Thursday, January 18, 2007

but none of them were home inside their catacomb

Here's what happened. I'm not going to write about my walk to meet Saheli for dinner last night, because how many times do you need to hear me rave about how much I love my neighborhood? I'll just say this- I knew she was running a little late, so I kept walking for a bit, just because I was feeling so twee about my surroundings. And all bundled up as I was, it was actually just the perfect temperature.

Inside, it was smoky. Nothing is more welcoming in this weather. They have renovated Pakwan, knocking down a wall, making it seem oddly new to me- oddly because it's one of the few restaurants I can say I have frequented. Saheli and I had good conversation- as always, she blew my mind away with her knowledge while I rambled like a foolio, occasionally trying to coax her into becoming an organic chemistry professor. Maybe I do have some maternal genes- I was clearly trying to live vicariously through her.

When we parted, it was much cooler out. I was supposed to go pick up a few critical grocery items, but I considered whether I really wanted to walk the extra half mile. Then I figured it would be absolutely shameful to waste fuel on such a short trip, so I sucked it up, walking on past my place.

And then I noticed the neatest thing. As I was walking the familiar path to the market, Regina Spektor blasting in my ear, I kept passing people. Each one alone. Each one carrying their small plastic bags. Each one a self-contained unit with earbuds. At the store, us singletons outnumbered the couples by vast amounts. When I left the market, more units, more pod people, making their way, on their own, in the wee small hours. It was a very seems I'm not alone in being alone moment.

Some days, this same experience would have been cause for sadness. Why are we so isolated? We're all on our own, surreptiously sneaking out in the night to do our things. Why can't we connect? Some days, those are the questions that swirl through my head at that moment, and I might even feel lonely in my ruminations. But last night, it seemed like a secret handshake. They all seemed so content; they all seemed a reflection of me. We all seemed so fine with our self-contained bubble. Maybe we didn't need to disturb it.

Then I got home and it took me far too long to thaw. I have not been getting to sleep when I would like to, and now I know why- I actually need time to defrost before I can relax enough to lull myself to bed.

So the talk with the head honcho happened, and while I was not promoted, the promotion was hinted at. Luckily it was hinted at subtly enough that I was not obligated to reveal my master plan. In fact, it was a bit of a run-on sentence- "there are going to be changes here, and I'm looking at good people leaders in the organization, and just to be frank, I'm looking at you as one of our people leaders, and I'll be looking at how we're going to make things work..."- so that I was dizzy and hardly had an opening to interject with any shocking confessions. For now, I can live with myself- well, except for the fact that I work someplace where the term 'people leader' is thrown around.

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