Saturday, May 25, 2013

A contrast in lifestyles

About two weeks ago, an old friend who lives in the British countryside emails me to say that he is going to be in London the following week.

"I've been invited to the Google big tent event on Wednesday, so it would be good to catch up with you and boyfriend T next Tuesday, if possible?"

After a couple of further emails, everything is agreed. We'll put him up for a night in our spare room, and then we'll all be able to catch up over a nice dinner :-).

The evening arrives, and while we're eating dinner together, we talk about a wide range of topics. But every now and then, he keeps coming back to talk about the same subject.

"Do you use twitter at all, GB?" he asks.

"I've got an account," I reply, "but I don't use it much."

Of course, the fact is that I've got two accounts, namely my GB account and another account that's associated with the rest of my life. So far, I haven't spent much time tweeting on my GB account, and my other account has been used even less!

"Could you follow me please?" he asks.

"Of course, no problem," I answer.

"You seem quite agitated about twitter," I continue, "does twitter matter that much?"

"In my industry, people of my seniority are now often judged by how many followers they have," replies my friend, "and because I've only just got an account, I've hardly got any followers at all. I know someone who does a similar job to me who's got over 100,000 followers, but I've got less than 100 :-(."

"I heard that it's possible to buy followers," I say mischievously, "but could you live with yourself if you knew that most of your followers aren't real?"

"Quite easily," replies my friend, "but I'm just not sure how to go about it!"

The next day, I use my non-GB twitter account to follow my friend, and over the course of the day I see him tweeting frantically while he's at Google big tent. A day or two later, he sends me a txt msg:
Got 3 more followers in the last 24 hours. Lot of work for 3 bloody followers
Well indeed! But I was on my way so have dinner with My Thai friend B who I hadn't seen for ages, so I try and offer my British friend some support
Just off to see a Thai friend. If does twitter, I'll ask him to follow you!
B had spent the last six months Thailand to avoid the British winter, so I hadn't seen him for ages. Earlier that day, I had run into him by chance, and we agreed to catch up with each other over dinner in a decent restaurant.

Thai beach picture"Wish I'd stayed in Thailand", jokes B while we're looking at the menu, "do you think it's ever going to stop raining here and warm up?"

"Of course not," I reply laughing, "you should know about the British weather after all the time you've spent here. We had a few nice days in early May, so if you've weren't here then, you've probably missed the summer!"

We continue chatting, and B seems very relaxed and happy.

"How is your business back in Thailand doing these days," I ask.

"Everything is fine," he replies, "I'm employing 6 people now, including the manager who you met the last time you visited. They take care of most of it."

B had set up his own business in Thailand a few years previously, simply following his heart and his interest in Thai culture. And now, the business mostly seems to run itself, providing him with a reasonable income.

"Actually someone offered to buy it recently," B tells me, "and it was a decent offer. I might sell it, but I've asked for 50% more money, just to see what happens :-)".

"Incidentally," I ask, changing the subject, "do you use twitter at all?"

"No," replies B casually, "I don't need twitter :-)"

"Don't worry, it's just that a British friend of mine is desperate for more followers."

Suddenly, the contrast between B and my British friend seems quite stark. On the one hand B is very relaxed and happy, simply following his heart, and very much Living in the Now as all good Buddhists do. But my British friend, who's a few years older, doesn't seem relaxed or happy at all and instead finds himself fretting about not having enough followers on Twitter.

Later I send a txt msg to my British friend to tell him that unfortunately, my Thai friend B doesn't use Twitter. Within a few minutes I get his reply
Bloody hell, what do I have to do, offer blow jobs?
When I read this, I find myself laughing loudly. It occurs to me that the type of submissive gay guys who are likely to do what they're told and follow someone on twitter are more likely to want to give blow jobs than receive them!


Kouya said...

I find this very funny because I'm working with a lot of foreigners at the moment (mostly British) and the whole work dynamics and ethics has so many contrasts. The foreigners tend to leave very late and invest so much of them selves in their work, while the locals tend to focus a lot more on their personal lives, then again, most of the foreigners have to face the language barrier so maybe work is a shelter for them.
Usually, I try not to judge people on their nationality but I find it very interesting to see how everyone faces their obligations and even their extra-curriculars. Being British, and in such a high pressure line of work, do you reckon it's a nationality issue? That no matter where we work, the way we do it is imprinted within us?

GB said...

I'd say it's a cultural issue, rather than a nationality issue. I think that the attitude of my Thai friend B relates more to his Buddhist philosophy, rather than the fact that he's from Thailand.

I also think that the way we work is influenced a lot by our first job(s). So whatever the work culture is when we start our working lives, we tend to carry that with us, and we'll carry that to any jobs we have in other countries as well.

GB xxx

close encounters said...

GB - i'm hoping that you meant you use twitter to follow your friends plural ;)

Maybe you can suggest to the over anxious tweeter that perhaps too much twittering can be a bad thing! Has he got a decent bio & pic to welcome new followers?

GB said...

Well indeed, close encounters, but on this occasion I only had one new person to follow :-). Do you use twitter much?

In fact this friend does have a decent bio etc. I guess it's just hard to conjure up followers from nowhere when most of your friends are already signed up.

GB xxx

Shawn said...

I know you have a big heart. However, I have to say this is much more entertaining than your usual "Dear Mr GB". Your own life is definitely more fun-filled! Love from HK!

Mind Of Mine said...

Although, I have admiration for your friend who has set up life, home and work in Thailand. There is something about B's 'Struggle'which resonated with me.

I don't think he is unhappy,merely competitive and throwing himself into the challenge his sub concious work self has thrown at him.

Nothing wrong with either scenarios. Just difference.

GB said...

Thanks for your support, Shawn :-).

And I think you're probably right, Mind Of Mine, about my old friend who lives in the British countryside. He's just enjoying the rough and tumble of participating in modern life :-). But I guess I didn't write very clearly, because B is the initial that I gave to my Thai friend who set up his own business!

Anyway, I guess that I should try and blog a bit more about my own life :-).

GB xxx