It’s Easy to Dislike a Third Culture Kid

It’s easy to dislike a Third Culture Kid – isn’t it?

I thought it was a funny little story that I could share about a crazy man. However, as I sat down to write, I had a thought. I realized my judgments may have been wrong.

A man came up to my friend and me in the coffee shop the other day. It was interesting…

Initially, the plan was to write an article about how this man offered me the advice of faking a racial debate in the comments section of my article in order to gather people’s attention with all the controversy. thus gaining traction for Third Culture.

I thought it was a funny little story that I could share about a crazy man. However, as I sat down to write, I had a thought. I realized my judgments may have been wrong.

In order to explain my realization, I must recount the whole story so…

A man came up to my friend and me in the coffee shop the other day. It was interesting…

He had hair that was dyed purple. There was definitely an attempt for it to look a natural brown but we all knew that it was totally purple. Tragic. His whole get up was a bit all over the place, from his True Religion jeans to his Harry Potter glasses that could barely contain his bulging bug eyes.

He approached Bridgette (she’s the friend I claim to have) who was sporting a Led Zeppelin shirt.

“Purple Hair Man”:  “Did you get that shirt from Urban Outfitters? I bet you have no clue who Led Zeppelin are.”

Note: Not actual shirt. A visual aid

After Bridgette put his snide remark to shame and informed him that she bought it on Amazon for $5, she left to go grab her coffee.

The man turned to face me.


Let’s call the man Tim.

Just because I go to the coffee shop bra-less and in my pajamas every morning DOESN’T make me less than you Tim!

Tim turned to face me and began to obnoxiously fake cry. I asked him why he was crying all up in my face and he wailed,

“Tim”: “I’m just so sad that your friend is so poor, she has to buy her clothes on Amazon!”.

…bare in mind that this was my first interaction with him, ever. Even if he was making a joke, he was ‘bantering’ with me as if we had been friends from birth. Well, friends from my birth…so that would make him a quarter century already. It was 0-100 in under 60 seconds…

Not Tim, a visual-aid.  Truly 0-100….

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/tony-matellis-sleepwalker-high-line-548513

“Ha ha”, I said.

I then went to sit down at a table and Tim proceeded to follow me there.

Tim: “So, you’re still in college or jobless then?”

Wow Tim, that was savage. Tim really threw a dagger at me there! That comment stunned, offended and made me insecure all at once.

Tim and I getting coffee together in our pajamas.

 

Just because I go to the coffee shop bra-less and in my pajamas every morning DOESN’T make me less than you Tim!

 

Instead of spitting in his face, I responded:


“I actually write for an online magazine that deals with third culture issues.
What do you do in Hong Kong?

Tim pulled a smirk and inhaled a huge gasp of air as if he was going to recite a short story.

And he did do that.

“Tim”: “I’m from Chicago but my wife is from Taiwan. She and my two daughters live there. I am in Hong Kong because I’m a Lawyer and Stock Broker but I also have a PHD in Philosophy. I’m really that person that knows a lot of facts about everything. I’m so versatile, creative too! I’m going to write a book, I’ve already written one, it’ll be another one. I can recite Shakespeare too…

To be or not to be, that is the question, whether its to suffer in the strings and arrows of –”

He gradually drifted to a close as we both knew that the Shakespeare recital was so so incorrect.

5 Years later…

Finally, Bridgette strolled over with her coffee. It took her 5 years to do so – she was hanging out with the baristas to avoid joining the conversation. However, her blueberry muffin was at the table with me so I knew she had to come over eventually.

“Tim”: “You should write about being Hapa!”, Tim exclaimed.

Me: “Hapa? Isn’t that a term that means part Native Hawai –”

“Tim”: “OR, about how statistics show that only 4% of people find love in Hong Kong, compared to other metropolitan cities like NYC, it’s like 25% there.”

This interchange of him speaking and cutting me off mid sentence just so he could throw out another idea went on for a while. It was aggravating. Not only was it obnoxiously rude, the man couldn’t seem to commit to a single idea for more than 5 seconds before bouncing to the next.

After a stint of listening to him throw out fun facts about the world, Tim finally left.

 

I wanted to hate Tim so bad!

He was so horrendously rude…but for some reason I was intrigued by him and wanted to hear more. Yes, Tim was annoying but what he had to say was somewhat valuable and I could learn from him…somewhat. And even though he held the grandiose persona that he was worldly and talented, Tim seemed lonely. Being the empathetic Third Culture Kid that I am, that’s when I realized that

Tim was kind of like a TCK

Bare with me…

  • Tim tried to disguise his hair colour as brown but it was clearly purple. Just as TCKs try to fit in but clearly stand out.
  • Tim was able to connect and become comfortable with strangers extremely quickly.
  • Tim came across as thinking he was better than me when really he was just explaining his life. (truly giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one)
  • Tim’s list of work endeavors was like a list of countries a TCK has lived in.
  • Tim’s family lives in another country to him.
  • And Tim couldn’t commit to an idea, like a TCK struggles to commit to a destination.

So now I understand why sometimes it’s hard to like a TCK. It’s often easy to really dislike them.

I promise you though, we aren’t pretentious and up our asses, we just have an ass, just like you and the entire human race, we all just have an ass.

Thank you.

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