Utopia (16): Gotta earn it

– “Strange,” Susan says, “I teach these things, actually, but I can’t remember talking about it above the glass of beer. 🙂 I can’t remember talking about it at the first meeting either.”
– “If it’s boring topic for you we might try something else!” I say.
– “No, no, no problem with that, really… I’m not sure if it’s good idea to get to know you better when you don’t remember anyway,” Susan is teasing me. “So the voting system. It’s very easy actually – whoever gave to the state more than he took from it during the last electoral term can vote. The term lasts for four years and you can add your tax payments from the previous term if you had not voted.”
– “But you work, so you must pay more to the state…”
– “Yes, but…”
– “Ah, you’ve mentioned it! Public school!”
– “Exactly. Public and state administration employees only take, so to say it.”
– “Eating our taxes,” Caren grins.
Susan points to her with the “you’re right” gesture without taking it as an offense.
– “One thing I don’t know,” I wonder, “is how you got to this system, because I can’t imagine the way you took rights from people.”

– “Ok,” Susan grins, “I really am the right person to explain as I teach the same in schools. Small kids though. Anyway… UK had one significant advantage. We had no vote rights for women, not every man was allowed to vote either. That plus the end of the war and general expectation of big changes prepared a great breeding-ground for new ideas – even for big political changes. Lloyd George influenced by open society advocates from States announced series of changes – voting rights reform was amongst them.
At that time – in 1918 – members of the House of Commons were elected for particular electoral districts called constituencies. There were some constituency border adjustments and the number of members was changed to 707 – so they all still fit into one chamber.”
– “That’s very important,” Caren smiles.
– “It was actually!” Susan argues, “with no hi-tech means of communication. Now both chambers consist of elected members and it’s one big body, not two houses. But that time the House of Lords still existed and it would have been too bold to dissolve it.”
– “I understand,” I nod. “And what about those voting rights?”
– “Right,” Susan continues. “To emphasize the idea that the state is here for the people and not the other way around, voting rights were reformed so that administration were not allowed to vote because they are possibly affected by the election results and/or they have their own private interests aside from their opinion on how the country should be managed. Women were granted the right to vote and the age for vote right was lowered to 18 as well.”

– “So anybody working in public administration can’t vote?” I asked.
– “No – it’s actually derived from how much you gave to the state. If you payed more taxes than you received from the state you have… let’s say earned your voting right. This right is reviewed for every election.”
– “And what about companies owned by the state… that is if you have some.”
– “Funny,” Caren entered before Susan’s response. “Normally you are nicely integrated into our society, but when we’re discussing it you always say about me and you. :-)”
– “Alright… sorry for that, but in cases like these it’s still something new for me and in that case it’s apprehensible.”
– “I guess so.”
– “So, a state-owned enterprise,” Susan goes on, “is a company like any other – it just happened to be owned by the state. You might argue that in that case you can’t give anything to state when the state pays you… transitionally. However – in contrast with administration – company have a production, it participates on GDP and actually generates wealth. You can’t say the same about administration.”

– “Mhm, right, I can’t. But you’re not in the administration either.”
– “Sure, schools are not exactly administration but they don’t add to GDP either. We depend on state management, on how the state redistribute its money, and we can’t vote. There are private schools, there are even state-owned school – but commercial – their employees can vote. I work for public school that is the part of all services provided to us by the state. I can go to commercial school, but I don’t care that much about my vote, although I am interested in politics.”
– “Strange,” I was surprised. “How can you be if you can’t vote?”
– “Why can’t I be? I attended some canvassing, I talked with people, I even personally know my delegate – although I would vote for someone else. ;-)”
– “Me too!” Caren professed.
– “Me too would vote for someone else?” Susan smiles.
– “No! I know Jerry Cooper!”
– “Ok then, I officially applaud,” Susan nicely nodded towards Caren.
– “Seems like I’m the only one who doesn’t know him!” I said.
– “No, not really, many people doesn’t know their delegate so well, actually,” Susan disagreed. “But I still hope most of them checks on them from time to time and most of them knows someone who knows. That should do it.”

Utopia (15): Girl without a vote

– “Now – after all that time – I don’t want to rush things, but if you have a time I’ll be glad if we can sit for some drink or whatever,” it’s out of my mouth suddenly and I’m happy.
– “Well,” Susan is thinking just a second, “actually I have a time. Will we make it in three?”
– “I have no problem to clear the area,” Carin says.
– “Well, Susan, if you don’t mind, I’d be happy to go outside in current… configuration,” I say.
– “No,” Susan smiles, “I have no problem with current… configuration. We’re talking about talk anyway.”
– “Sure!” I agree.
– “At least now,” Susan clarifies, “I’m generally open to suggestions when I know one better.”
This is much better start than I have even hoped for.

We all ordered a beer and sat outside enjoying one of the first warm April days. While waiting for the drink I decided to start:
– “So, I don’t know how well you managed to know each other during those minutes without me, but I know nothing about you except your name now.”
Susan smiles:
– “Sure, I can say just the same. With the sole difference that Caren managed to reveal me that you like me.”
– “Ok… so I work as a programmer, I’m twenty-eight, I live not that far from here – obviously – in a flat, I – again obviously – like to work with computers, I actually work with them since my early teens, here Caren is my colleague and a very good friend too. And yes, I like you, what can I say?”
– “Well… hard to say how useful information it is, but you’ve tried and that counts. ;-)”
– “Yep, hardly can be structured when I’m firing without any real preparation.”
– “Do you have to be always prepared?” Susan smiles… she’s smiling all that time, “no, forget it, I’m just kidding.”
– “That’s my flaw, I always prepare, yet I’m never prepared enough.”
– “Unlucky.”
I can just shrug. Beer arrives and Susan continues:
– “Ok, I’m Susan Baker, twenty-five, I’ve been living my whole live here in Rotherham, last 5 years on my own… obviously not far from here. 🙂 I’ve been working as a civics teacher on a public school since university, so no voting right, obviously, and… what?”
Susan must have noticed how my face reflected the shock caused by “no voting right”. I even turned to Caren for a explanation.
– “What?” Susan is confused. “Have I said something inappropriate?”
– “No, no,” Caren replied. “Probably… no voting right?” she asked me and looked back to Susan, “it’s hard to explain but Gavin is not from here… sort of.”
– “Sort of?” Susan smiles again. “I noticed his accent. Soft of Slavic.”
She really liked to repeat words used by someone else just the moment before.
– “Well…” said I, “respect, it’s really Slavic… Slovak actually.”
– “Oh, you’re from Czechoslovakia?”
– “Originally,” I agreed.
Caren entered the discussion:
– “That vote thing… Gavin, you may probably want to tell Susan about your memory?”
– “Eh… which story?” I asked.
Susan seems to be surprised.
– “The full one probably,” Caren answered.
– “Ok,” I looked at Susan, “the thing with me is…” now it stroke me, “for how long have you been seeing me in the bus?”
– “Maybe three months,” Susan answered.
– “He had not been traveling by bus for some time before,” Caren informed me about previous Gavin.
– “Right,” I nodded, “ok, Susan, I live here a few years already, but the problem with me is that since like three months ago I don’t remember anything about my previous live here. That may explain my surprise about voting rights probably.”
– “It may, although you speak very good and I guess you did not need to learn it again after the memory loss.”
– “No, no…”
– “In that case voting system should be in your memory as well, because people mostly forget some personal things. However, I’m not doubting about your words at all because amnesia can be unfathomable.”
– “If it were amnesia.”

– “Wasn’t it?” Susan seems to be very curious.
– “Maybe, but it’s hard to explain that I remember my whole completely different life in another world, like a parallel universe, or so… You know, I can’t tell if it happened or not, because it’s simply unbelievable, but I know that it was my previous life, I remember it very well, it’s very complete, as vivid as live before three months can be, it would be difficult to obtain it other way except really living it. Yet I suddenly woke up in a completely different bad, flat, everything, just my body is exactly as I remember it, but my name and the whole world around wasn’t. Still isn’t, although I’m now very happy here.”
After a few seconds Caren added – seriously, yet with a smile:
– “It really is no prepared show and I remember both of them and I can swear this one is different.”
Susan shakes her head:
– “Well, that’s really hard to believe but we still can fall back to that amnesia theory, can’t we? I don’t care that much really – I mean when it comes to doubts, I still can get to know you better and decide later. However – the question is what can we do about your blind spot about voting rights.”
I’m not sure if Susan just wants to stick to something solid or if she really is that cool (she is as I am about to find out) but the great thing is that we may discuss something else aside from my “amnesia”.
– “Or may I say discontinuity in your memory?”
I have to smile:
– “Whatever… 🙂 Ok, so what is the voting system here?”

Utopia (14): With a little help from my friend

I wasn’t with Caren in private too often. She has her own partner after all. Still… I see her here and there and it’s always fun. Not only fun, but let’s stay with this word. Knowing that it sounds nearly paradox that she was the one introducing me to the woman I’ve fallen to love with. You generally don’t expect that from a woman you … ok, let’s not be rude 😉 – from a woman you sleep with.

We were programming together in pair again that day. I started to be a little unfocused at the end of working hours and Caren tried to finish her idea – and after she scored and was satisfied she asked: “Coffee or…?” and she denoted the end of the working day moving her hand. “Ok,” I replied, “rather that…” and I repeated the move of her hand. As we had a plan to go to my apartment we both used mass transport today. Actually it was the first time we did it this way because wherever we went before we went there by a car. This time Caren wanted to “experience it again after years… with you” as she said.

– “So you say that you like to watch people?” Caren is smiling at me while we’re both standing in the joint section of the bendy bus.
– “Exactly,” I’m saying. Strange thing is that while I feel here “at home” during every way home or to work I’m feeling very strange now with her. However I like her it’s sort of intrusive now. It’s not her fault at all – it’s really strange that suddenly I don’t feel so confident when I’m with someone so close to me in an environment that’s well-known to me as well. Maybe it’s because…
– “So tell me, is she here now?” Caren is asking about a girl I’ve mentioned before. During one of our countless coffee breaks she asked me how I enjoyed (or maybe why I still enjoyed) their mass transport. I said that I like to watch people and – by accident – I also mentioned one girl I liked most.
– “Yes, she is,” I can’t resist to smile. I noticed her immediately after I’ve got on and – well, let’s admit that that girl noticed my occasionally staring sights after all those days – she have smiled at me in return.
– “And?” Caren is waiting I’ll tell her.
– “And?” I’m playing dumb.
– “C’mon… I’m dying of curiosity!”
– “Caren…, just because I don’t want to let you die. 🙂 She’s the… that blond one on your four o’clock in the black coat and the red thing… on the… neck, you know.”
Even during my last sentence Caren looked at her more directly than I’d like to – they even smiled at each other. I was prepared to decamp in that very moment.
– “Scarf,” Caren is saying when she looks at me.
– “What?”
– “Scarf… that … red thing… on the… neck, you know.” She somehow imitated the tail of my sentence. Normally I’d be angry (a little ;-)) to her to “teach” me English in this way but this time I don’t care. And I’m pretty much sure she’s realizing that I have other things in my head than to snub her for this.

– “Scarf – whatever.”
– “Ok,” Caren is looking at me very carefully, “for how long you’ve been taking this bus?”
– “Like two months?”
– “And how many times have you seen her already?”
– “Maaan… I don’t know! Twenty?”
– “And you just smile at her and she just smiles at you…”
– “Yes.”
– “Ok, Gavin, can you tell me if you want that girl? Just before I start to kiss you here, you know… because not everyone is that liberal, you know.” Caren was pro when it came to provocations. Well, I like it after all. 😉
– “Caren, … yes, I like her, but I don’t know her, understand that.”
– “And what you’ve done to change it?”
– “You’re torturing me!” I was smiling but I felt really cornered. It was easy to take this bus every day and smile at that girl. It was much harder – for me – to address her. I know that this wasn’t the problem of “our” culture vs. theirs. It was my problem. I wasn’t that type. I was extrovert, I was open, but I had always troubles to cross the first border.
Caren is looking at me with those sparks in her eyes for a while and then: “Wait here… or, you know, join us whenever you want.” And she turned away before I was able to tell her anything and stepped to that girl.

Girl… well, she was around 25 I guess – I became pretty bad in guessing age of women after I passed 20, really. 🙂 She had nice long blond (sort of ;-)) curling hair, probably blue eyes (I wasn’t sure, but I thought so and yes, she has blue eyes as it would turn out later) and – well, kill me, but I’m far from good in descriptions. I don’t like that b*s* about “character reflecting in lines on one’s face” and similar thing. She wasn’t exactly Miss World – but I never cared. I liked her, liked that countenance, her smile, her walk, her everything. Probably her smile in the first place – because she liked to look at me and I liked it as well. It wasn’t like we stared at each other all time long – but we looked at each other and smiled like we greeted ourselves when we met. I really can’t describe it better – neither I can’t explain why I’ve never got to talk to that girl. Maybe because until I talk to her I know there is still chance. I know it’s… pathetic not to talk to someone just to have the idea of a chance – sometimes I’m among those slower guys (although it’s hard to explain later ;-)).

Caren successfully started conversation with her and they both looked at me from time to time – and this took like an … hard to judge, maybe minute? You can’t imagine how long a minute can be in a situation like this. But maybe even more. I waited for something at the start, but later I realized there is no immediate intention to bring me in – unless I do it. And because bus line wasn’t infinite and I suddenly saw I have like 5 minutes I decided to do something. I resigned and walked towards them.

– “Hi,” I said.
– “Gavin!” Caren smiled at me. “This is Susan.”
– “Hi,” I smiled at Susan. “I’m Gavin, obviously.”
– “Hi, Gavin,” she shook my hand.
– “I’m not sure if I’m not interrupting you while you analyze… ‘hesitating men’ behavior patterns.”
– “Oh no,” Caren was in a very good mood. “Interruptions are allowed – plus don’t think you’re the center of our interest.”
– “Fair enough,” I replied, “I’m that egocentric self-confident beast.”
– “Yeah,” Susan chuckled. “I definitely noticed that.” 🙂
– “Just for the record,” Caren said. “I’m not here to arrange your dates, you know. So we were talking about ourselves. After all I need to know her before I start that arrangment stuff, you know.” 😉 Last sentence was said to me but Caren took care that it was heard by Susan as well.

Sometimes it’s easier to fall into something headlong. And mostly it’s better to fall into something with a little help. And Caren was more than a little help in this case.

Utopia (13): Organized by respect

I hope this is not first and last of my Utopia posts after such a long time. I have ideas, I have story, only lack of the will is problem now. Or a lot of other things in my real life for that matter.

Next day I was first time at my work. Many things were similar and – as expected – even more were different. While we are talking about Arto object platform (it is a bit more than language – although not that far from our Java) I am more or less feeling at home. I have to learn a lot of new things – but principles are the same. Usage, habits, all the rest – on the other hand – is much different. People around me were informed about my little indisposition. Most of the day I spent with Caren – this time really hard working. I was surprised how organized she was during the work. She was connected to some communication service and she also played some simplistic strategic game here and there – but most of the time she was focused on work. Not that we have no breaks – but work discipline was much better – and it was surprisingly all much more entertaining in overall.

Although I have a car I’ve started to travel by mass transport because I simply love to watch all the new people and fresh behavior patterns. In my previous life – in our world – there was a lot of mess when I compare it to this one. I’m still surprised how people acts when they are getting on the bus, how they are watchful when they interact, how organized their movement seems to be. Yes – you can see something similar in regimes that don’t provide a lot of freedom. Yet people here looks generally happy and free – and still willing to adapt to each other on every step. I had to ask Caren about that in one of those first days:
– “Don’t you feel sometimes like living in some… flock?”
– “No – why?”
– “Because of how organized are you when you’re in streets! Because you’re really walking on the right when you’re in the mall. Because you all act the same.”
– “Well… is that what you think? We’re all that same?”
– “No, that’s the problem. You know – when I saw you – as a people – in the streets, in public transport, going shopping – whatever! – it reminded me of sci-fi movies depicting some totalitarian system. But you’re not that way – that confuses me. A lot of order with a lot of individualism and diversity. How you can keep that organized part in proper… proportion?”
– “Should we demonstrate our individualism thrusting into each other out there?” Caren waved with her hand towards outside behind the window.
– “Of course not! But it’s not normal to be that… disciplined!”
– “It IS normal 🙂 – even if it’s not common in your world. Look – I’ve been to countries where the system is not like here and I was quite shocked – have to say the least. I’m glad that we’re educated to this from childhood.”
– “Educated?”
– “Yes! 🙂 We’re taught to take care, to be observing, to… not collide with other people. In a bad way I mean.”
– “Educated…” that hardly could come to my mind. “Well… if I refresh my memories they taught us few things too. To look around when crossing street. To free the seat for older. But it somehow doesn’t work in general.”
– “Maybe we’re taught much more – plus we have much stronger influence from our surrounding.”
– “Influence?”

Caren smiled at me and pushed herself off the computer desk.
– “Coffee?”
– “Sure!” I always agree with coffee.
So we’re both walking to the kitchen and Caren is saying:
– “Your questions are quite tough in one aspect.”
– “Like… you never thought about them explicitly?”
– “Yup. Not exactly never… really. We talked about many things at school. However not every single thing was explained with whys. We had whys explained for most important or most typical. The rest was just… it just fit into scheme, you know.”
– “Of course… explaining the same principle over and over – or even slightly different variant of that principle… it would be boring.”
– “Like that. So – no one told me why we are so organized on streets that it looks to you like some totalitarian system. I can only try to construct answer based on principles I know. And I guess we were quite good equipped with knowledge in order to do that.”
– “Go for it. :-)”
– “First thing is that we are very individual – every one of us. But if you want to be individual enough you have to have space – your domain, you know. And as much as we like to interact with each other we also respect each other’s domains. And that affects our behavior on streets as well. It’s not because we’re stupid sheep – it’s because we’re watchful and respectful.”
– “Fair enough. And surprisingly consistent.”
In the meantime we’re already in the kitchen and Caren is making ourselves some coffee. I’m looking outside the window and I see that “organized movement” in a slightly different light now.

– “Do you know what’s the title of the first book by Ronan Reeves?” Caren is asking.
– “No.”
– “Respect as a drive of Open Society.”
– “Aha…”
– “It’s quite significant – and emblematic as well – that he used word respect in the title of his very first work. And it’s probably not just by coincidence. You might be mistaken that we’re all good at each other here. I’m angry sometimes, people are lazy, we have our bad days, there is a lot of misunderstanding between us. But we tend to back off for a little while before we say something bad or ultimate. There is reason for many things and I always ask first. Or I try to ask first at least. 😉 I don’t like everyone – far from it actually. But I have to respect them. Or ignore them for that matter. But I have to respect their way of life. If they affect my productivity at work I can go to have a talk with my boss and he’s here to handle such matter. If I have nothing with someone I can simply ignore his behavior. If there is reason to interact I do so. People are reasonable mostly – and I can talk with them and share my thoughts with them. When it’s no use I let it be.”
I poured some milk into my coffee and we both sat down.
– “So… respect,” I hummed.
– “Respect is important and it’s very good that he picked this as the drive. It’s not the only important thing. Open society requires open communication. If someone can affect many things we should know much more about him or her. And we have to have devices how to change the course of things if it’s important. Good education. Not high grade one – good one. I mean – we’re taught about OS basics on elementary schools. It’s the cornerstone of this society. Respect, open communication, even some political background. Why taxes are important, what are the roles of state in the society – many things are open for discussion still. Especially how much responsibility should state have. It also changed quite a lot during those 90 years since World War. Reeves also wrote many books that were much more about politics – although he started with books that looked more like game theories. He was also involved into politics a lot – he was Wilson’s adviser for instance.”
– “Aha… now I’m thinking – when I want to see some of his book where can I find them? Do you generally use net for this?”
– “If you like reading electronic book – no problem. If you prefer paper I still have few of his books in my bookshelf.”
– “Ok. In that case I might pay you a visit and borrow them. ;-)”
Caren smiled at me:
– “Deal!”

Utopia (12): Hmm… Caren :-)

Caren’s dwelling was furnished rather simply but still it wasn’t cold. I’m sitting down on the sofa and looking around. Appliances around are very similar to those I have in my flat – so in most cases their function is not exactly obvious for me (because I haven’t tried most of them except computer).
– “This is all yours?” I’m asking. “I mean flat, and so.”
– “Yes, mine.”
– “Aren’t you a bit young to be able to afford all those things – and flat in the first place?”
– “Well, most of things you see are mine and dwelling itself is mortgaged. I repay it in next 18 years.”
– “Mhm, so it’s kinda similar to my previous situation. Flats in our area were rather expansive so we took mortgage with my girlfriend but we were able to afford it with earnings in IT sector.”
– “That your ‘kinda’…” Caren is smiling. “First time you mentioned you have a partner.”
– “Well… on the other side.”
– “How is she?” Caren is checking the fridge. She seems to want to ask me what I want but then she obviously decides on her own.
– “Hm, hard to say. We were about to wed in a matter of months. I’m not good in descriptions. 🙂 What I like is that she has many male qualities and still she’s a woman. She is sensible but also sensitive, she use to be calm, intelligent, smart, good party for me. 🙂 Plus I like to have few things on my own and she’s … let’s say submissive in those areas. And I’m not talking about sex now. I mean real life… she somehow likes it that way. That I’m the one who has the final word in those things where I insist. She has her last word in other areas. Hm… it’s funny, when I’m talking about it it seems that the best thing on our relation is that we do not collide in bad way. I like it.”
Caren is bringing drinks and she’s sitting down next to me.
– “What are those things you like them to be according to you?”
– “Hm… you see – I’m trying to tell you as much as I can so I’m talking on meta-level sometimes. I was expressing how I feel it. Also… funny is that we’re not shouting on each other in normal situations, but I can cry to her when we’re playing computer games. No problem with that. I simply like her – the way she accepts me.”
– “Ok, I see that I have to find out on my own what must be done as you like it,” Caren smiles. “Do you accept her the way she does?”
– “I think so. For me acceptation, respect and similar things are quite high on my scale. They are in some aspects more universal than friendship – because you can’t be friend with everyone – I guess.”
– “Yeah… you can’t.”

For a few seconds we’re just sipping our drinks. Then Caren asks:
– “Are you faithful? You know I mean intimate life.”
– “Hm… we have let’s say open relation. I guess we both feel it is not less firm because of that. It’s complicated in some points but I don’t regret those problems.”
– “After all it has some advantages. :-)”
– “Why you were asking?”
– “Hm… I guess that faithful partner wouldn’t be so interested in me like you are. Or you’re just extremely pragmatic and you realize that in this world you have no duties to her. Although it’s just my construction and you could still feel it different.”
– “I could. But no – I had the privilege of being allowed to flirt – and more than that – with women. While I can convince her that she’s the most important.”
– “Now I’m miles away from judging you. 🙂 As you can see me with Felix have open relationship too. And it’s working. I just know that in … more traditional societies – although for me it’s bit euphemistic designation – couples have troubles leading life in more open manner. Most of them.”
– “Most of them don’t even want to – of course,” I have to point out the real cause.
– “Yes, of course. Why you decided to live like this?”
– “Well… we both have some experiences with divorce – either our parents or – in my case – with previous wife. That doesn’t mean that human shifts toward more liberal view of partnership – but I was always thinking like that. More or less. I lived with unsatisfying sex without being allowed to have it elsewhere. I didn’t like that. Monopoly isn’t good even in this area of life. 🙂 Not that I wanna say that feelings should be compared to market economy – of course.”
– “Of course,” Caren semi-agreed with some irony in voice. “Love is not … institution 🙂 where you should change just because of better sex. Especially when making love with fresh partner is a bit misleading and you can easily misjudge your previous experiences.”
– “Exactly!” I pointed to her. “It looks like you have some theory around this!”
– “Well, I do because we’re taught in school in those subjects. I’m a bit surprised that you have your theory so thought out – when you say you came from society where monogamy is standard.”
– “Sometimes I’m thinking too much.”
– “Well – I bet!” Caren agrees with chuckle.

I’m looking at Caren and with all that alcohol in blood I want her more and more. Not that I wouldn’t want her being sober – but you just know how it works. I have to chuckle thinking about it all. Caren, drinking, tickling in my stomach…
– “What?” Caren asks tossing her hair… I’d swear it was in defiance.
I shook my head. “You know…”
– “I don’t.” 🙂
– “Alcohol.”
– “And?”
I shook my head again.
– “I just don’t know. After few drinks I don’t know if the things I see are real or only what I want to believe.”
– “Aha.” 🙂
– “And thinking how it would be without that. When I was younger I felt it like ‘using’ alcohol was actually cheating. Now I just don’t care.”
– “While both of us don’t care it’s alright.”
– “The other thing is that I can’t imagine you backing off. Because so far you either just let me in in area I wanted or … or I was fighting with myself if I want to do something.”
– “And are you winning?”
– “I’m sure you’re enjoying watching it.”
– “As you are – more or less – enjoying talking it.”
– “Aren’t you really tired of myself?”
– “I don’t know what to say. No – really – I’m not. But saying that is just what you need to hear for you to be assured. Whatever it is you need.”
I’m looking to her eyes. For a while she looks a bit more serious – but that might be just my imagination because I realize that her face is still smiling. Just the impression from how she looked for a while.
– “Look, Gavin. Can you accept when I say stop?”
– “Yes…”
– “So tell me what’s bothering you? Because – although I have no problem to assure you million times – I just don’t know why you need it.”
– “Now… I don’t wanna skip the answer – but do they teach you this in schools too?”
– “M’not sure what you mean, but no… you’re just out of typical patterns so you’re suspect. :-)”
– “Aha,” I smirked. “So what’s bothering me? Maybe my stupid past. Maybe I broke up with girl when I was 14 and she declared she didn’t want to know me again. And again the same story later. First time because I wasn’t able to kiss her for months and second time I have no clue. I just hate uncertainty.”

– “Hey, Gavin… we work together and I want to have fair relation with you. I like you, you’re even more attractive now with all the new stuff. It’s even semi-funny to assure you that you’re dealing well. I enjoy any flirt with you but now if you want something you’re the one who have to press.”
– “Right…”
– “And,” Caren continues before I could say something, “of course if you do nothing tonight I have no problem with it. And yes – I will keep wanting to know you on.”
I noddled with understanding.
– “Satisfied?” Caren asks.
– “Yes,” we clinked the glasses to seal that. “I know I’m talking unnecessary things, you know that I want you, I was just afraid to make things worse – because even without touching you – or whatever more – I’m enjoying this moment.”
– “You’ve already touched me! :-)”
– “Yeah,” I smiled coming with the idea. “But it was just the dance!” 🙂
– “Just the dance?! I’ll kill you!” Caren was obviously in a previous good mood again.
– “Ah, I thought it involves some fight and some contact – but while you don’t want to touch me it’s hard to kill me.”
– “Hey! Don’t provoke me – you’re supposed to be touching me – you’re the active man and I should be your victim. I expect you to have the last word and you expect me to be submissive – or wasn’t it like that?”
– “Well, you mixed it up a little but it sounds good.” I put my glass on the table and I shifted myself toward her.
– “I really don’t want to look so uncertain and so vulnerable – I just can’t help myself,” I noticed lightly. I put my hand on her shoulder and caress her nape looking into her eyes. She was obviously far from backing off and that is exactly the point where my doubts go away very quickly. I moved my hand down across her bosom – somehow testing her intimate zones – but she was already alright with the situation and I spotted nice sparks in her eyes.
– “I like you – even if it’s rushed,” I say to her.
– “I like it even if it’s rushed,” she replies.
I took her behind her nape again and pulled her closer gently. Our first kiss was a bit cautious – but definitely not cold. I was completely electrified.

– “You know what’s funny?” I’m asking after a while.
– “You tell me. :-)”
– “I really do want to talk about some interesting things before it turns out like this. I’m not saying I don’t want to kiss you – of course! Just that…” I stopped in a need of a proper word.
– “Gav,” Caren smiles at me, “I guess I know. And after all – the mystery is gone – I want you. Whoever you are. I know your outside and I like your inside so far. And we still have hours to chat.”
– “Now?”
– “Even now if you want, but I suggest to go to bed.”
– “Ah… sounds good to me.”
– “To sleep I mean,” Caren chuckles. “We have a busy day tomorrow.”
I nodded. “I bet. Ok… so that bed.” 🙂

Utopia (11): Way to Caren

The evening passed by very quickly – surprisingly quickly considering my anxiety. But when I asked Caren to tell me something about Arto programming language we dug into topic we both liked. We also danced a lot. Suddenly there were only me, Caren, Paul, Martin and one little woman from Martin’s team working as graphics artist named Zina Becker (well – what a combination). I danced much more than during any other fun evening in last few years and I was pretty satisfied – and tired already. 🙂 I was just hanging on because I didn’t want to be the first one out. However… Martin stopped and said:
– “Ok, I’ve enough…”
And because we all shared the same feeling we all stopped with similar message and returned to our table.

– “So… one last beer?” asked Paul.
– “I’m pro,” said I. Now I realized that Paul drove us here. “BTW: How are you driving home?”
– “Ah… no problem with that. I’m taking cab now and tomorrow I’ll come along with Denis. I’ll pick up the car during the lunch I guess.”
– “Aha…”
– “Actually I planned to take you home.”
– “I’ll handle that,” Caren entered the discussion.
– “A…” Paul’s head went up during the moment of surprise. “Ok! :-)”
– “I hope you didn’t want to leave him alone now,” Caren smiled.
– “Yeah, that’s right.”
Zina was obviously uninformed:
– “Why can’t be Gavin alone?”
– “Well…” Paul shrugged, “Gav?”
– “Well… 🙂 I completely forgot everything from my past prior this morning. To put it this way…”
– “Uff!” Zina didn’t look exactly believing.
There was a silence for a few seconds and then Caren said to me casually:
– “I was wondering if you know what you’ll be doing tomorrow?”
– “Eh,” I chuckled and after some tense second I answered. “No! :-)”
– “You want to say that you don’t remember anything? No work, nothing?” asked Zina.
– “Exactly,” I replied. “However – I have some Arto crash course accomplished. :-)”
– “Well… it really doesn’t sound funny.”
– “It isn’t,” I admitted. “On the other hand I’m rather enjoying it now. It’s interesting to get know all the people… maybe again.”
– “But… you’re in a real trouble. You have to get know the others, you have to get know even yourself and of course also your work, your previous knowledge.”
– “Yes, I realized that already.”
– “But maybe you’ll remember something,” Zina tried to cheer me up.
– “Maybe…” although I was pretty much convinced that that won’t happen.

Later in the cab… I’m sitting next to Caren on the back seat while Paul, who has similar route like us, is on the front one.
– “So I guess you’ll make it to the work tomorrow,” Paul is saying.
– “Well, I plan to,” I have to smile. “At least I have some guidance.”
– “We might be a bit late, but nothing extreme,” Caren is in a good mood too – obviously.
– “If you are late I’ll be thinking it’s because of the drinking.”
– “Yeah, my head suddenly starts to ache,” Caren holds her head.
– “I’m a bit curious what you two plan tonight.”
– “Paul, I have no particular plans… so far… I really don’t know,” Caren is dimpling.
– “OK,” Paul’s curiosity isn’t satisfied, but there’s nothing he can do about it.
– “Is there anything I should be worried about?” I’m asking.
– “No,” Paul is tittering. “I really don’t think so. :-)”
– “BTW: There are no problems with relations at work?”
– “Well,” Paul sighed, “there can be problem, but generally – there is none. There are pairs in our teams. And it’s also hard to prevent that something emerges between two people anyway. While you’re doing your job I have no problem. There is also no legal framework that would cover such a trivial things. It’s clearly everyone’s personal matter and it’s his responsibility to handle his work appropriately.”
– “Right…”
– “Are there some problems in your world with such a thing?” Caren asked.
– “Well… some companies don’t like to see couples within teams for whatever reason – but generally I guess it’s bearable. And it’s not legally forbidden either. Only in organizations like army and such…”
– “Yes, it’s the same here, but there are reasons for that.”
– “Maybe there is the difference that we take the couples with clemency,” Caren chuckled.

Caren lives in a flat house – just like me. I was completely lost in the city when we get off the cab although I didn’t care. Caren linked her arm with mine and guided me to the entrance.
– “Now I realized,” started I, “wouldn’t it be less risky for you to come to me?”
– “Well,” Caren smiled, “yes and no, I guess. Now I risk that you know where I live – nothing more. You’re easily traceable in this world so I’m not afraid of what you can do to me. And so far I feel very well in your company. On the other hand – if I judge you right – you’re normal person and in that case I have more power and better control in my flat, you know. ;-)”
– “Better control?” I hardly can resist to laugh. “Of what? :-)”
– “It depends. I still don’t know what I want. Yeah, I guess I’m still flirting with you – as you do with me – and I really don’t know what I want.”
– “Ok, fair enough. I’m rather… slower when I’m uncertain. So just keep me that way and you’re in control.”
– “I don’t want to keep you uncertain just because of this. If I know something I’ll tell you, ok?”
– “Ok.”

And so we’re standing in front of her door and she’s opening (yeah, again, fingerprint) and I try to relax and not to spoon anything to myself and just let the things flow.
“Welcome into my kingdom, Gavin. Feel yourself comfortable – like you always did.”

Utopia (10): Innocent proposal

Ok, I’m still not dead – but still working on something completely different. But I’d like to write more during April because I should have some time to do so. Or not? With some wedding on the horizon it might be a bit worse with my free time than I expect. However – here’s another part of Utopia. This time not so philosophic.

I’m letting us just dance for a little while and then I started again:
– “When I was younger I was very … unsure how to treat a woman… or girl. That made me think much more about things and again it complicated my access to them again. To girls I mean. And I’m still thinking too much – I guess it’s TOO much sometimes, really. Although every single hour here I’m less and less concerned about this – like it’s not real issue here.”
– “So far it’s more cute than a problem, really,” simpered Caren.
– “Well. 🙂 My problem had some consequences. I had some friends who can simply pick up a girl and dance… while for me dancing was very serious. Now I don’t mean that dance is serious thing for me – it’s fun in the first place – but when I’m dancing with somebody, I’m thinking about a lot of stuff. Body, warmth, splines… Then those friends told me: ‘It’s just a dance!’ But I never could feel it like that. For me dance like this – body to body – is intimate, at least for that moment. Of course I was more or less forced to dance with girls I didn’t like… you know, some social stuff. But when I danced with someone nice and cool I was always a bit restless.”
– “It sounds like you’re worrying too much with some things.”
– “Definitely thinking too much.”
– “Thinking per se is not the problem, I like your in-depth analysis – although original Gavin was quite similar, so you’re not that shocking for me. For me dance is always something. Because there is that contact. I guess we’re both talking particular about close dance now. There are people I like and I prefer to dance with them, of course. I guess most people feel it just the same. You just sound not really comfortable while dancing.”
– “It’s not exactly ‘uncomfortable’ because I like it – so I might say I feel comfortable. It’s just… restless, unsure, whatever.”
– “Well, I have no problem with this. I like dancing and for me it’s comfortable without any ‘buts’. Although I haven’t tried for someone in quite a long time. Who knows how I felt when I was dancing with you for the first time. 🙂 Maybe a bit shaky. But the result is good – I always like dancing with you. :-)”
– “Ah,” I can’t resist to smile.
– “Yeah,” Caren rolled her eyes chuckling. “Yes, I like you… still. You don’t seem to be damaged so much after all. :-)”
– “Ok,” now I can’t resist to laugh. “Is it even possible to see some differences in the matter of those few hours? You know, would he do something I didn’t or so?”
– “Well… I never explicitly focused on his behavioral patterns although I know him very well. That’s interesting question, really… how much could he change without me noticing it? 🙂 I really don’t know now. You have many questions that would be pointless for him and I have to deal with them now so there is no field to watch your other changes. And you’re still in the same body which is very solid connection to him, you know.”
– “Mhm, I see.”
I squeezed her just a little stronger for a second and she returned it.
– “And now it’s time for that quiet part,” twanged I into her hair.

We’re returning to our table and one man I wasn’t able to recognized noticed with smile: “You two again working together!”
Caren spotted a place next to him and pulled me there while replying to him: “Henry, Henry… I hope you’re not exactly surprised… again! :-)”
– “No, I’m not… we’re just missing your part of fun here,” said Henry and he turned to me, “although today you seem to be much more talkative. Even more than Caren. :-)”
– “Oh, yeah – let’s call it life revision,” I grinned.
– “Gosh, Gav… I hope you haven’t underwrite another life insurance with some dark visions.”
– “Don’t worry, not this time,” I signaled two more beers to waitress passing by and I looked back at Henry. “At least I hope. :-)” I blinked at Caren. I wasn’t sure who knows about me and who still doesn’t. While Henry is sipping his drink I’m asking Caren quietly:
– “Do you think that all our people here know about me?”
– “I doubt it,” she replies on the quiet too.
– “And must everyone know?”
– “There’s no need for you to go through the same set of questions here and right now.”
– “Right…”
– “Simply admit it when it’s too obvious. After all – you’re the Gavin now, there’s hardly anything you should not know if anyone is talking to you. :-)”
– “Mhm, right…”
Henry tactfully let us to get to the conclusion and when he noticed we’re done he asked me:
– “I’ve heard you have some problem when you missed work today – something serious?”
– “No, not exactly – just some strange feeling I really wasn’t used to.”
– “Ah, so you’re with us tomorrow…”
– “You bet I am. Although I’d rather not think about work until tomorrow.”
– “Of course!”
Caren entered our conversation – I guess to save me:
– “You see… Henry, I wanted to ask what’s new with your dwelling?”
– “Well… it’s going slowly and quickly in the same time – I hope you know. Many new things – but we’re still not at the end…”
I let those two chatting about Henry’s new flat and problems related to bathroom tile choice (mainly when Henry is not exactly agreeing with his wife) and I decided to watch the life in the pub a little. They brought us our beers in the meantime. I was still listening Henry with Caren, bringing in a few notes that could not hurt anything, but I was also watching what is going on around the table. It would be boring to describe it, but for me that semi-quiet moment was interesting because I realized that there is so much new stuff I have to learn… and I still can’t know for how long I’m here. After some time Henry moved to another group where Martin and Paul were discussing something with a few another people.

– “Thank you for taking over the chat,” smiled I at her.
– “No problem at all.”
We both sipped from our beers and I started:
– “You know… there’s so much I’d want to ask. At least before. Now I don’t know what’s really interesting for me. I feel comfortable right now. I just feel stupid to be quiet, I also don’t want to move around the table and just to chat with everyone – even if it could be interesting. Funny thing is that after that dance I’m thinking much more about you.” I could not resist to smile.
– “Ok, Gav, point for you,” now she smiles too (she smiles most of the time, but now even more).
– “You know,” started I… again with the same words.
– “I know,” she interrupted me. “Maybe I don’t exactly know what you wanted to say just now – because you always say something fresh tonight. Not really new information. Just that way is … I guess men don’t always like to hear word ‘cute’ – but I hope you can take it from me. Gav would, so you should understand it too.”
– “Mhm, I guess I know what you mean with ‘don’t like to hear cute’, but I can easily take it from few women. And although I really don’t know nothing about you, I feel very well with you. So you can call me cute at your will.”

– “Gav, I was thinking… don’t you want to be with me tonight?”
– “Uff,” I was surprised. “The only thing I can say… yes, I want!” There was really no need to hesitate.
– “I mean to be with me… to talk and so. I don’t say that we will be doing anything together. 🙂 Although now I’m also pretty far from decision not to do anything with you.”
– “Yes, absolutely… I hardly can deny that I’m not thinking about something else, but to talk is just fine!”
– “Ok,” Caren smiled at me. “Now I have to handle something.”
She used her comdev on voice and I could hear only her part of talk:
– “Hi, darling… :-)”
– “Yeah, fine, there’s some fun here… Felix, I hope it will be no problem if I wanna stay with Gavin tonight…?”
– “Aalll right. 🙂 … yeah, don’t worry I will recompense you somehow. :-)”
– “Mhm… thanks you, honey… love you too… bye.”
Caren put away her comdev and smiled at me again:
– “Ok, I can.”
– “Well,” I shook my head. “I have to tell you that I had quite a liberal relation in my previous life and I tried to communicate straight but sometimes I simply wasn’t able to treat it like you’ve showed me just now.”
– “Maybe you should practice more. :-)”
– “Ok, I was limited by the feeling that my love will not like it. I mean not in the neutral way but more like dislike or so. And that lead me few times into really stupid situations where I wasn’t able to choose … so called ‘right time for the message’.”
– “Hm… I’m not sure what you mean, but I have some idea. It’s really a matter of customs and some practice – after you pretty fuck up some situations you’ll learn what to do and when to do it. And always that you actually should do something.”
– “Yeah, I see you know what I mean. :-)”
There was a silence for a while and then I noticed:
– “Well, now – god knows why – I wanna this part of evening to be behind us. :-)”
– “Forget it, Gavin… you’ve danced very little to really deserve the next part,” teased me Caren.
– “All right. Dance… that’s maybe the best way how to bridge over.”