So i was at a restaurant/bar friday night and had an experience worth relating in a yoga context. The place was crowded and there were few places to sit, but it appeared otherwise in pockets across the bar. Smokers leaving their posts to go outside for a few minutes created the appearance of vacant spots.
Not yet having made the connection between vacant seats and smokers outside, my girl friends spotted a long table manned by four guys. The table was long enough to seat 8-10. I walked up to the table and asked if we could share the table, offering to sit at one end while they sat at the other. One of the guys (who were all straight) immediately said no, we actually have people here; they are just outside for a few minutes.
As we then stood nearby this relatively empty table and then watched the smoker-guys (no women) return, my friends and i reflected on how interesting it is that people go out to meet peoplebut when given the opportunity to do so, they often stick to what they know. We agreed that this felt like a dc, or perhaps more broadly, an east-coast phenomenon. In our respective hometowns, for example, we felt the men would have been friendlier in this case. As in, three small women sharing a long table with a bunch of guys could actually have been fun.
The ego-rejection part of this story is uninteresting to me, because rejection happens all the time (it always hurts, though, right? Rejection, an act, has suffering, a feeling, on speed dial). Whats more interesting to me is how strong the feeling of separate-ness i feel, observe, and hear from other people in dc all the time. Are we all so tired from our jobs, lonely from having moved so far away from home, anxious about being rejected ourselves, that we cant just be friendly and offer up a little bit of space?
Do we feel we have fought so hard for personal space that we find it difficult to share?
Here are some solutions ive come up with: look everyone in the eye that i talk to now. Listen and see more. In the wake of experiences like this bar-based one over the weekend (and to debunk the myth: yes, yoginis go to bars and drink sometimes), my intention is to examine how i respond to someone i dont know, whether its on the metro, at boundless, at a parking spot im giving up. Whatever. I just want to be nicer, and meet nicer people.