|sent from: London, UK. destination: Santa Monica, California, USA|
I’m not a joiner, I like to say. I keep my distance from crowds – most people cannot agree on the simplest issues so a crowd chanting one thing makes me nervous.
A friend once invited me to a gathering of his new club, he called it. Interesting people talking about interesting things. I didn’t know a lot of people so I said sure. I showed up at the hotel conference space near the airport. There was an initial rousing pep talk. It was welcoming and inspiring, TED-talk style. Ideas you could get behind. Then we were split into smaller groups, away from our friends, kept in a room, where their purpose was revealed; sign up for our weekend courses, fix your life’s problems. I had questions – what did you teach? What was the underlying philosophy? What were the methods? The questions were turned back to me – is your life perfect, they asked? Don’t you want it to be better? Your questions are a primary symptom of your need for our help. Perhaps I do need help, I said, but I’m not going to get it from you. Their hard sell, divide and conquest business model was laid bare and that’s all I needed to know. By the end of the session I had all the volunteers around me, telling me I needed their help, keeping me from leaving. I wont name them because I have friends who have taken their courses and found them to be helpful. I left, angry at my friend, angry at them, angry at myself for saying yes and being tempted even a little.
I was the only person in my group not to sign up.
I’m not a joiner.