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A rainy date with myself

Posted in Things We Love

rain roomI often think cities are best explored in solitude. The hustle and bustle, the myriad unknown bodies scuttling about, rushing somewhere, the traffic, the cacophony of noises create a barrier that invariably makes me look in. At the same time, when walking around without the company of a friend, or anyone with whom conversation is sustained, I find it easier to notice.

Let it be said I have no eye for the detail, and I have found it useful to have my companions point things out to me I might have otherwise missed, but the experience of savoring a walk, a park, a monument, a museum, a movie, even a restaurant, in solitude, offers a deeper experience, maybe because all the senses are focussed on the task at hand.

I honor a long tradition of solo dates, born of circumstances: in San Diego, when I first moved and didn’t know a soul, I set out to discover the city on my own. Or in Los Angeles, when I was stuck working every weekend, and found myself with no one to play with on Monday mornings. I still went out. I savored the experiences so much that, even now that I have plenty of people to ask, I still take myself on solo dates.

A few months ago I booked a ticket for the Rain Room, an art installation at Los Angeles County Museum, just for myself. I picked a day and a time that suited me and, last Monday, off I went. Alone.
I was early and the security guard told me the place was uncharacteristically empty, and did I want to go in ahead of my scheduled time?

rain roomPicture a cavernous black room, with one single glaring spotlight, where it rains the sort of tropical downpour that would get you soaked in under two minutes. Imagine walking slowly through it and, as if by magic, just where you are, the rain stops.

Is is art? I am not sure. More a feast of well-functioning sensors. But exhilarating nonetheless. Who hasn’t wanted to experience rain without getting wet, at least once?

When I went in, three old people were milling about, taking photographs. Two girls came in after me smiling, their shadows dancing on the walls.

rain roomI stood, surrounded by a wall of rain on all sides, and grinned, an occasional drop falling on my arm. When I left, I meandered through the permanent collection, looking for my favorites Miro’ or Picasso. I sat on a bench, in the sun, reading emails. I did not linger over a coffee or a drink.

rain roomWould have I enjoyed it more had I had company? It would have simply been different. It was only a couple of hours out of my day, at my own pace, without mediating the experience with someone else’s expectations and, sometimes, it is all it takes, especially for introverts like me, to recharge enough the face the world.

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10 Comments

  1. Sometimes I prefer to go out on my own because it’s just easier – don’t have to organise or coordinate plans with other people. A lot of friends I know say they feel uncomfortable eating out alone, but it doesn’t bother me, so I try to encourage them not to be afraid. Too bad I can’t be there to help them through it (for obvious reasons)
    Btw, this rain room sounds like a fun experience! If only real rain worked that way, and we didn’t have to bother with umbrellas…

    April 16, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I don’t get people who cannot go to restaurants and movies alone. I love it and have been doing it since I was very young. At first, a book might help to get over the idea of sitting around at a table alone. But I am quite happy to sit and watch.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
  2. Solitude is often a friend of choice, whether it be exploring the city, an art exhibit, or on a lingering walk with Sam. Not having a companion for so many years trained me to savor those quiet times when one is alone with one’s own thoughts and allowing for a comforting reflection on the world around me. Bravo for continuing to relish those alone times while enjoying life around you. ღ

    April 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I have seen so many people, without a companion, just shut a large chunk of life out, preferring to stay home, watch tv or just not take any more leaps. It’s not easy not to feel alone when we live alone, especially as we get older, and I am so glad to see more and more women who either choose to be alone or make the best of their situation.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
  3. I visited the rain room in NYC a few years ago. A surreal experience.

    April 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Weird eh? Not sure it was worth the price of the ticket but it was fun. And it made for a different afternoon.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      If you do, please report back.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply
  4. “Let it be said I have no eye for the detail,” Yes you do! And you describe all writers’ need for solitude. Both attribute and habitude make your writing so worth reading everyday 🙂

    April 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      As always, way too kind.

      April 16, 2016
      |Reply

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