Monday, March 16, 2009

The stranger in the corner

Sometimes I think I have multiple personalities. I enjoy being around people - as well regularly needing time to be alone. I can be in a crowd of friends, but my mind and heart are somewhere else seeking for a place where I am alone and just enjoying the peace. But that does not mean that I am bored, I just let my mind wander off, many times. Many friends think it is easy for me to make friends while in actual fact I find it annoying to 'network' and mingle like in those standing parties. I always wonder how some people can just walk up to someone he or she does not know, say something and just have a conversation. I can never do that. And usually in situation like that I will work hard to find any excuse to get myself out of it.

Yesterday - I was trapped. My daughter's friend had her birthday party at one of McDonald's outlet, in Kemang. In the past, we got away with not coming to a few invitations because we had something else to attend. This time, I could not avoid it. And now that Tara knows a lot more, I could not get away from her request to meet up with her friends.

Actually there are two reasons why I always avoid these parties. One, because I don't support the idea of having kids' (= up to 5 years old) birthday parties in fast food outlets cause they will have a lifetime chance to poison themselves later, so why should we do it to them at that early age. Plus I always prefer a more homey, warm, feel to parties – especially birthdays. Two, because I know I will be tortured having to mingle with the moms who I never met. In Tara's 2 years of schooling, I never even once sat down with these moms. Of course because I work so I don't take Tara to school regularly. But even when I was on leave and took her to school - I preferred to wait for her in a coffee shop, doing something than mingling with others.

Not that I do not find it useful to make friends – but I just cannot start a conversation easily. And rather than having those awkward moments of silence, I would rather do something.

So yesterday, I was trapped in that necessity to mingle with ‘strangers’. That awkward silent moments after the first introduction, after the usual change of words about where we live, how old is our child, and all that stuff, really killed me. So finally I retreated and stayed away from those moms – who already knew one another because they apparently regularly take their kids to school. And finally I found myself a spot where I could sit and watch people as well as watch Tara having fun with her friends.

And that was when I wondered – have I actually missed anything by not being in that crowd?. A lot of my friends who are a part of the parent and teacher association, have shared some stories with me. Right now, I am of the belief that I have not missed anything. But, maybe my belief will change somewhere down the line...let’s see. Comes the time Tara gets into the kindergarten, I am sure I will have to experience that. And to be a part of the group and not being the ‘stranger in the corner’ on birthday parties.

Oh well....I still have 3 months to enjoy my space. And till then I don’t mind being that stranger.


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