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There are some friends on my list, friends who I have known for many years. None of them are like Matthias. He is unique and one of a kind in all respects.
So is our friendship.
I cannot compare the nature of the friendship I have with M, with any of my other long or short- term relationships I share with other friends that I have made along the years. I could take all of his many virtues, and say, “he is something else”.
I first met him about 15 years ago; he was the owner of Omnico, an outlet for used IT-Hardware. I was excited with the idea of transporting second hand computers to Romania, for charity and for business. At that time, Romania was not a part of the EU and I did not want to peruse the challenges with regard to customs and taxes. The idea was forgotten, but I never forgot the relationship.
I came to buy used computers.
On the phone, before the meeting, I was told by Andrea his sister, that I must come ready to pay in advance for whatever I purchase.
We shall come back to talk about Andrea later.
I came fully prepared to pay and in the end bought more samples than I had anticipated “You can pay me for everything by a bank transfer, said M. I passed the ‘’credibility test’’ of them both.
He was much younger than I… in his early thirties, and trying to be better than the rest. Omnico was an interesting and unique enterprise – he developed the idea, made it work, and brought family members in. There was a family atmosphere to this business. It felt like whoever was there was a part of the family, no matter their real status.
You cross the bridge, and it is on the right. Omnico was located in a suburban town near Frankfurt, and I got to see the place for the first time. Welcome to Waldorf. The place seemed calm, as if it was a day ride to the nearest town. I had rented a car, and we were saying goodbye in the car park, under a typical unrelenting, German drizzle.
Andrea and Matthias were different. She made you feel very welcome, very warm. She was very open and friendly. Matthias was more of a “let’s get to the point” type of person. I think the “”point”” was not made until today. I did not know how to define this new relationship, but I knew I want to meet him again, and indeed I have. For the last 15 years Matthias became a true friend of mine. I hope he would say the same. Since then we have met many times. The relationship took a few turns as shared business ideas were discussed. Matthias has had some career moves since then. He became a senior in leading a management team, for a predominant Leasing Firm. The years in VR Leasing were to leave a deep impression on his career, not to mention that much of his approach to commerce and management was shaped at the height of his position in that company.
Matthias is self assured; his self confidence can be misleading. You might suspect that he thinks he knows it all. He comes across very assured – a TELL personality, definitely not an ASK personality. He has an opinion about any subject that comes up. If you make him feel inferior in the conversation, he will rush to rectify knowledge gaps, by reading extensively on the subject or by chasing ever more knowledge to find the facts.
Hours on the Internet, delving into books, and conversations with experts will not be far from his reach. As a result, M is one of the most interesting people I know. We talk about the past, interesting historical issues and present related events. In the end we try to predict ’what will happen’. We have long ”futuristic” conversations. We try to run ‘’the movies forward’’, try to see what will become of future-Europe, international conflicts and cold culture wars.
I have spent much time in conversations with M, so I started to track the logic of his opinions and ideas. He doesn’t attach much importance to nationalistic issues. Ideology regarding the State, religion, and political trends are in his eyes the call of the moment. He is much more observant of the fluidity of opinions and the situation of nations rather than admiring the state of the art.
Cultural mix, coming from immigration or changes of views are not a threat to him. He will not regard the cultural changes in Europe as a threat. Counter to this he will point out and show that world capital-cities that are made from an international mix became a strong melting-pot, erasing differences and rivals, leaving each community in their own territory.
Over time, I have learned that the above opinions are not a “Weekend-Talk” issue over a drink. The outcome is that M is a true promoter for peace and he keeps away from conflicts. He would keep to those principles in his private life as well. Race, gender, religion, and color – those are not an issue when he deals with people. The parameters he is after are integrity and high standards. High standards? Well, this is a tricky one. My impression is that M strives to attain high standards is that could be his own downfall. He tries to set an example for others. He performs on time and seeks high-technology and state of the art tools. He likes accuracy, and high performance. He demands from himself all this and more. When he gets to a point that he could not meet his own standards, he becomes a true harsh judge of himself. He is disappointed, angry at himself- but also can have some physical symptoms around it.
Complementary to this, I see him forgiving when others are failing, or making mistakes. He is not looking to exaggerate his ways or promote his views. He will quietly come to his own conclusions about the case, or about the person, but there is no need to ask for another chance. The chance is always there. He is an optimist in his nature, and I guess he promotes the basic assumption that people mean well even if they have not delivered well.
M is a family man. He is involved in the lives of Esther and Amelie his daughter. And they are involved in his life??. The couple equally shares the educational and emotional investment in Amelie and the results are showing. Amelie, let alone being sweet and full of feminine charm, is also clever. Features of her personality are blossoming as she tests the red lines and the limits placed by Matthias and Esther.
Also I want to ‘’run the movie forward’’. The movie of his life.
M is now in between career moves. He seeks to reach the height the height of his past position. He wants “from there only upwards”. As he looks into the market and the possibility, I catch a glimpse of the first wrinkles of doubt around his eyes that come with age and maturing.
M feels he has not yet given his all. He wants to break through and make it. It is not a money issue as much as it is an issue of self-esteem and pride. He knows that all his thoughts and believes in himself, his entire preach to others, is his reality. He must succeed. I am sure he will. I cannot tell if M will be the biggest, the richest and the most famous, but I am certain that whatever he will do will carry a stamp of quality with the unique touch of his standard.
I hope to be around to see
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