One of the things that will never cease to surprise me about living in a small community, is the way in which news and (mostly) gossip travel fast.
Maybe that’s the reason why you can’t get high-speed internet connections here: they are superfluous, as gossip travels faster than your average fiberoptic cable, and does not need servers of platforms except for the bench outside of the local bar, and the doctor’s waiting room.
Ever since our father died, my brother and I have been the subject of much speculation and possibly more gossip.
To give you an example, our uncle, that never visited us here in the countryside when our dad was still alive, after being at the funeral and coming to visit us once or twice (including once when he was with us seeing the bank director) was nicknamed “the American” by the local busybodies (our uncle drives an sports car) and was identified as someone interested in buying our house. Much speculation was done about how much he was paying, and what we’d do with the money.
Or consider the whole hubbub about how come we are able to pay our bills since we do not have a “proper job” ( = we do not work the fields or cash in an undeserved pension, or both, as the local practice goes).
And why are we seeing certain people?
What’s our business with This and That?
What are we planning? What are our intentions?
Shouldn’t we be bankrupt already, so that the bank will repossess the house, and put it up for sale?
It’s always been like that.
And indeed, gossip is rife in small communities: country villages, prisons, boarding schools, tourist venues, cruise ships. The same places where you can’t play DVDs and Blue Rays for the public.
No movie, the punters have to find something else to pass the time.
Jokes apart, it’s terribly annoying, because it couples the worst of an invasion of privacy with the worst of being a fictional character in some malignant bumpkin’s mental, cooperative and public soap opera.
But it can also be fun.
Like, walking up and down in front of my house, discussing with my brother (that after all took two exams in Egyptology) about the dos’ and donts’ of resurrecting Egyptian mummies by the rituals of the Book of Thoth, including all those fun details like which portion of the dead’s soul goes where, and what bits and pieces of the body can be found in which Canopic jar.
Oh, my, the heart, now, was it in the jar with the baboon’s head or the one with the funny bird?
Who knows how to actually read the Book of Thoth?
Do you really need to read it out loud?
And then, how do you put down the animated mummy, afterwards?
Guns don’t work, obviously… an harpoon through the chest?
All this, out in the open.
It’s gonna be a long weekend for gossip-mongers out there.
(But tomorrow night I’ll post to the editor my Holmesian pastiche, The Case of the Manchester Mummies. It’s going to be good.)