Friday, July 29, 2011
My photography teacher Mr. C. once said that he never realized how much neckties got in his way until he started wearing bowties. But no matter how facilitating his new trend may have been, I thought he just looked like a geek. I certainly never thought that his fashion statement would come back to me in an analogy.
I used to think people were essential for adventures. Last summer, when the rodeo came to town, I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go. So I stayed home and sulked. A few months later, I found a friend to take with me to a Greek festival in town. As I finished up my Baklava, watching the people dance, my ‘adventure buddy’ sat next to me playing with her phone the whole time. Finally, she asked if we could leave. And what could I do but acquiesce? After all, I can’t sacrifice my friends’ needs for my adventure craving.
It was after this incident that I realized the alternative to taking along the equivalent of a human security blanket. And I went to the beach alone. And then a crawfish festival. And then to another event. And the more I ventured out alone, the easier it was to walk around confidently, enjoying the company of no one but strangers and stories.
Just like Mr. C’s neckties, I never realized how much my ‘security people’ got in the way. I was obliged to listen to them, concentrate on what they were saying, and respond when I’d rather listen in on other people’s conversations or be silent and reflect. I had to respect their wishes of when to leave rather than sitting until the band played the last song, until I’d absorbed all I could hold of the details and stories. (And my worries, at first, of standing out in a crowd was unfounded. You see, the key to doing things alone is to realize that you are all but invisible in a crowd, especially if you aren’t breathtakingly beautiful, terribly tall, or freakishly fat. And if you wear sunglasses, people will never know when you’re staring at them.)
I go it alone to most places now; it just works out better that way. When I tell people this, sometimes they attempt to pity me—until I stop them and let them know that my social style is my choice.
Just like Mr. C, I might not be normal in my approach, but I sure do get a whole lot more done.