My sister does not like guests. My brother also does not like guests. Not because they hate visitors but because they hate entertaining them. My other sister is a difficult one, she likes some but others she dislikes. Dad is a different case altogether, he can be a man of few words to some people but to others he simply cannot keep quiet. My eldest brother tolerates people whether he likes them or not, but when he dislikes you it is a done deal. Not even a trip to Mars and back can undo it. Then there is my mother and I. We love people and we love guests. We can entertain them anytime anyday!
My mother and I always have something to say when someone visits the house. How is the family? Did you ever heal from that back ache? Oh, I am sorry that your landlord is tormenting you! We know when to say the ‘ah’ and the ‘oh’ and when to simply nod. When to laugh hysterically and when to be prim and proper. Whenever she is not around she always trusts that any guests who visits will be treated to tea and a bite and of course chatted up until she returns, with me around.
My brother and sister are not like this. The best they can do is inform you that the parents are not around and have you on your way. They may serve you tea once in a while and soon run off to the confines of their bedroom. A chat, you will never get from them. It is never a matter of whether they like you or not. If you arrive unannounced you will not get a converstion from them. That is, unless you are the one doing all the talking and never expecting them to say anything. Only then can you afford their company. They simply cannot make a conversation to save their lives !
Mother and I keep complaining and lamenting over this behaviour. We simply cannot understand why a guest cannot be kept company. Do they want them to leave feeling frustrated. Do they want us to be labelled mean people? After all it takes only twenty minutes or thirty of their day. Why not make a deliberate effort in small talk atleast?
I recently discovered that sometimes they keep a glass of water nearby so that they keep their mouth full at all times. This is when a loud mouthed neighbour drops by. You cannot speak with your mouth full now can you? A clever trick to avoid speaking to people. That is just the way they are. No amount of complaining has yielded any fruits. They are even more confident now that we have raised concerns. Introverted and in love with their own space, that is who they are !
They on the other hand are not all that comfortable with our habits. Many times we keep the guests entertained with stories they find embarrasing and uncomfortable. We constantly put them on the spot in an attempt to engage them in conversations they would rather not be involved in. So many times I have called them out from their rooms to come and meet the guests they would prefer to hide from. They also complain that we take too much time in the sitting room where they would rather be, had there been no visitors. Why did we have to reveal their embarrasing stories to strangers who would later laugh at their expense? But then again that is just who we are ! Crazy, people-loving, tea cooking people. And often we add a doughnut to the mix.
Away from home, I have a friend who rarely speaks. She would rather point at things, signal at you or just ignore stuff she cannot verbalise. At some point when shopping for clothes with her mom, a trader mistook her to be deaf and dumb because she just would not speak. She kept nodding at dresses she liked and shaking her head at those she didn’t! You can only imagine the horror on her face when Doreen finally spoke up. I often think that this story keeps the trader entertained on slow days. When she remembers deaf and dumb Doreen who miraculously received her speech. That is just who she is, calm, collected and quiet Doreen
Then we have Ali who is one of the most outspoken person I know. He says the weird things no one would ever say out loud. He goes out for pizza on the night before exams. He once sat down with my friend Kate’s aunt to match her up with potential boys. They even had photos. Her aunt! He once showed up at his girl friend’s home for christmas completely unannounced. I think the girl is still nursing her mini heart attack to date. That is just who he is, crazy and daring Ali.
I have another friend who is difficult to understand. Tim can keep quiet with you in the room for hours. Long hours of comfortable silence as he does his work and you do yours. Tim also loves thinking about stuff, he comes up with theories and conspiracies that I just never understand. And yes he is a flat-earther. I always nod and try to understand even when I cannot, and I am a very smart person. My grandmother said so. Tim is also very conserved and he loves his space. I find him too mature for his age. He keeps advising me to work out even when I am stubborn about it. He loves running around and building muscles. He also speaks a lot when he wants to, that is just who he is. Good old thoughtful, athletic Tim.
Kate who I mentioned earlier is quite a package. I keep reminding her my first memory of her. I noticed her because she was so psyched up and energetic and extra. You see Kate always has this energy In her. I suspect she carries sweet potatoes in her handbag to keep it up. She can give hints about some things but is upront about others. We are always creating awkward moments for some of our friends.She is also romantic at heart. But she also gets into anger mode and then, she broods and is as quiet as a tomb. No one likes angry Kate. However that is who she is, good old volatile, energetic Kate.
Sam, is another one. He puzzles me the most and I can never understand him. Start a topic on music and he is sure to speak for twenty hours straight without letting you say a word. But when I let him in on a little gossip here and there he turns as red as a beetroot and becomes mute. He can speak to older people very comfortably but never with guys our own age. With the latter, awkward silence often springs up sooner than you can spell awkward! This is why he avoids parties and huge gatherings, the very things I cherish for more things than the free food. That is just who he is. Musical Sam.
It takes a whole lot of people to make a world. The outspoken and outgoing, the quiet and introverted. The artistic and creative, the genius and the book worm. The body builder and the fitness maniacs, the plumb and the obese. The silly romantics are sure to spice up our world, but those who lack a romantic bone also hold their own. The loyal and the cheats are sure to come by!
These people are the colour of the world. Each of us makes a pixel that comes together to make the picture. The big picture of our world. Each of us is a small part of the orchestra that comes together to make sweet music. We are the small parts of the thread that comes together intricately to form a beautiful pattern. A beautiful piece of art!
In the words of the late Micheal Jackson, we are the world. We the different people are the atoms that are bound to each other by strong cords. Cords of love and blood and life. Cords that makes the people around us our people. These very cords that makes me love my brother and sister even if they are quite different from me. These cords allow me to hear Doreen even without her uttering a word.
Quite honestly, I love my people just the way they are. I sure hope they love me too as I am. Friends, look around at your people and why you love them. Is it because he snorts when he laughs? Because she has the greatest smile? Look for these little cords that make you drawn to your people and love them. These people are the ones that make our world better, they are the colours of our world!