I’m feeling a little isolated here (okay, a lot), and decided I should put some effort into making friends outside my program. Progress on this remains to be seen, but I did sign up for a book group on topics in clinical psychology… Because I have so much reading all I want to do in my spare time is read more so I can meet people? Um… yeah, I guess….?
So I spent the end of this week frantically finishing a book in time for the meeting Saturday morning, while I should have been working on finals or reading for class or taking better care of myself (you know, like an adult). I rationalized that this book group thing, and the potential friends I would meet through it, were as important as all of those other things.
At 9 this morning I walked through the rain to Union Station, headed out to Maryland, and finished the book on the escalator at the Friendship Heights Metro station, minutes before the meeting was supposed to start. I went to the coffee shop where we were meeting, ordered my coffee, sat down with my “I’m-part-of-your-group” book out on the table so I’d be recognized, and waited. And waited until 10, 10:30, 11, carefully eying each customer to see if they might be who I was meeting. It was kind of like a blind date, and I wondered if the baristas thought I was, indeed, waiting for a date who wasn’t coming. How pathetic! I pretended to be engrossed in my article, but I’m sure the searching glance I gave everyone walking in betrayed my act. I waited. I double-checked the address and triple-checked it. I read for classes and ordered another coffee, wondering if maybe the time or location was changed and I didn’t get the memo. No one came. I was alone and lonely in a swanky suburb with a stupid name on a rainy day, feeling left out of a group I had barely joined. A group I had hoped would make me less lonely. Go figure. I headed home in the even rainier rain.
I anticipated homesickness as a result of moving, and I knew I’d miss my friends. I don’t know if I anticipated the loneliness. Somehow I’d forgotten how long and arduous a process friend-making is, even with school. I’d somehow blocked out my quickly abandoned efforts to make a life for myself in Fort Collins (where friends didn’t come easily and loneliness prevailed). It’s not quite like that here, in part because I’m committed to being here for longer, it’s about 24 times farther away, and I’m enjoying what I came here to do. But it’s not totally different, either.
Irony of ironies? Last night in my push to finish the book, I stopped by the coffee shop where I met the hipster girls a few weeks ago. I asked the one who was working how her business plan was coming, and we chatted a bit about DC and being new here, etc., and she invited me out for a drink later that night with her and the other hipster girl. “Oh, thanks, but I have to finish this book by tomorrow morning…” I answered.