I come from a country in America, the Latin one of course and not the Trump one, where trusting people is something rare, exclusive, elusive, and even costly. You are not born trusting people. Maybe only your mother for obvious reasons. Not even your father, since he’ll only recognise your existence if your relation is irrefutably registered on your birth certificate.

Trusting people is something you learn to do and yes, it really is something you can learn. For me, the golden rule to learn this ‘skill’, is simply to never trust. It is only by going through the process of distrusting, then trusting, and distrusting again can you learn to recognise the moments you can trust (or not). This you should do to the end of your days.

During this eternal process, you will learn to trust and distrust girlfriends, husbands, wives, bosses, daughters, siblings, politicians, taxi drivers, teachers, barmen, policemen, lovers, thieves and more.

But in my long carrier of 47 years of trusting and distrusting, I must confess that there are those that I have learned no one must trust.

In first place are identical twins. There is a strange feeling when you’re talking to your friend, who is a twin, and doubt suddenly rises in your mind, “wait, is this him? Or is this his brother?” It is an uncomfortable suspicion! I have had twin friends in the past and I would not be upset if I did not see them again. I can only imagine the confusion when it comes to twin husbands or wives…

In second place is cross-eyed people. This is a purely personal reason: my grade 4 history teacher, who ws cross-eyed, lied to me about American history. A lie which has had lasting effects! So, I can never trust another cross-eyed person again, despite the fact that in my country they are considered lucky, as they see all the beautiful things in the world twice over.

Coming in third are one-legged men. Like Max, who used to come to my parent’s house every week to wax the floor, before he stole my mother’s jewellery. As for fourth place, this is reserved for the people who change their names. There is a yoga teacher I know that changed his name to a German one, but I know he has a Colombian name, like in the TV show Narcos, and nobody would believe in his teachings as a Latin American.

Last, and perhaps the most suspicious of people on my list, goes to those who don’t drink a drop of wine. Yes, the people who behave like they are the guardians of the moral code, of the healthy life! I’m talking about the ones that use to drink but have decided to cut it out of their lives forever. Really? Not even small a glass of rosé from Provence? Or maybe just a small shot of port or a half-pint of craft beer perhaps? Yes, these are the types with a hidden past, one they will never share and therefore are used to not being truthful. Those who believe that the loss of just a little bit of control is sinful, bad, ugly, dirty, even dangerous!

The abstemious will never cry to the best hits of the Backstreet Boys, or dance with their best friend when there’s no music playing, or forget their phones in the back of cab or write a bad love poem for someone. Those who don’t drink may have more money in life, or have their health in order, but is that even a life worth being healthy for? Yes, these people cannot be trusted. Never tell them your secrets or your naughty stories, you will only get silence, caution and judgement.

The habitually suspicious among you will know what I’m talking about.

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Juan Diaz Ibanez

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