Saturday, July 11, 2009

Not Self-Aware (I Am a Tourist In My Own Life)

I have real trouble turning off my internal narrator. The enthusiasm of this continuous monologue is what first made me think I should try my pen at writing/blogging. Then I found out most people have a voice inside their heads who comments on the action, that other people have their own internal narrators and that I was not unique after all. How disappointing, I thought it was just me. But no, we all have one.

Except for those people who, as Izzy insists, are Not Self Aware.

Like the guy tonight that everyone in our cheap Outback style Chiang Mai restaurant found out was from Las Vegas. He lives here, we all leanred, but those people he was with before, they were not his FREINDS, they were his NEIGHBOURS. The Vegan guy would not shut-up. He kept talking continuously at indiscreet volumes to the two Thai girls at his table. On and on he goes. "That happened to my mom, who is," he leans forwards and speaks slowly, "EIGHT EE SIX YEARS OLD." They kept eating, not looking at him. Wondering, what the fuck is he yelling at us about? No doubt. He then sends back his steak because it is "a touch more medium than well done. I prefer it more WELL-DONE/medium than medium/well-DONE, as I requested, so could the chef please JUST COOK it a little bitty MORE, thank you sir, I'd appreciate that." The blank-faced waiter nodded and took the meat back to the kitchen, shrugging his shoulders to the chef.

My waiter rolled his eyes. Tourists. Not self aware, as a species.

This guy could not be self-aware as the voice in his head would not be able to get a word in edgewise. I often wonder, are people who talk incessantly like this capable of… like, *contemplating* anything? Can they ever stop... and just… think? Ever? Are they afraid of what their inner narrator might tell them?

I'm trying to get rid of my inner narrator. I was once told he is slowing me down. Then again, other people say that I think too much. I'm not doing any thinking, of course, I'm just listening to the inner narrator. I've been presuming he's been doing the thinking for both if us and therefore knows what he's doing, and ergo facto, so do I.

Perhaps I should study my Eckhart Tollë a little more, eh? BE in my present. Stop listening to that inner voice. Stop worrying about the future and regretting the past (which is what my inner voice is or should be talking about, according to Tollë, rather than saying mundane things like "Long shot: Phillip picks up his fork and examines it for traces of dirt").

And keep those cheques and money orders coming in, says Eckhart.

Yes, I should stop being an actor in the movie that is my life and just live it without awareness. Like a brain-washed new-age zombie. Like a tourist.

As long as I am alive to live it that is.

I just hope that they way to achieve this inner calm is not by talking loudly to uncomprehending people in restaurants, like a total wanker.


The country town of Nan was a bit quiet last night.

Street market at 9pm. More street than market.


My narrator was haranguing me on helium for the drive back from Nan (on the Nan river, same river that flows through Phitsanulok from two weeks ago) to Chiang Mai; he was having a field day. I only wish I could recall some of it for you. Passages of great descriptive power, episodes of dramatic irony and then some of irony and drama by themselves. Discourses of great social and political import. All of them concerning feats of dangerous driving even more harrowing than earlier in the week. Feats to leave you gasping. More knife-edge curves and split-second swerves… More good luck than good decisions on the corners… It got to the point were E@L had to say, "Please DON'T text while you are driving at twice the recommended speed, on the wrong side of the road, going into a blind curve, with the setting sun right in your eyes!!"

Reply; a pleasant "Hoka-ay. No ploblem. Solly."

As I couldn’t sleep due to anxiety for the first hour of this trip and due to a full bladder for the last, I also wish that the pictures from my mental camera could be downloaded to share with you. Other than close-ups of oncoming trucks, I mean. Snaps of rice paddies reflecting the burnished clouds of sunset and the silhouettes of the hills.

Oops missed the rice paddies.

Snaps of the teak jungles draped in a suffocating omnipresent vine infestation. Snaps of village markets, rickety shanties on those hillsides, plus large modern mansions with satellite antennae. Snaps of the weather-beaten, lined and tanned face of the man pushing a tractor-tyred cart to the market, or the weary grandmother in traditional hill-tribe dress keeping a hand on the exhuberant children under her supposed control right by the road-side.

I think next time I'll go by bus.

This bus pulled up next to us at the lights in Lampuang.

Somebody, please explain.



Unknown said...

Certain things cause me to chatter on incessantly and I'm the most self aware person I know. Nerves, fatigue coupled with too much caffeine, and jetlag all tend to set me up for a monologue fest. But at least I'm not loud.

Love the bus sign. You most definitely need to take that bus next time. Just skip the Remeron if it's an overnighter.

expat@large said...

Jay: I'll leave your self-referential justification alone - no I won't: you don't really know anyone except yourself and even that knowledge is tainted by being obviously biased! You might think you think a lot, but who can you know how much let alone what other people are thinking?

So having said this, yes my whole premise in this post is therefore compromised by my own admission - it's a Godel type unprovability theorem.

It was also only a joke.

Izzy does however believe that some people are not self-aware!

& I nearly wet myself with the bus sign! It was just by my window at the red-light, I kid you not. Is it a joke or what? Who knows, ahem, what they were thinking when they put it on.

I have to admit to also being a prattle maniac when the booze and/or adrenalin demons be upon me... such as giving lectures, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I know everything and have to communicate it all it once... it is a chief topic for later lying in bed cringing about what a wanker I was that day...

Dick Headley said...

You're lucky in a way. My inner narrators narrate their own narration. They even expect me to write it all down.

expat@large said...

Dick: we all have our crosses to bear.

Stephen Folan said...

Call it self inhibitor rather than self awareness and ignore it. If it wants to drive the conscious then it should sit in the front seat.

knobby said...

Intel makes buses??

Speaking of excessive verbiage -- yesterday at McDonald's, I swear to you I saw the least self-aware person on the planet. She wasn't speaking my language so I don't know exactly what she said but she never stopped! Verbal vomit personified. How can someone yak continuously for the longest 30 minutes of my life without at least needing to think about what she's saying? I suppose this supports your not-self-aware theory. Birds can tweet incessantly, crickets can chirp continuously, dogs can bark without stopping and none of them is self-aware. So if someone can vomit vords vithout veakening, what does that show...

And before anyone asks, I understood enough to know that it was utter mindless blather, not like she had something specific to get off her chest.

expat@large said...

H-G: the conciousness is a tiny mahoot sitting on the neck of a giant runawat elephant called the limbic system. Every time we give a reason for what we have done, it's just our frontal lobe looking for clues and kidding itself.

Knob: have you seen Dead Man? One of three bounty hunters is Conway Twill who just keeps talking and talking as they go off in search of Johnny Depp... One of the others is allegedly a cannibal! In one scene the bounty hunters go off-screen with him still talking, gun-shot off-screen. Next shot, the other bounty hunter is sitting in front of a fire, eating someone's forearm.

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