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College Park, Maryland, United States
Elusive by choice.


Strange Friends, Stranger Companions

I walked in and looked around. The dance floor, the lights, the music- although a tad annoying to my sensibilities, and a whole bunch of people looking to have a good time- drinking, dancing, making out, or all of it. This seemed a cozy place for a not so silent night. I do have a reputation for enjoying my drinks and being clueless about the real social scene. For I rarely understand a complete sentence, a mere whisper muted by the loud music; and I take offense when people nod their head for everything I say- when I know that they wouldn’t have heard a thing that I utter beneath my breath, as I always do.

Now, the train ride back home was a different story. Rather peaceful in a bustling metro, yet conversations galore. I am not too fond of the public transit system; yet, the bane is a boon when you live on a budget and miles away from “the scene”. In any society of the modern era, the public transit is a strange melting pot, bringing people together- the ones who can’t afford an automobile, the ones who care for a green world, the ones who don’t like driving around looking for a spot to park, and most importantly, the ones who wouldn’t drive after a night out binge on the hooch. The last train on a Friday night finds the last of the fore mentioned as the majority.

Now, for people who don’t know me well, I am quite the introvert. Conversations are reserved for meaningful purposes and a club offers you very little in that regard. Of late, I’ve come to realize and experience the downside of the “expert syndrome”- not just a constant need to babble about your brilliance, but also a feeling of disinterest in most things menial and redundant. The “Hi”, “How is it going” and “How are you doing today”- the icebreakers and greetings that often run into the same loops- don’t quite entice me anymore. The train, on the other hand, offers tranquility, one of personal space and etiquette. One where you are not obliged to take initiative, nor polite conversations is really necessary.

The Slavic themed club seemed rather deserted when I walked in at midnight. It filled up to the brim by the time I gulped down my first drink. I was led to believe, that it is a rather European way, of socializing post mid night. I surely wouldn’t deny- I enjoyed my drinks, was on the floor a while, spoke to a few people.
“Hey, How is it going.”, she asked me.
“It’s good.”, said I.
“You shouldn’t mix your drinks like that.”, she said.
That was probably my first conversation in half an hour. Then we continued to dance. When I was hungry enough to eat a horse, and coincidentally, that happened at the same time when most people realized they needed to get back home, I made an exit.

“Donde esta aqui?”, he said.
“No foo, you just said ‘Where are here!’ It’s ‘Donde estamos?’”, said the girl.
“Yo, hombre. You tell her that I’m right.” And he glared at me.
I was the hombre. Well, I was once mistaken for the lawn guy, asked whether I was Mexican a couple times, and my friends do tease me a bit about it. A visit to Chipotle nearly convinced me of the Indian-Latino connection. But that’s a different story. “Yo no se espanyol, homie.”, I said and we had a good laugh. The rest of the ride, and after a long time, I enjoyed a light hearted 20 minutes of jibber.

I had been to the club with friends, and I was on the train with strangers. Strangely and trust me when I say it- the alcohol had nothing to do with it- I found better companions on the train ride than on the dance floor. I just might have found a better way to socialize, on trains, while I failed relentlessly over years, trying in bars and pubs.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see you back!
    I must admit that when I started reading this one, I was hoping for a short story but I am glad that it wasn't.
    I loved the way you connected the different pieces of the whole experience so well. The club scene, the metro journey, the observations, the conversation (or the lack of it?).
    The realization that sometimes it is easy to socialize in a train than in a club!

    Now I would appreciate more blogs for the month of July and so on.. :)