Penetrating… By @blazve
By Blaz Verhnjak
After safe flight and 5 hours journey by car I finally arrived and entered my moms kitchen, full of good smelling food prepared for her sons return. Still wearing shoes, eating my second special pizza sandwich I realised, that half of family is missing. Mom told me they are in the kind of local community hall / fire station building, where local wind instruments band concert took place.
Before I continue… I originate from small village with 600 people living there. All our neighbours are farmers or at least have some pigs to fill their freezers in the end of the year.
Without livestock and busy lifestyle me and my family never belong here. We all work in cities but we clearly stayed here because of fathers love for nature, mountains and feel of slow life, which now we all admire.
But as kids, me and my sisters, we all had a feeling of not belonging here and schoolmates were picking on us for it. I started to refuse local community, language, I refused hanging around with local friends and I looked forward to go to secondary school in city Maribor.
Even while in high school and uni I found local people stupid and their life weird and skipped a lot of community events. At one point I started to ignore old friends from school, because I found them boring and single-minded and I just waiting weekend to be over and to return back to Maribor (city where I was studying).
With feeling that Marc wants us to try something we never would consider trying I decided to go, stuffed pizza sandwich in mouths, closed the door and left mom surprised.
I was 25 minutes late. Before entrance a girl was offering home produced liquors. I refused (don’t know why) and entered. The room was packed. I found myself place to sit on the table in the back of the room, even though people were standing around me.
Small numbered male choir was singing old folk song. At least two of them were out of tune. Really bad.
And I couldn’t stop myself from analysing people around me.
People around me – which is in the back – were neighbour farmers I know, some retired old men and some people that are know for having problems with alcohol. They all held drink in hand (even though drink should be served after concert) and talk over politics and farming while musicians were trying to to get their attention.
Closer to the stage kids, moms and grandmothers were trying to make this a decent event full of christmas spirit by ignoring talking in the background and making their kids listen to music I definitely wouldn’t consider quality one.
In front rows people with high roles were siting. By that I mean a small local school’s teacher, a former policeman (who was accused of weed dealing and suspended and is now sort of leader of local community), some voluntary firemen and retired workers who had a role in the past I’m not familiar with.
Concert went on. Teacher gathered her 10 years old students and that sang a song – after she physically moved them to the place she wants them to be.
To make it christmasy we even got a weird looking Santa who was supposed to bring us some christmas cheer and hope. Instead of that, dressed in worn out suite, badly positioned beard, wearing sunglasses and giving us a reeeeealy bad speech, he killed couple of dreams and brought confusion in the room. But there was a Santa.
But in the end everything was alright, because after giving honour to half of the room of individuals who made it happened, the band played song we all knew and we all clapped together.
After this I stayed for a while, talked to people and renew some connections a lost over tears.
I learned a lot about myself, about environment I spent my childhood in. Clearly my village and people around me (excluding my family and couple of individuals) still behave like we are Yugoslavia and they still believe in communist ideology, have low goals but crave for honour and respect, even though they wouldn’t do much for it. I really grew up in such environment?
For new years eve, I was invited to neighbours house, who is my age. We haven’t seen each other for 5 year. He works in the factory, lives at parents house and he just bought a new second hand car. People see him as a successful, uprising lad.
To prove it, he spent his monthly salary on fireworks and competed 2 guys that were trying to prove their point as well.
But he won. He is a success.
For rest of the holidays I tried to read things coming out of community, hang around with old people and people my age from the village, instead of sitting in shopping centre I analysed people shopping in small shop in the village,…
I tried to penetrate into things, people and thinking from my past and it was good.