sunday afternoons//vanity

I love gloomy Sundays. Sleeping in, running in the rain, sitting in coffee shops reading, writing, reflecting on the world and my part in it. I was doing just that today, from the second story window of the coffee shop, I watched rain trickle down the window, bodies scatter beneath umbrellas, and taxis round the roundabout like a carousal. The man next to me removed his earphones and asked if I was a musician, a writer, or both. I laughed and said neither. He was an older man, maybe mid 40’s, well dressed with sophisticated glasses. He was from Lebanon, had a thick book and a name I couldn’t spell. We start talking. Turns out he is a Cal alumni and moved to DC a couple years ago. I laughed at how small the world is and how comforting meeting people from the same path can be. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how people are so different out here. But have failed to out my finger on exactly what it is that distinguishes them. Lebanese man explicated it quite beautifully. He says people out here are vain. That they are all running around Washington thinking they’re going to be the next Obama. That they are driven by the desire to be acknowledged, for vanity. And he says behind all of that is a foundation of insecurity and loneliness. His eyes are genuine and green. He motions around the cafe and says “look at all these people, they come here because they are lonely. They come here and sip their coffee just to be around other people, but none of them bother to engage in conversation.” I smile in agreement. We talk about how being at Berkeley changes you. You start to realize the significance of talking to others. Even if its about the most frivolous things. You realize the absolute worth of other human beings, despite their career title, ethnicity or political affiliation. Because by doing that, you gain perspective. You broaden the definition of who you are. And I think that is so beautiful and true.

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