Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

My mother is oftentimes trying to convince me to go out and do things by myself…as the ability to go out and do things by yourself proves you have a certain amount of self-confidence and pride and you aren’t a shrinking violet….or something like that. But…I have a really hard time doing stuff by myself – especially eating in restaurants…I feel like I could *never* eat in a restaurant by myself – the only thing I can do alone without obsessing about what people must be thinking of me is shopping…shopping is one of the few activities I prefer to do alone.

However…there have been a couple of examples over the past few days that make me wish I could do more stuff by myself without worrying what people are thinking of me.

My friend and I got tickets to LoveMusik and there was some sort of mix-up in the row behind us with two people who had tickets for the same seat. So…they brought in the house manager who looked at both of the tickets and then said to the poor man who was hoping to sit down, “Are you a party of two or three?” and he said, “Just one.” This poor little old man was there all by himself. And, on the one hand, I think it’s really great that he’s getting out and seeing a show as I know I wouldn’t go by myself no matter how badly I wanted to see something (unless Javier Lopez decides to write a musical in retirement…I might have to make an exception for that…). The rest of me wanted to turn around and sit down with him and befriend him, much like Kate Winslet did in that movie, The Holiday (I really *wanted* to like that movie…). And I’m sure he doesn’t need me…perhaps it’s one of those situations where it turns out I really need him and that provides some monumental insight into the inner workings of my psyche. Or something like that.

Then…yesterday was Bloomsday so we went to Symphony Space for a big whoopdeedoo reading…and there was a scrawny young guy ahead of us in line buying a ticket for himself. Later in the day, I saw him sitting alone with his copy of Ulysses in his lap, following along without a care in the world. I should confess I felt less willing to immediately befriend him – perhaps because I assume he at least has parents at home to talk to…whereas I’m afraid the older gentleman has no one to go home to…and I don’t even know why I feel sorry for them – I am perhaps the one to be pitied as I can’t bring myself to do what they do and am therefore far, far from self-actualization.

But I’ve actually started noticing people doing things by themselves now. There was a man at a Thai restaurant tonight, sitting in the window by himself, reading a book. I’m not even sure I could get coffee in the morning and sit in a cafe alone and not be squirming all over the place in discomfort…so…perhaps this should be my new project (I dropped the ball on the Southern Living recipe contest…)…

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