And I’ll be dancing with myself

 

And I’ll be dancing with myself…

As I sit downtown Lake Worth(my new residence), I marvel at the action around me. People-watching has become my new favorite hobby. Not in a creepy One Hour Photo way, I only occasionally take breaks from my writing to observe. While I type on my lap-top I watch complete strangers ask each other if they can join each others chess games, politely interject their opinions into other people’s conversations, or offer unsolicited dog breeding advice. All of this baffles me, as I feel slightly embarrassed for these people and their apparent lack of social boundaries. I have a problem asking someone if I can take the spare seat next to them at Starbucks, fearing that I am invading their personal space. Even when a nice stranger tries to strike up a conversation, I nervously falter, forgetting any social graces I once had. My mother told me that when I was a wee tike I had no problem approaching complete strangers and striking up conversations. Have I really become so bitter in my old age that I see something wrong with this behavior?

Now that I am living in a new state,I am especially questioning this anti-social attitude, as it is far more difficult to make new friends. There is no longer the assurance of having gone to school with people, or knowing people that you used to work with, it is time to start from scratch. My co-worker suggested that I go on this social networking site, one for meeting friends in group date scenarios. This sounds great for people who like to go canoeing with strangers, but I’m not ready for that yet. One friend that I have here actually approaches people that she finds herself possibly having a connection with, offering the suggestion that maybe they could hang out sometime. While I applaud her courage, I find this task extremely difficult, because every time I find a potential “ friend mate”,I worry about a lot of things. What if the person is a lot younger then I assume, like in high school, and I end up on the evening news? I am a terrible judge of age. I have come to realize the three main reasons that I can’t seem to socialize naturally anymore.

Technology

Yes, I know it seems a little lame to blame technology, but it is also inevitable. I now find it almost impossible to understand someone when they tell me that they don’t text. What century do they live in? If my eighty year-old grandmother has an IPhone, there should be no excuse for you not knowing how to text. Actual phone conversations are reserved for emergencies or once a year heart to hearts. Even when I am on Skype, I try to avoid the face to face, preferring to type my conversation. If I can have a conversation with my aunt while also updating a photo album on Facebook, then I feel accomplished with my multitasking. This type of disconnection replaces the intimacy of speaking in person. These days it is difficult to sit next to someone you are supposed to be spending quality time with, without feeling the need to play with your phone or distract yourself in some other way. As a society we are so accustomed to being busy, always moving, that we can’t seem to find the time to slow down and pay attention to what or who is right in front of us.

Children

My lack of children is apparently holding me back. People with children seem to migrate toward one another, knowing exactly what to discuss at exactly the right moment. These same people probably would have never hung out in high school, but because their children get along, they are now best friends. When I listen to young mothers describe daily activities with their children, I get exhausted and feel pity, especially when I see them doze off in the middle of a hair cut. Some mothers,however,seem to have an endless supply of energy when it comes to caring for their children. These special mothers always describe everything as “we”; “ We just started teething, We are taking swimming lessons now, We are finally potty-trained.” You have to wonder what these women did before the kid showed up. Now I think that there are plenty of good reasons to have children- you need members for your garage band, you want to create the next Hannah Montana, or you need cheap labor for your new clothing line. Trying to create more friends to play with is not a suitable reason for me, even if it means having an excuse to go to Disney Land frequently.

Choice of Pets

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.”

This could not be more true. People parade different breeds of dogs up Lake Avenue, only to be stopped by whomever and asked a litany of questions about the fluffy creature. Cats do not appreciate being led on a leash in any capacity, believe me. I once tried this with my beloved cat in high school and wound up entangled in a thorny rose bush while he scampered away, laughing at me. I have always been a cat person, though I find certain dogs adorable. Cats don’t need you, they make you work for it, and I always have. Dogs make the perfect wing-man, because they don’t mind being used to boost your social life, so long as you shower them with attention. Any type of man can count on a pretty girl approaching him if he has what resembles a small cotton ball attached to a leash.

I have two sugar gliders. Most people do not even know what they are when I mention them. While they serve as a decent conversation piece, they do not bode well as social connections. Contrary to certain websites, our gliders will not just sit on our shoulders or hop into our pockets when beckoned. Once there was an incident and one of my furry babies escaped from the cage. It took six hours of cajoling and master-minding to get him back into the cage. Not to mention the fact that sugar gliders are marsupials, and therefore nocturnal, making it difficult to put them on display whenever anyone wants to see them. If we could just drug, I mean train them to do the tricks that those guys at the mall are able to pull off, then I’m sure I could lure people to become my friend with my glider magic.

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