Are we all connected?

As you all know already, because I go on about it in my book Octopus on Treadmill, personal relationships are very important to me and I actively cultivate these relationships. I tried to schedule in a lunch or dinner once a month with a friend. Last night I was meeting one of my friends whom I haven’t seen since Christmas. We had been trying to schedule a dinner for about month but what with launching the book and all that, life became extremely busy suddenly. Still, my personal relationships are important to me so as soon as we both had a window that worked, I jumped at the chance.

It was nice to catch up. She had news and I had news. She picked me up from home and she was delighted with what I was wearing. This might seem like an odd statement but let me explain. This friend of mine whom I have known for about 15 years, always insists on giving me clothes. She claims I am the only person she knows who is smaller than her, I am not so sure about that, but I go along with it. So, what I was wearing yesterday, the top was one of her cast offs and so was the jacket. I didn’t just wear them because she was coming, I wore them because that was what had jumped out at me from the wardrobe, not to mention that the jacket is actually my favourite jacket. The night got off on good footing with wardrobe checked. She had bought a new car since I last saw her, so I got to ride in her lovely new car and tried very hard to not press all the shiny buttons to see what they did, and believe you me there were a lot of buttons.
I picked the restaurant and she was really happy with the choice when we got there, after having to fight with the door to get in. There were three doors and we a bit of job finding out which one was the correct door! The food was lovely, the soft-shell crab I ordered was to die for and she loved everything that she ordered. We discussed everything from men, to children, to food to dogs to work, the book, of course the book, and then surprise surprise we came back full circle to men.
As far as I was concerned, I was taking care of the part of my life that lists personal relationships as a fundamental need. The connectedness we feel from personal relationships battles loneliness which by the way has a higher probability of killing us than smoking! So how arduous was it to fulfil this need? Yes, a bit of planning and juggling was required but it was worth it. I got affirmed by her on so many levels and I hope I did the same for her. I got to play dress up and she felt validated by it not to mention saving the environment by recycling her clothes through me. She had changed the colour of her hair since I last saw her and I loved that too. My dogs got in on the action as well as she gave me pointers on how to address Sparky’s suspected arthritis.
Are we all connected? Let’s go back to the wardrobe again. Bear with me, this is not as random as it may sound. I have already mentioned that my friend gives me lots of clothes. I of course don’t even wear half of them because our tastes are quite dissimilar. She has always assured me that the ones I didn’t use, I could give to charity. I was approached recently by an organisation in Africa that does outreach work in poor rural villages about mobilising my friends and family here to give their used but good items of clothing and anything else for that matter to them to use for their outreach work. Now we have all gone and left black bags full of stuff outside our local charity shops and wondered if they would still be there by the next morning and if they were who ultimately benefited from the items. There was something about the approach from this particular charity that made me feel like whatever I gave was going to get to the poor people who needed it most. So, I told my friend about the fact that I am mobilising friends and family to give me used clothing for this charity and now she is going to tell her sister and her mum and dad as well.
So, are we connected? We absolutely are. I had dinner with my friend, everyone in my immediate family including the dogs were impacted by that dinner because they were discussed and therefore it is going to affect my behaviour. Her family are going to be impacted because they are now going to start contributing clothes to some remote village in Africa they have never heard of. People in some remote village in Africa are now going to start wearing clothes that might have ended up in a charity shop in North London. As for the people who normally shop in the charity shop in North London, I can only apologise profusely that our paths crossed through a conversation at dinner with my friend.