It’s hard dealing with people in an idyllic world. If someone is rude in a polite world, it’s unfathomable! If you’ve encountered enough personal or professional experiences where people cheat their way to victory, then you can spot it quickly. “The Story” – an amalgamation of our world, truths, fiction, and imagination – is not idyllic. How readily can Trishna (left) and John (center) handle or even utilize liars, cheaters, and comical villains like Dr. Mindbender (right)?
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (character psychology)
Here’s what I do.
I study how people react in any given situation. Two common examples – “How does someone treat a janitor?” and “What happens if they’re given an extra bill when purchasing something?” – by themselves don’t create psychologically solid foundations for someone. These concepts hold enough ubiquity to where someone can be aware of the concept of treating people like janitor with respect while others can observe, so that they may abuse later. Besides, they might act differently around you if they’re trying to manipulate you. Instead of studying these big events, I look for nuance and changes. Do their actions match with their words?
In that way, “liars” can occasionally be trustworthy.
Can we trust the person that pocketed the extra money, if freely given at check-out? That’s where we have to determine our level of morality. Petty theft like that will hurt the business, the cashier, and yet life goes on. Maybe the janitor was rude? Hypotheticals like this can have so much nuance that it’s hard to keep track of, so instead, let’s focus on this: if the actions of the other are congruent with our own moral code, where we might do the same thing in a given situation, how bad was it? If a person lies to get out of a speeding ticket, instead of freely admitting knowledge of traffic speeds, can that person be trusted with intimate secrets?
These are the subtleties of life that take time to unravel.
John lived around liars, cheaters, and villains without comic relief throughout his childhood. A hard life in a generation gone soft. He “won the lottery,” perhaps using his own words, when he was able to move in with Trishna and her family. Their exposure to treacherous, terrible, tyrannical turds is …tempered. Trishna might have more exposure than say her sister Sammohini because of teasing from her classmates, but for John, dealing with some comically villainous but relatively harmless Dr. Mindbender-type character could be easy. He could probably quickly discern that person’s character and even usefulness within some short interactions.
It’s a useful skill that is developed undesirably.
Through their summer prior to college, and their college years, John and Trishna will encounter some situations that test their mettle in different ways. John might have his security and self-confidence tested, while Trishna might have her trust and self-esteem tested. Those college years especially will test them individually, together as a couple, and their resilience.
Still, I am rooting for an idyllic world for them.
|Sources: My own experiences. If you want more, here are some obligatory study materials: , , and .
Quotes: None, besides common phrases.
Inspirations: A conversation about charlatans.
Photo: The idea behind the photo was that John would be talking with someone that Trishna might consider shady, but it turns out that he’s alright. Maybe just a little misunderstood or something.