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Annoying people and annoying situations - a fairy tale

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#1
Maybe this post is presumptuous or even slightly annoying, which would be fantastically ironic, but the subject of it has been popping up on this forum frequently the last few weeks. It is rather striking at the moment, the number of threads and stories about annoying people, annoying situations, annoying technology and annoying injuries. I really sympathize with the latter, but the first three leave me puzzled every now and then. Because annoying people who create annoying situations (with or without annoying technology) are inevitable and they are everywhere. So why would the camino be exempt?

And I think that is just the thing: expectations. A lot of people might expect their camino to be a stroll through a magical land where the walking may be strenuous but never too hard or too painful. Where injuries only happen because of accidents and never because of stupidity, overestimating your own abilities or sheer bad luck. Where everyone is nice, polite and accomodating, always willing to listen to a spot of blister complaining or yet another story of self-discovery. Where nobody snores, farts, plays with their phone or jumps the queue at the albergue. You know, La-La-Land.

In fact, I think the camino was actually a lot like that on most days when I walked it. The vast majority of the people on a camino do a real good job of making it a really fantastic path to be and walk on. But not all. Because that is impossible, and all the fairy tales in the world will tell us that. There is always something wrong or at least slightly off in Fairyland. Which in my opinion is a good thing, because it makes for a more entertaining and interesting plot. Plus there is something to be said about handling adversity or going through a hard time, but I won't go into that now.

This is about annoying people creating annoying situations. And you know what? Usually annoying people don't get they are annoying. It might be a cultural difference, their attention being off-kilter, a faulty upbringing or just plain insensitivity or boorishness. You will find out which one it is when you tell him/her/them that they are annoying and why. And you don't have to be impolite, agressive or offensive about it. Just describe the situation at hand and explain what is wrong with the picture.

You may not like the result of such an intervention. People tend to be sensitive about these things. But in a surprisingly large number of cases all will be fine or at least better. And if you think or feel you are not up to confronting these annoying people, or can't be bothered, please don't do so on my account. Listen to your own instincts and live through or avoid the annoyance. Hang back for a while, go someplace else, find a friend or shrug and carry on. Or vent for a moment on this forum.

But if you vent, please try to do it with a little levity. Because honestly, we've all been there, tripping over kit in the morning and waking up the whole dorm. Laughed too hard and too long with our new found friends and a bottle of tinto. Whispered in church at precisely the wrong moment. Let a piece of plastic loose in the wind. Or worse. So stare into the annoyance and make sure to look out for your own reflection in it. Then you can be like a conscientious camino hunter: strike responsibly and as humane as you can (inwards or outwards), and consume the whole beast. All of it, including the icky bits. And live happily ever after.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
CF(x3), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham.
2018? CF, again :-)
#7
I am sure you're right. But maybe, every now and then, some of the others might have asked them to lighten up a little...
Haha, my main bugbear were 2 (French) pilgrims going on....and on..... about pilgrims starting in Sarria! And I kept on meeting them lol
I tried to tell them to lighten up but I think my efforts were wasted. I don't think they ever realised THEY themselves (for me anyway) were the worst bit from Sarria to Santiago lolol The irony is, each time we were in quiet, pilgrimless little cafes!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#11
Ironically, what I find annoying on the Camino are the exact same things I find annoying at home. Hum...
I was thinking the same thing. Any group of humans put together are a flawed bunch in one way or another, whether at home or abroad. It's especially noticed when in close proximity to each other for an extended period of time.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#12
Any group of humans put together are a flawed bunch in one way or another, whether at home or abroad.
I am delighted you used the word 'flawed', because it is at the heart of what I was thinking when I wrote my post. A little anecdote: when I was about eight, my father told me a story about Japanese potters. They were so good at what they did, that they could make flawless pottery. But they didn't. They deliberately nicked it, or put a big ol' thumbprint on the glazing. My dad said they did that to show they were human, not gods, and in their view humans and their work are inherently flawed. I didn't really get it then, but the story stuck with me.

Years later, when I was twenty-something, I worked in Amsterdam for a few months and used the train a lot. I noticed a girl (as you do at that age) usually taking the same train I was in and she was nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful. But she also had a really big nose. And somehow that nose made her all the more beautiful. When I realised that, the story of the Japanese potters popped back up.

I started to research it and discovered that there was a lot more to the story than my dad told me. In Japanese culture it is known as 'wabi-sabi', and it resonated strongly with me. Since that time I always look for the dog turd in a pristine garden, and greet it like it is an old friend. And I suspect Leonard Cohen was onto the same thing when he wrote: 'There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.'
 
#13
... It is rather striking at the moment, the number of threads and stories about annoying people, annoying situations, annoying technology and annoying injuries. I really sympathize with the latter, but the first three leave me puzzled every now and then. Because annoying people who create annoying situations (with or without annoying technology) are inevitable and they are everywhere. So why would the camino be exempt?
...
Amen!

Very timely post @Purky, I was thinking the exact same thing this morning!
The rest of your post is also spot on. Well said.
Expectations will do us in every time.
 

Traa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I want to walk Camino in Sept/Oct 2017
#17
Maybe this post is presumptuous or even slightly annoying, which would be fantastically ironic, but the subject of it has been popping up on this forum frequently the last few weeks. It is rather striking at the moment, the number of threads and stories about annoying people, annoying situations, annoying technology and annoying injuries. I really sympathize with the latter, but the first three leave me puzzled every now and then. Because annoying people who create annoying situations (with or without annoying technology) are inevitable and they are everywhere. So why would the camino be exempt?

And I think that is just the thing: expectations. A lot of people might expect their camino to be a stroll through a magical land where the walking may be strenuous but never too hard or too painful. Where injuries only happen because of accidents and never because of stupidity, overestimating your own abilities or sheer bad luck. Where everyone is nice, polite and accomodating, always willing to listen to a spot of blister complaining or yet another story of self-discovery. Where nobody snores, farts, plays with their phone or jumps the queue at the albergue. You know, La-La-Land.

In fact, I think the camino was actually a lot like that on most days when I walked it. The vast majority of the people on a camino do a real good job of making it a really fantastic path to be and walk on. But not all. Because that is impossible, and all the fairy tales in the world will tell us that. There is always something wrong or at least slightly off in Fairyland. Which in my opinion is a good thing, because it makes for a more entertaining and interesting plot. Plus there is something to be said about handling adversity or going through a hard time, but I won't go into that now.

This is about annoying people creating annoying situations. And you know what? Usually annoying people don't get they are annoying. It might be a cultural difference, their attention being off-kilter, a faulty upbringing or just plain insensitivity or boorishness. You will find out which one it is when you tell him/her/them that they are annoying and why. And you don't have to be impolite, agressive or offensive about it. Just describe the situation at hand and explain what is wrong with the picture.

You may not like the result of such an intervention. People tend to be sensitive about these things. But in a surprisingly large number of cases all will be fine or at least better. And if you think or feel you are not up to confronting these annoying people, or can't be bothered, please don't do so on my account. Listen to your own instincts and live through or avoid the annoyance. Hang back for a while, go someplace else, find a friend or shrug and carry on. Or vent for a moment on this forum.

But if you vent, please try to do it with a little levity. Because honestly, we've all been there, tripping over kit in the morning and waking up the whole dorm. Laughed too hard and too long with our new found friends and a bottle of tinto. Whispered in church at precisely the wrong moment. Let a piece of plastic loose in the wind. Or worse. So stare into the annoyance and make sure to look out for your own reflection in it. Then you can be like a conscientious camino hunter: strike responsibly and as humane as you can (inwards or outwards), and consume the whole beast. All of it, including the icky bits. And live happily ever after.
Excellent post! Spot on!
 
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