There’s this tap…

…in the men’s toilets at the Karratha airport that is an absolute squirter! It regularly soaks the front of just about any fella that stops to wash his hands at that basin and – for as long as most blokes can remember here – it’s been doing that for a while.

You can get a fairly good idea of how long it’s been like that – by the number of men that chuckle WITH you when it happens. If it’s only one or two – it’s not that long. If it’s more than that – it’s relatively safe to assume it’s been a problem for well over a month and it’s likely to stay that way. There’s 3 basin’s there – most of the old hands (pardon the pun) simply go for the good ones. It’s the newbie’s that cops the ‘dicky’ one!

It’s odd like that. No one tells you the stuff you need to know – not the real stuff – the smally stuff that matters! Like – “I wouldn’t put your foot there mate, the floors knackered and… oops – sorry mate!”.

I learned really early in life to watch the old hands. Don’t rush in – just watch for a moment and get a feel for things. This served me well. So much about us interrelating with one another is about observing each other and getting the signals right. I got so good at it – it became second nature and in many ways – I was probably well suited to this skill – people acting differently around those they didn’t trust or liked and growing up where I did – some people didn’t trust little Aboriginal boys – they could get up to all kinds of ‘mischief’!

Preempting people’s behaviour didn’t mean I understood why certain people acted in certain ways, it just meant I side-stepped strife, a lot more often then I ever ended up in it! I now know that I got so good at doing this, most times I could change my behaviour at just the right moment to alter the original reaction and control the situation that might have occurred. I’d become a social chameleon and I didn’t even know it!

It’s something I see in a lot of kids I’ve dealt with – their ability to shift and morph is astounding! I realise now that my ability to spend as long as I did in a uniform – living in other peoples pockets and not having a private life – was probably possible because I could fit in, in just about any place – given enough time to gather my ‘social intel’ and bed-in so to speak!

I was watching that kid’s cartoon “Rango” today before I left for work and I couldn’t help but marvel at how very clever it was. Give ‘Rango’ one of my shirts and well – he might well have  been talking about me! Well – maybe not entirely – but you get my drift… it’s hard to come to terms with the habit of constantly shifting sometimes and you get to wondering some – which one’s the real you?

Over the years – I wonder – do you become mixed up and forget which one is which? Do you end up mixing up your reactions and their triggers and get them all wrong? How long does it last before you just cant be bloody bothered anymore and you feel like your that little boy – so many years ago – just learning about what life’s all about?

For the most part – I don’t think it’s caused me too much harm. I’ve lived with and amongst some amazing peoples in circumstances that most people probably couldn’t tolerate. I laughed and cried amongst them, gotten gobby – giving back a little of what I’ve got and in it all – I’ve learned so many amazing things. Mostly though – I’m learned the absolute power of remaining neutral.

I work closely with people. They – for the most part – need only one thing from you (well two actually): a pair of nonjudgmental ears! Most people simply want to be heard. To do so – you have to be entirely neutral. That’s not to say you can do this every bloody day without the odd vent or three in your life – but that any that you might have, is done so in a safe place, away from any potential damage it might inflict.

It’s a gift to remains ‘professionally’ neutral and it’s an absolute privilege being allowed to have such a role in life. People live such amazing lives and in doing so – some of what they experiences splashes off of them and lands on you. To live in amongst such things – you’ve got to agree to take the good with the bad. You cant’ put a coin in your pocket that only has  one side to it.

And a badly maintained tap at the Karratha airport reminds me in my usual roundabout way, that you can’t live a life and not impact on other’s whilst doing it!

Belongum – Out!


About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
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4 Responses to There’s this tap…

  1. M says:

    absolutely! You are so wise. I feel like my brain just went ‘oh yeaaahhhhh’.
    I love that you’ve “learned the absolute power of remaining neutral” I agree that it’s of absolute importance. It’s something I definitely need to learn how to be. I’m great at being non-judgemental but neutral? hmm.. not being neutral has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years..


    • Belongum says:

      Every now and then M, I have to find a quiet, well hidden place away from others and just go silly! It’s not to say that I don’t stuff up – but that people come to rely on your neutrality. I find these days that I need that more often now – than I once did then – it’s much harder some days than others… must be getting old and grumpy! 🙂


  2. Nice job! Good writing, had me captivated to the end. Good story and despite the fact that I am a woman I get that, the chameleon stuff, totally get it. Interesting life is eh!


    • Belongum says:

      It’s ok Barb – you don’t have to make up for hammering my app – by commenting here! 🙂 Hahaha!

      I know you’d get EXACTLY what I’m talking about on that front! The games we play as a people eh?

      Seeya back in Perth for a cuppa… my shout! 😉


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