Category Archives: Philosophy of Life

Freudian Tales III

Continued from Freudian Tales II

MB lr 2



Lia arrived at the courthouse bright and early on Monday morning, feeling much better with Antonio in tow as moral support, whom she promptly sat down on the bench behind the defendant’s family. She and Antonio had had a good time reminiscing and she had confided in him regarding what was happening at her first Santeria trial, which had not started off on the right foot.  Being Cuban, he had suggested she read up on the subject and she had picked up El Monte, in a botanica on 8th street.  He had told her it was the definitive book by Lydia Cabrera, a Cuban anthropologist, on Santeria rituals and folklore, and she had used it to create a glossary which significantly bolstered her confidence.

Sure enough, her weekend reading on the topic, plus what little she had been able to pull up from her work computer on the case, did the trick.  Much to Harry’s chagrin, Lia sailed through the interpretation of the morning testimony without a hitch. She blithely interpreted terms he would have been hard up to come up with despite his experience.

The fireworks began in the afternoon, when the defendant’s brother, a self-styled intuitive, whose proclaimed mission was to find the true murderer of whose crimes his brother was being accused, started wheeling around regularly to face Antonio and stare him down, muttering ominously under his breath.  It reached a point that Tony became incensed, informed the bailiff, and the man was reprimanded. He vehemently screamed for justice saying that the court should interrogate Tony because he could see blood on his hands, insinuating he was involved in the case, after which disruption, the judge called a recess.   During the recess, Lia spoke  to the bailiff off the record, explaining that she knew Antonio, who was an ex-federal agent, and had brought him to the court. She also disclosed to him that on a more disturbing note, someone had put a bloodied rubber chicken on her desk the day the trial began, which she had initially taken as a joke but was now unsure about. When court was reconvened, the judge dismissed the accusations and informed counsel for the defendant at a sidebar, that if there were any further outbursts, the “clairvoyant” would be held in contempt of court, fined and ordered to leave the premises.  As to the chicken, he said an investigation would be conducted by the U.S. Marshals office.

Harry, trying to appear nonchalant, was hanging on every word, not too pleased to hear that his prank was going to be looked into. Nonetheless, he was confident they would not get to the bottom of the matter. Little did he know that during a routine inspection of court surveillance videos, he would be identified, putting the offensive fowl through the x-ray machine upon entering the courthouse, laughing with the Marshal on duty about it. Unfortunately for him, that same Marshal was part of the investigation that was ordered and would remember the incident, that would ultimately result in an official reprimand that would become a negative element of Harry’s personnel file.

madrid night


Around the same time as the disruptions in the Miami court, we had left Kirsten waiting for Eric, unaware of the plans Antonio had put in motion with his underworld connections, to get rid of Eric in his absence.

On the night in question, Eric came home, and had a convivial if superficial supper with Kirsten, during which he slipped a qualude in her wine. Once she passed out, he carried her to bed, officiously propped pillows around her so she would feel protected, and quickly snuck out through the service door, to a titillating rendezvous with Ana at Calle del Espiritu Santo, a funky street that takes on an edgier feel after midnight. He figured he could be back in the early morning hours before she ever woke up from the sedative.

He did not figure that there were contract killers out to get him, who had followed him home from the bank, but had not seen his surreptitious exit.  These same operatives easily jimmied the front door lock shortly after he left, stealthily came into the bedroom, and coupling a silencer to a semi-automatic, systematically and callously sprayed the figures on the bed with impunity.

HK night lr

Hong Kong:

On his way back to his grandmother’s, Bo came to the decision that he had embarked on a trajectory, which although not to his liking, was the only means he could envision of overcoming his problems.  That is, unfairly beating out the competition in order to make the money he so desperately needed.  He was aware that he was running the risk of being found out but he thought he could reasonably get away with it and the results would far outweigh that probability. In spite of his body’s answer to this response in the form of a blazing migraine and his Nai nai’s advice that he could not achieve homeostasis with this  self-imposed conflict in his life, he was dead-set on his course.. He could only see what his mind and physical senses were telling him.  She, on the other hand, was stressing the concepts of the Tao Te Ching.  That it is not about doing what we individually think is best for us, but about making the best of our universal nature and expressing it every chance we get.  “We cannot impose our wishes on Nature or the Universe, but if you work with Nature, the Tao will work for you”, she said.

He did not foresee the fact that the interpreter candidates that were being interviewed had taken matter into their own hands by informing government representatives of their suspicions.  Not that these officials really cared whether Chinese interpreters were losing out on a job, but they were very interested in being able to pin any kind of irregularities on the Americans because of the sensitive nature of the accusations regarding China that they were making before the World Trade Organization, which would be significantly undermined if these allegations were proven.

Consequently, the government scheduled one of their own, privy to the situation, and who was also an interpreter, to be interviewed for the position, to evaluate how to proceed.

This is the potentially explosive scenario that Bo walked into the next day, unbeknownst to him.

As the morning developed and the questioning got under way, despite his intellectual reasoning, Bo noticed a change of consciousness automatically occurring within him, which governed the way he did his job and innocently saved him from a major misstep on both  macro and micro levels.

Verse 33 of the Tao as recited by his grandmother, swirled through his head and he felt more at peace:

He who knows others is clever.

He who knows himself is wise.

He who masters others is strong.

He who masters himself is powerful.

This is my first foray, in installments, of fiction related to the interpreting field, which genre I haven’t seen before.  I am very interested in learning how it was perceived by my readers and would appreciate feedback from you to judge how to proceed. At this stage in my writing, I feel it is liberating not to be constrained by facts and didactic considerations. I believe stories can help to spark ethical discussions about events that happen all the time but don’t often come to light unless there is a scandal of some sort.




A Healthy Dose of Sense and Sensibility=Responsibility

responsibility-poster1I believe that the hierarchy and macrocosm of nature, should be reflected in its many microcosms, one of which is the interpreting profession.  Accordingly, to be successful, the values exhibited at the apex must be mirrored in the other.

Today I am going to write about responsibility.  In life, I feel our duty is to fulfill our potential as a human being. Correspondingly, in our work, we must strive to achieve our full latent talents for what we do. We can’t stop trying until we feel comfortable with what we have attained, likely never, and easily a lifetime. The important thing is to enjoy the moment, our status quo now, assuming you are trying to improve yourself and not resting on your laurels. But we should not live thinking of the future, of a time when you expect to have accomplished more. As the classic oldie “Turn! Turn! Turn!” says, “There is a time for every purpose.” By following that advice, you will avert frustration by comparisons, and the waste of much energy regarding something you have no control over.  This energy could be employed productively in the present, not to mention the fact that we have no guarantee that the future will ever arrive.

Consequently, we must endeavor to do each assignment as well as we can, being truthful to ourselves and others regarding our effort. It will all come out in the wash anyway.  Always try to do more than is expected of you, expressing the creativity and diversity of nature. As in life, on the job, tell the truth about yourself and others, no white lies. But use your judgment, if something is ultimately unimportant, but it could hurt others, be responsible, don’t bring it up.

At the end of the day, we are all interconnected although we may not realize it at a given point in time.  I remember that concept being driven home in business school, talking about something as simple as a shirt sold at a department store here, where the yarn is from one place, parts are sewn in another and it’s assembled in yet a different location. In the end, people from all over the world that we’ll never know,  collaborate to make many of the items we use everyday. The similarity I see to our lives is that nothing happens randomly.  The world shapes our lives. Those we come into actual contact with, more so than in the example above, help to shape us.  We learn life lessons from the people we least expect to, whether we are aware of it or not, at the time.  That’s why, when we work with colleagues, if it’s with people we like, wonderful, enjoy it.  If it is someone we dislike, or look down upon for whatever reason, do not waste the opportunity to interact with them by complaining.  They have been put on your path for a reason, and it is up to you to figure out what you should learn from them. That is the importance of and why we must help to care for others. We all have a unique and valuable role to play on earth as well as in our sphere of business. If we were able to connect the dots, we would know what that purpose was not only for ourselves but for others as well. A rising awareness, in time, will help us to recognize these truths.

Yoga teaches that as we advance in consciousness, one of the signposts is that we begin to detach and to witness our actions as we are performing them, and can thus modify them for the better.  It brought to mind how when you reach a certain level of proficiency in interpreting, you begin to witness your own renditions live, in both consecutive or simultaneous, and can begin to focus on improving them in real time.

In short, that is our task, to continuously attempt to make our lives the best they can be, and consequently our careers, because this will represent a boon not only for ourselves but for our environment on all levels. If you see something is wrong or off track, fix it.  Don’t wait for others to intervene.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

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