Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Fellow "Greenie"

I'm not normally the type to strike up conversations with random strangers, but the other day at school the lounge where I normally eat my lunch was crammed full. I contemplated leaving and going somewhere else to eat my lunch in solitude, but then I thought better if that idea. I asked someone who was sitting alone at a table if I could share her space. She was friendly and more than happy to let me sit down, but we were both engrossed in our own activities. That is...until I removed my treasured wrap-n-mat reusable sandwich bag, one of the ones I talked about in this post. Her eyes grew wide and she gasped, saying, "Oh my gosh, that is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" She reached out her hand and then looked at me tentatively, "Can I touch it?" she asked. I smiled and nodded and she gingerly felt the shiny plastic part of my wrap-n-mat. She asked where I got it and then examined the mat even more closely to see how it was made.

That one small encounter turned out to be the beginning of a welcome lunch break conversation. From the discussion of the wrap-n-mats, we moved on to reusable grocery bags, and the whole idea of "going green," in which we were both interested, became a frame for a broader discussion that included life at school, our chosen majors, heavy backpacks, stressful professors, and our families. For the first time in a while, I enjoyed my lunch without feeling lonely. Don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of hallway acquaintances and class buddies here at Eastern, but the truth is that while I am happy here most of the time, I also often feel somewhat isolated. Maybe isolated is the wrong word...maybe I feel different. The fact is, I am different from the vast majority of my classmates. I'm no longer the young woman whose chief concerns are men and what she should wear. I'm glad I'm no longer that girl, because my life has a richness to it now that wasn't there before, but still...this does set me apart from the majority of people with whom I attend classes, and sometimes that can be hard.

All in all, solitude...and even loneliness to a degree aren't the end of the world. I may not make any lifetime friends during my time here at school, but at least I can have meaningful and memorable conversations over a shared lunch table!

1 comment:

Bri said...

I'm proud of you! It takes some guts to walk up to someone like that!