Tremors: 8.1, 2.9 Depths: 2.8, 6.7 kilometers, Location: 7.8 kilometers from Muscat, Oman
The concept of every action having a equal and opposite reaction is one that should largely remain confined to physics. In life, many actions, such as getting fired from a job or ending a relationship, are case specific as far as reactions are concerned. Another example would be the incident that occurred around 1:30 am last Wednesday night (Thursday morning, technically) when I aimed a plastic bottle, in a moment of pure rage, at the forehead of a friend of mine. Expecting a large condemnation from the group we were travelling with for the vacation week, I was shocked to find the reaction to my incident was one of overall indifference. People were perfectly content to forget it ever happened. But I wasn’t.
Planning for this trip has been a pain in the ass. The critical mass theory largely applied, when as soon as I took over with some of the planning decisions, they began to tune out, and simply follow my suggestions. This is a position I often find myself uncomfortable with, as the onus for the mistakes is largely upon myself, while smooth planning is overlooked by the amount of fun people are having. The job usually ends up largely thankless, however necessary it may be. However, once the plane left the tarmac at Queen Alia, and was en route to Seeb-Muscat, all of those stresses evaporated. Or so I thought…
The bottle-to-the-head incident was the definite low point of an otherwise amazing trip. From all of our trips to Souk Mutrah and the waterfront, to the beautiful Wadi Shab hike/swim, to just wandering down the beach collecting shells, Oman was amazing. But the incident was also indicative of everything I have been going through trying to adjust to new people. Everyone assumed that I was overtired, having gotten in at six AM that morning, and that the reason I threw the bottle was because they were being too loud in the room in which I was trying to sleep. However, following what happened, I laid awake for another hour or so before going to bed. The real reason I threw the bottle was a general feeling of exclusion. I felt like a dad who was chaperoning his children on a trip, in the specific sense that I felt I had to watch the others have fun while I sat on the sidelines. Every attempt I made to break back in was either ignored, or acknowledged for a brief second before being set aside.
Of course, this was the impression that I had of the people on the trip directly following what happened. This illusion was shattered quickly when another friend, who had just come to grab something, saw me huddled in a ball on the tile floor, sobbing, and spend a good half hour trying to get me to talk to him about it, and listening and understanding my concerns. That moment made me realize that my efforts were not in vain, but were rather appreciated on a level not constantly shown. They did not owe me anything quantitative for my efforts, and anything I would have thought to that effect would simply be wrong. Everyone gravitates towards what they find the most exciting. Just because that isn’t me at that moment doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate me, that they don’t care.
Throughout the week, I had almost all of the members of this trip say to me something along the lines of “this trip wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you.” While I doubt the full veracity of that statement, I welcomed their thanks. Because it showed they cared, on some level. Of the other ten people who went with me on this trip, I left feeling that nine of them really cared. Nine of them would be there, in some capacity, if I ever needed them. This is not to single that tenth person out: It’s very possible they would be there too. But I relay this story to get to this conclusion: There will always be one person who you will never be able to win over. And one person you will always be able to count on, even if you’re not quite sure who that person is.