Sunday, June 19, 2005

Material friends

It seems that everyone around me is either getting married or actively looking to get hitched. As my friends cross over to the dark side, I find myself spending more and more time by myself. Consequently, I’ve been going out and eating alone often.
Usually when I eat alone, I bring the food back to my home or office. One day I decided to sit in a restaurant and eat alone instead of bringing lunch back to my desk and eating while surfing the web. At first I felt awkward. I didn't know what to do with my hands or even where to look. I didn't want to be staring at others and was trying to avoid reading my book at the table. Another problem with eating alone is that you can only order one dish and I saw at least 2 things I liked on the menu. I was forced to make pick one and order. A woman on the next table was there with her family and struck up a conversation with me. She asked me about the book I was reading. This book – Global Women - has invoked many questions, like which bookstore I had bought it from and what it was about, from women at the gym too. It seems that when you are eating alone, you get serviced faster. Soon enough the food came and I got busy eating.
On another occasion, I went to see the play - Lennon at the Orpheum Theatre alone. I had been planning to watch the play for some time since I like the Beatles and I like musicals. Finally one day, pumped up after a kick boxing class, I decided to go to the play at the spur of the moment. Apparently I was the only person who had come to see the play alone. I was also the youngest person there. Once the play started, I didn't feel awkward being there alone. Sadly the play didn't turn out to be that good. I did miss having someone to discuss the play with. I also had a hard time finding a cab to go back home after the play and it was quite unpleasant standing on the streets alone in the seedy area of Market and 7th.
The next step is to go watch a movie alone. No one around me seems interested in watching the Star Wars, Episode 3. I've realized that going out alone is not that bad at all. It makes me more aware of what I want -- what I want to eat, what I want to watch, where I want to go. I don't have to make adjustments for others and can do what ever I feel like doing. I am in general more aware of the surroundings when walking alone. I find myself talking to strangers more often. I also spend more time thinking rather than yapping incessantly. It gives me time to introspect and realize things about myself.
As I spend time alone, I find myself becoming increasingly dependent on material things. They are substituting my human friends. Every day when I walk home from the bus stop, I see my car parked in front of my apartment. It feels like an old, reliable friend, parked there day after day, ready for me to take grocery shopping or the occasional ride to see my sister or brother. The day my car got broken into, I got more upset than I had thought I would be; I felt violated. My laptop is a good friend at home. I spend hours with it. It’s like holding hours of conversation with a friend. I get input by reading online and output by writing. My small room heater gives me warmth; I cuddle up with it whenever it’s chilly. My Ipod is my gym companion and keeps me occupied during the bus ride (though I’m a bit embarrassed to use it when I see 70% people in the gym and bus carrying one). And my best friends, my books, are my lunchtime and bedtime partners. These friends are pretty reliable and easily replaceable. Best is they won’t go off and get married.

No man is an island. But solitude is bliss :)
zinagi ki raha mein ranj-o-gam ke mele hain

bheerr hai qayamat ki, phir bhi hum akele hain

all i want to say that some of the married folks might be jealous of your freedom to do things you wanna do whenever you wanna do with whoever you wanna do....eventhough it's no one lately...;))

one of your married friends
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