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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The blog post that showcases the word "annoying" an annoyingly high amount of times, while talking about voyeurism, Schadenfreude and other very annoying stuff

Someone talking on the phone at the movies.
Someone trying to skip the queue and pass over people politely waiting for their turn.
Someone being rude as a customer at a restaurant or on a plane.
Someone letting their children run and scream where other people are sleeping.
Someone sitting next to you with poor personal hygiene on a hot day.

If I would ask you to name one situation that, in your humble opinion, has to be considered among the most annoying situations at all, I am pretty sure that you would be able to give me a good example very fast.

[The Worst of the Worst,
Expedia's 2015 classical infographic 
about the most annoying airplane co-passengers and their habits]

Most people tend to consider something in their life annoying. That almost every human being can find stuff annoying is usually considered a matter of fact and probably part of human nature per se. Usually, the question is not whether or not people can and will find something annoying about their own life or the life of other people or the universe itself; it is more a matter of how many occurrences they can name, how much annoying they will find them and how often the person has to deal with the whole annoying thing. 
And then the tango of the not requested suggestions can start.

Because even if nobody asked and maybe my annoying is completely different from the annoying of someone else, hey! Who cares? Discussing about stuff without someone asking is just fun, so let's do it, right?

The annoying stuff happens once a year? You can live with it. 
The annoying stuff happens once a month? Come on, it's just once a month. No big deal for a big boy/gal like you.
The annoying stuff happens once a day? Oh well. No comment.

Having nothing to say is actually a good thing more often than one could think at first, above all if we are talking about having nothing to say about something one doesn't know that well vs. thinking to have something to say about something one doesn't know that well and people are not interested in asking his/her opinion about. 
And yet, for some reason, some people feel the urgency to provide some kind of opinion anyway. Or to say something. To show that they are there and they are listening. Or watching. Or whatever.

Last night something happened in Berlin, Germany. The city where I live since seven years and that I consider my home.
There are not so many information available about it by now, and yet almost immediately people started to talk about the within 24 hours so called "2016 Berlin attack".

In a matter of minutes after the truck incident in Breitscheidplatz took place, I started to get extremely worried messages from several people I know. All at once, several people I didn't hear from in months or even longer and that maybe were not even so responsive the last times I contacted them, wanted to know if I was alive, if I was doing fine, if everything was OK. 

At the moment I was totally unaware of the incident and I had to google the thing myself and to check what all those people were talking about.
And then, as the number of people contacting me grew bigger and bigger, something happened. I started to get very annoyed. And nope, posttraumatic stress disorder has nothing to do with it, since yesterday in the evening I was safe at home, in my own flat, while working and studying and writing on this blog and even now I feel absolutely safe in Berlin.

I was annoyed by all those messages. All those empty useless selfish voyeuristic messages.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people that contacted me in the last 24 hours while asking me about last night that would have contacted me anyway for some reason by the end of the year: the only people I really share a real human connection with, people I consider my friends, people that are part of my life. 
People that, once in a while, want to know how I am doing and what is going on and that can count on the same questions on my side.

The rest?
The rest were bored sharks hoping to get some information first hand, to discover something incredible, to hear me saying that Berlin was burning or that the whole city was terrified.
If I would have died one week or two months ago, for other reasons than a mysterious truck incident or an attack, about seventy percent of the people that contacted me between yesterday and today would have never discovered it. It would have never mattered, they would never have noticed the difference. Because they are not in my life any longer. We are not in touch. I don't know anything about them, they don't know anything about me.

And yesterday was a perfect example of this.
The chances that I could be somehow involved, hurt, in danger or even worse, were absolutely close to zero:
- I am not a Christmas person and I would never visit a Christmas market on a weekday;
- I live far away from Breitscheidplatz and I would never be there without a very specific reason;
- I am lately enjoying some LOMO (or JOMO, if you prefer to call it like this) and spending a huge amount of time at home and above all I was sick the whole week, so the chances that I would be outside on a cold evening  were not existent;
- I posted something online last night but those people are not following my blog at all, even if my blog is to me one of the most personal and intimate things ever. 

And yet, those people were curious and wanted to know more.
They wanted to be part of the situation, like people staying there and staring at after a car incident or someone got killed by a gunshot on the street.
They wanted to do something.
And they felt the right to write and to ask if I was fine, since they were "worried". And suddenly I asked myself "Worried about what? I could be in India at the moment, as far as they are concerned and informed about my life".


[How about some Schadenfreude and voyeurism, anyone?]

The most disarming ones didn't even try to look interested about me.
They just asked "What's going on?" and I had to stay very cool, in order not to reply "If you want to know what's going on just google it instead of bothering someone out of the blue like you were welcome, genius!".

So if someone would ask me, I know that from today on I would say that one of the most annoying things ever to me is getting messages from people pretending that they are worried about me when in reality they are just willing to feel part of something.

How about going out and getting a life instead?

Tags: Voyeurism, Schadenfreude, Annoying situations

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