Saturday, January 10, 2009
on friends and strangers
Robyn and Annie and I met for dinner at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant. If being vegan meant I could eat food that good ALL the time, I'd do it. I realized in waiting for them that I legitimately enjoyed the leisure of waiting. If my life is lived at such a breakneck pace that I can't just sit and enjoy the moments I'm in, then something's wrong. There are so many interesting people to meet and watch and wonder about.
For instance, when I went to the bagel shop for lunch this week, I purposely sought to savor the distinct pleasure of feeling solitary in a room of strangers. Outside it was drizzling, and just as I finished my soup, a tall, thin fellow sat down outside on the other side of the window next to me. He removed his green backpacking pack and pulled out an old songbook. His guitar was streaked with rivulets of rain. I hadn't seen him arrive, so I don't know whether he drove or walked. The back of his worn denim coat read "Fresno Co. Jail" in faded white letters, and his hair hung in a stringy mohawk across his forehead. As he practiced his guitar, I considered that there was probably much to his story. It was all I could do not to seek a conversation as I was leaving.
My mother doesn't like this about me, this propensity I have for being interested in people I don't know. She worries I'm too trusting. I worry I'm too selfish. I don't know which of us is right.