Listening for the Alien Heartbeat

(Madagascar, 4 Jun 2012)

One of the sobering sights of Tamatave is the cadre of  ex-middle-aged Frenchmen enjoying startlingly poor judgment in their particular choices of young Malagasy women.

Some are permanently stranded here (this used to be a French colony), some just felt insufficiently loved at home. But overall these were not gents whose judgement I admired.

But as I have discovered, some people will always make unlikely choices. Passing an island in the south of the Philippines (years ago on a windsurfing trip, clothes strapped to the base of the mast, money in a plastic bag) I encountered an older German with what appeared to be three, very decent, young Filipina wives. He was making a living as the only boat engine repairman for some nautical distance. But, despite these blessed circumstances – three wives, and a monopoly, in a paradise – he was clearly looking much the worse for wear. He had given himself to drink.

Now why one would give oneself to drink with three wives to manage, I did not (at the time) understand.

It may be that the further you go to look for happiness, the further you distance yourself from it.  Here, also in Tamatave, is a couple that don’t have much, but even so seem to be very happy with the way things are.

Tamatave - two nice people

And here a nice gent, not far from his home, and with even less, who still seemed to find life quietly amusing.

Tamatave - smiling man with headband

6 Responses to “Poor Life Choices”

  1. disperser

    Don’t know what to make of this post . . . I’ve read it three times, and am still not sure exactly what I’m reading. If anything, it raises more questions than the information it presents.

    I get the 3 wives bit, but the rest . . .

    I’ll just wait for the next post.

    • alienheartbeat

      Yes, I agree – it is rambling. I had originally removed it from the menus and pages, but as it seems to have been recently found – I guess through the new “Related” feature – I guess I have to restore it.

      And it does raise questions that it does not answer, but as my views tend to the eccentric, any opinion I expressed would likely get me attacked from all four sides. No need to create controversy that benefits no one and resolves nothing.

      The reason I kept the post and did not kill it off is just that I liked the people in the pictures.

  2. Anonymous

    “They seemed to find everything funny, which made me wonder why I didn’t.” Yes, I saw this in Jamaica too. Some of the poorest people without the least chance at having a decent life and still, happy. I think for many of them, an unshakable belief in a god I couldn’t believe in, is what kept them happy and sane.

    • alienheartbeat

      Well, I think what makes poor people happy is the same as makes anybody happy – living within your expectations, connections with friends, love of family. But I am sure they also have many moments when they don’t smile – they just don’t feel the need to infect strangers with it.

    • alienheartbeat

      yes, poor sod. I think theoperative here was “why one would give oneself to drink with three wives to manage, I did not (at the time) understand”. Age, even if it does not bring wisdom, at least brings caution.


Wild Agreement, Disputations, Outright Laughter...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: