly against all the anti-Marie talk that there had been. Then I'd called her stupid to her face. Twice. Finally, I'd just let this guy shout and shout and swear at her, and use me as part of his excuse to do so. I could have nipped all of this in the bud.

She left today. I failed to even say goodbye to her.

Just why has God put me in this hostel? I really messed up over that girl.


1 comment(s):

At 8:03 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

You're missing the obvious, Old Man - Marie's boyfriend got let out of prison on 2nd March, right? Let the conspiracies begin...


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