朋友,同事,陌生人 – Friends, colleagues, strangers – English

  
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I’ve been in Beijing for a while, and during this time, I’ve had a lot of experiences, and encountered lots of people. But there’s been three main types of people around me: friends, colleagues, and strangers; and so, I’d like to talk about the way I relate to these three types of people 而后,再由这三类人衍生中各种形形色色的交际圈子。

1. Don’t look down on strangers

I think many people sometimes prefer to hide in the world of strangers; maybe that’s the only way for them to feel carefree. But we don’t realise that this is often just a form of escape and self-paralysis. I remember how I used to love chatting on QQ: in this virtual world, you can do whatever you want. For that reason, I’ve spent a lot of time there; and in the end I found out that strangers could actually become good friends.

In Beijing, I’ve met a lot of strangers, Generally, they all just passed by. But there is one I can still remember. That’s an older woman I met on a bus. She seemed to be the same age as my mother, and while she sat on the bus, she continuously wrote things down in a small notebook. Curious, I learnt that was a lonely older woman. She had no children, lived in a rented basement in Beijing, and had to rely on cleaning jobs to survive.

What she wrote in her note-book was entirely related to her issues with transport: she has a very poor memory, and was worried that she would get off at the wrong stop from the bus, and make a ‘wrong move’. Everyday, she had to go from the place she lived – very far off – to many others, in order to do various cleaning jobs.

Sometimes, the more distant people are from us, the deeper influence they have. In my case at least, I was deeply touched – I couldn’t say why precisely, but that woman left a very deep impression.

2. Colleagues, close and distant

This way of putting it is not just my own: it’s a popular topic of conversation.. I’m the first to admit it, I have colleagues of this type – where I’ve only heard of them, but don’t even know their names, of I’ve just heard their name, but don’t know anything about them.

I remember, before, I had a woman colleague, and we had a good relationship. She was known in the company as a “connection freak”, everyone in the company knew her. Because of this, things got harder and harder for her. Many people particularly envied her ability to connect, but later, one little incident made me change my views on the whole thing.

That’s how it is: one day, something happened to her, and she didn’t come to the office. The manager wanted to contact her, but no-one had her contact details. That was extremely sad. Finally, a smart person found her details in her original file.

I thought then, such a connected woman, and yet nobody paid any real attention to her. 真是事不关己,高高挂起啊!!! Then later again, that woman left the company – the reason turned out to be that she was ‘too competent’.

3. Dubious friends

This friend meant a lot. Classmates, colleagues, strangers, etc, can all become your friends. I have a friend who used to stay in the same dorm with me at university. That kind of friendship should be gold. I still remember his high academic achievements, of the kind a ‘poor student’ like myself could not compete with. But at that time, he also had a great sense of obligation, and when needed, he never failed to ‘selflessly’ help me.

But after graduation, it was like he became a different person, 我反正是很无语。 He very rarely called me on the phone, he preferred to use QQ. I remember often calling him, but he almost never called me. And on top of that, he always complained I didn’t call him, so I just smiled bitterly, but for the sake of our close friendship, I didn’t care, I still included him.

Some time ago, he told me he was going on a blind date, and he wanted me to call him. I didn’t refuse, and I called right away. On the phone, he was joking, he seemed really happy. I remember when we were students, he never talked about falling in love, and wanted to dedicate his youth entirely to study. Later, I heard that his blind date had failed. I wondered: “他怎么就不去轰轰烈烈的谈场恋爱呢?”

Recently, he started asking me to call him again, and at first, I didn’t think too much about it. That is, untill he started repeating: “Why aren’t you calling me?” He was not happy about it: “If you don’t call me, I won’t call you either.” I lost patience, so I wrote back to him on QQ, “OK, good bye”. My intention was that he would call me, that I would expose the contradiction, but he directly wrote back: “Well, OK, goodbye, then!”

That’s what I wanted to write.

Now I’d like to ask a question: these are the three types of people I’ve met, what do you think? Have you had (or are you having) the same kind of experience, and if so, please leave your opinion.

original address:http://www.zhaoqiang.org/sanleiren.html

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Source : My1510, 11 November 2012

About julien.leyre

French-Australian writer, educator, sinophile. Any question? Contact julien@marcopoloproject.org