Last month, I ventured a business in Florida, New York, that provides ample opportunities to cross paths with individuals I wouldn’t otherwise meet. The crossings last about ten minutes or thirty and usually spark conversations.
It reminds me of family reunions, when finally meeting spouses or children of distant, but known, relatives. Conversations begin with a mission to acknowledge parallels and oftentimes, similarities click, and fun ensues.
At the business, I cross paths with people on a quest to find a specific item. As if we’re on a treasure hunt together. We start yakking it up and before we know it, we’re practicing friendliness.
When it comes time to parting ways, I blurt, “Come back again and bring you friends.”
Naturally, many reply “I will.” But a few reply “I don’t have any friends.”
The statement, I don’t have any friends, may sound funny, but I don’t laugh. I don’t doubt them. I don’t call them back to probe their psyche. I don’t argue with them.
I nod at the revealing implication. It carries a tone of contentment, as if contentment is their friend.
To have the friend of contentment with one’s self and purpose at hand, goes against today’s definition of friend as broadcast by social media, which imposes the burden of numbering or trying to keep others happy.
Whereas, friends of contentment appear content with working and discovering, rather than with numbers or persons. This appearance begs the question, how do contentment and being solo connect?
Now, I’m not an etymologist but I feel as though the word solo is related to the word solitude. And when I think of solitude, I think of loneliness, however the statement, “I don’t have any friends,” can rebuke the lonely image of solitude.
I can feel lonely in a jam-packed audience of Elton John or at a family reunion where I feel misunderstood.
So, at and after these crossings, I continue mulling the statement, “I don’t have any friends,” as a sign, pointing to the friend of contentment with good-old fashion work and discovery. Whether I’m solo or surrounded by people.