Stories from London: The Violinist

While I’ve been writing about the rise of loneliness and our social disconnectedness, I’ve personally been putting into practice what I write about. I’d intentionally strike a conversation with a random stranger - a person sitting next to me in the underground tube, someone standing next to me in the national gallery, a person sharing a table in a restaurant or the national library with me, and from that 15-20 minutes, sometimes longer conversation, I’d learn so much about the person that by the end of our interaction, he/she doesn’t seem like a stranger anymore.

British Library.jpg

Today I learnt that an English lady who has lived in London for over 20 years has never stepped foot in the British Library where we met. Me, being a non UK resident, has probably been to the British Library more times than a regular Londoner. She’s a violin teacher who’s currently taking up Christian studies and learning about Catholicism, being Anglican herself, out of her own interest in how the Catholic saints shape Christian world views; she’s also interested and joins a Bulgarian choir singing group (she’s English, not Bulgarian, but why the Bulgarian association? She once spent some time in Eastern Europe in advancement of her violin and classical music training and stumbled upon Bulgarian choir singing which struck her as beautiful). When asked how did she find the Bulgarian choir singing group, she found it on Google. I then proceeded to tell her about where you could find and join interest groups easily.  

I mention this to highlight a few salient points:

  1. Humans crave comfort and familiarity - it takes effort to step out of our comfort zone. She has lived in London for over 20 years and have never visited the British Library until today - me, a non-resident of the UK who flew over 5,000 miles to London visits the British Library more frequently than a local Londoner would.

  2. Humans are resourceful - if we desire something enough, we would look intently for it. Despite not hearing of and being aware of which facilitates the ease and convenience of finding and joining an interest group in major cities in the world including London, New York, San Francisco and I’m sure many more, she found a niche interest group, i.e. Bulgarian choir singing, via Google.

  3. In summary, left to their own devices, humans survive anyhow, anywhere. As long as we are functional human beings, we survive our inner enemies that attempt to cripple and hold us captive.