"Do you find yourself becoming more of a pacifist?" my friend asked at dinner suddenly, almost in the same breath as a laugh in reply to something unrelated, a comment on genetics. Pacifist? Or did he mean passive, confusing the two, as war wasn't the topic of conversation. I'd said something earlier in the meal about the possibility of my becoming a vegetarian upon my return to the States. Maybe that was the connection.
"I find myself picking my battles," I said. "More and more frequently it's not worth my time to argue." Earlier he'd said I often appeased another friend. I'm never sure whether appease is meant as a compliment or what.
What I really wanted to say was, I just didn't feel like talking. I've been accused a couple times recently of not speaking my mind, but how can I speak when I haven't made up my mind? It's really easy to be negative here, to forget that even after several years out, you can be affected by culture shock and have your days when you think everybody is a fuck or you're crazy, not good options. So when I'm pissed off, I wait for it to pass because I know I'm more than likely not coming to the conversation with a good point of view already. That's not to say that I'm always on the side of self-control but that my being quiet has nothing to do with passivity, which, yes, is what I think my friend meant.