Something different happened to me the other day.. I was on the bus reading with no plans (set in stone anyway) on my way to the library . As I stood up to get off the bus this man who was standing in front of me (who was getting off as well) turns to me and asks me ‘if I would like to go get a coffee?’. Granted, that is not so shocking and call me naive but I did not feel like it was a pick-up, or that he was hitting on me.. just that he had some free time and would have liked to have a coffee. I didn’t think he had especially noticed me, as an attractive woman you can tell when you have caught someone’s eye and I had seen him periferally come onto the bus and sit down without so much as a second look at me. But the way he turned and asked me out of the blue, with no nervousness, cockiness or obvious intention implied and I had to pause for a moment and wonder.. well why not??
Lets say he didn’t want anything (don’t smirk, play along) but to spend a spontaneous hour with a complete stranger. Just two people with nothing important to do just expanding each others minds or talking complete nonsense.. I prefer the former but how much better would life be if we weren’t so paranoid, fearful, snobbish, weary of people with hidden agendas and tried to re-connect with someone for a brief moment. What if I had accepted and we had, had a great conversation? If at the end no numbers were exchanged, just a thankyou for the chat and we parted ways, happy to have reached out to someone and the world no longer feeling like such a cold, lonely, harsh place. People spend a lot of money paying for therapy, paying for a complete stranger to listen to their problems, wanting to be heard, to be told they are normal or ok or things will get better, to indulge in some narcissism to help ease the pain of being human with the social complications, personal problems and the traumas that entail.
We stay in horrible relationships, put up with shitty friends, rely on dysfunctional families, endure physical or verbal violence from close ones mainly ( and I speculate) from the fear of being alone. Travelling a lot I tried to stay connected to a small group of friends, every time I would return I wouldn’t feel so alone, that I was needed, that I had roots somewhere and that I belonged. I went along with their plans, their social life, was their for all their issues and problems as a true friend and I believed I was happy and had real friendships. Until I had some real personal issues, made some regrettable decisions, moped around, got depressed and they turned their backs on me after I apparently took longer then they believed necessary to ‘get over it’.. I wasn’t aware that I had a timeline before everything had to go back to being about them. I tried to rekindle the friendship I could feel my security blanket slipping away and I apologised, I felt like I had to, that I was an inconvenience and it was them that slowly stopped calling me, inviting me out, coming to my birthday and they shut me out of their lives. For a long time I felt like it was my fault, that I had lost something important, that I was alone and that petrified me. But now I couldn’t care less, I realise it was the best thing that has happened to me, I have excellent friendships with some amazing people who unfortunately live all over Australia and abroad but we keep in contact all the time and I am not alone and never will be. Who needs roots when they are rotten??
If the world was a place where we could accept a strangers invite for coffee or a bite to eat without the fear of malice or intention I believe we would not feel so alone and so afraid to make the hard decisions to walk away from certain people or situations. That we would be stronger, happier and not so selfish to look at someone like they are crazy when they try to reach out and engage in conversation at the bus stop, supermarket, anywhere… that there would be much more community and maybe not so much mental damage, disease, depression… but that is a whole other conversation.
Something to think about anyway… maybe I should have said yes??
My Mix CD…