Friday, November 13, 2015

Passion Cannot Be Created

You never know what attracts people to you.

Take tonight's companion, for instance, whom I met through my blog after several comments on it about being impressed with my frequent solo excursions. Eventually we began taking occasional long walks together, but tonight was our first evening date.

I'd originally asked another friend, but after three nearly sleepless nights, he was too beat to accompany me, although not too worn out to call, curious about his replacement. Explaining who it was and how we'd met, he brightened up immediately.

"Oh, good!" he enthused. "You doing stuff by yourself was one of the first things that attracted me to you, too. That's perfect." So I had his blessing for the evening.

On a related note, my date had sent me a link just this morning, saying, "I saw this article and thought of you." Of course I would appreciate "Why Eating Out Alone Doesn't Have to Be Lonely," detailing how one woman ate thousands of room service meals while traveling before finally getting up the nerve to dine alone.

And while I don't even recall a time when I lacked that nerve, I could wholly relate to what she enjoyed about solo meals once she got on board, included striking up conversations with strangers around her, which resulted in her feeling more connected to the places she was visiting.

Works at home, too, my friend.

My only complaint with the piece was that it advocated resorting to technology ("Skim social media") as a means of easing the discomfort of eating alone in public. Perhaps the reason I need no cell phone is because I have none of said discomfort.

So while our common bond was my frequent time alone, tonight we were a twosome.

A working dinner (for me, anyway) kicked off the evening and provided a leisurely chance for us to do something besides walk next to each other and sweat for an hour and a half, our usual M.O. For that matter, it was the first time we'd seen each other in anything but walking clothes. I gotta say we look way better not sweating.

Although we both came with stories, hers were more fun, first because she shared an unlikely story of how she'd recently broken a dry spell in her love life and then because she told me about going to Kinston, N.C. to eat at Vivian Howard's Chef and the Farmer restaurant (but not alone), drink at Mother Earth Brewing and sleep at the O'Neill, once a bank (she showed me snaps of the massive vault) and now a very cool boutique hotel.

Where things got juicy was when we discovered we both have younger sisters with similar traits, you know, one-upmanship, competitiveness, just general pain-in-the-ass type siblings. Coming so soon after my sistertrip, it was cathartic to commiserate over how difficult they can be to deal with.

But the evening's true entertainment came courtesy of Cadence Theater Company's production of "Equus," a play neither of us knew anything about (other than Daniel Ratcliffe having played the lead in a recent Broadway revival), at the November Theater, a place my date had never been.

Wow, just wow.

While it may have been just a tad longer than it needed to be, it was powerful stuff well executed, which was no surprise given Cadence's record of thoughtfully chosen and creatively staged productions.

The story of a nearly burnt out doctor, disillusioned by where his life has ended up, treating a seriously disturbed 17-year old who has blinded six horses was mesmerizing, complex and provocative. I was immediately suspicious of the parents, an overly strict father and a crazy religious nut mother.

Because the boy deifies a particular horse, galloping wildly on him every three weeks, the doctor - who acknowledges he leads a passionless life -  is hesitant to rob him of that passion. "My achievement, however, is more likely to make a ghost!" he bemoans of  "curing" the boy.

To add to the enticing visuals, both acts began with a dance sequence suggesting the abandon of horses let loose, performed by actors playing horses in wire horse head masks crafted by local sculptor Paul diPasquale.

By the end of the play, the actors looked as drained as the audience felt, a fatigue well-earned by the challenging theatrical journey we'd all been on. I have a feeling this is a play that will linger in my mind, so I'm hoping other friends see it so we can discuss it further.

But no discussion is required to establish my favorite line. We keep saying old people are square. Then when they suddenly aren't, we don't like it.

Amen. I kept writing how much I enjoyed doing things by myself. Then when people suddenly wanted to do things with me, I liked it, too.

Is it square to hope that they were attracted to my passion?

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