Yesterday while trying to organize all the business cards that I had collected during the years a problem came up which I was initially unsure how to solve. A few dozen cards had so many things listed on them that I did not know if I should file them under website designers, massage therapists, piano teachers, insurance agents, taxi drivers, or real estate agents. As I looked through the cards I realized that within our small ex-pat community we have at least three “Real Estate agents” who have found the cure for cancer!
Having not made any progress in sorting the cards, I decided to shuffle through them again to try to see if I could find some kind of pattern that would help me figure out how to categorize them. Seeing several cards that mentioned metaphysical things I decided to try to connect with my intuitive side to see if it would be able to come up with some answer. As I was sitting there with my legs crossed with this huge stack of business cards in my hand I imagined myself back in the United States and thought about what my reaction would have been if somebody had handed me these cards back there. As I went through the cards one by one it suddenly struck me just how desperate they all were to get any little bit of money out of other people that they could. Then I remembered how just last week somebody had mentioned to me that whenever any of those people get near them that they feel like a walking dollar sign.
At expat events I am often pulled aside by someone who, after just managing to get away from one of those gnats, leans in close and asks me in a hushed voice “Where do all these people come from?” Well, most are from the United States and some are from other English-speaking countries but they all come from a place of unfocused desperation. Some of them are harmless, well intentioned, yet unskilled people just trying to supplement their low monthly income. A surprisingly high percentage of Jacks are living off of their unemployment benefits while they try to figure out a way to make money for when it runs out. Others are people who failed in Real Estate in the United States, and yet somehow think that they can do it successfully here even though it’s much more difficult here. Instead of having enough self respect to dedicate themselves to doing one thing well, they run around chasing any possible opportunity to make a quick buck.