As a newly bald guy, I noticed that I am more aware of other clean-shaven heads. Some acknowledge me with a nod or a smile, while others pass by, paying no attention. It reminded me of a Curb Your Enthusiasm TV series episode I once watched by chance. In it, the Larry David character is driving a Prius. This was back in the day when these cars were not commonplace on the road. Standing in a traffic light by another Prius, Larry waves to the other driver who completely ignores him. Larry’s wife, seated in the passenger seat, asks him what was that all about. Larry explains that there is a comradeship between all Prius drivers, though, of course, in that instance, it seemed that the other driver never read the memo…
Why do we have a need to belong? Be part of a certain a group, a religion; proud to be an American, British or German; unite with the fans of a specific sports team, a rock band? Quite a few years ago, I was a Hare Krishna follower, shaved head and all (minus the robes.) En route to another country, I run, while waiting on line at the airport, into a woman that was wearing a Tulasi beads necklace; a probable sign for her being another Hare Krishna devotee. “Hare Krishna,” I greeted her as is common among followers of that practice. She smiled widely and replied with a similar greeting; after which we pleasantly chatted for a while. For a fleeing moment we were connected, even though we knew not each other nor was it likely we will ever meet again.
I believe that the need to belong is our antidote to loneliness. Surrounded by family and friends, each and every one of us is still very much alone in the world. When, even if just for an instant, while driving on a highway, another driver waves at us with a sympathetic hello because we drive a similar car, or because have a Pink Floyd, Yoga or Scuba Diving sticker on our rear bumper, there is a sense of connection. The meteoric rise of Facebook and the numerous other social networks, serves as proof of how much we crave reaching out. Yet, the more we try to associate with others, the lonelier we feel deep inside. Why? Maybe because not until we stop fearing of being alone and truly embrace our singular existence, can we start seeing the bigger picture. In that large canvas we are always a distinct and unique entity, linked to everyone and everything in the universe. The moment we realize this, is the moment we can no longer hurt others, nor cannibalize the environment and practice various forms of abuse.
So next time I see another bald guy I’ll smile, but I would also beam mindfully at the African-American woman that drives a Prius, and even at the neighborhood’s stray cat.
Learned from: observing fellow bald guys