Alone in a Crowd

Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth.
For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures,
and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. - Sir Francis Bacon

This morning I attended a new parents' morning tea at my daughter's new high school. As I looked across the sea of parents and teachers sipping coffee, eating cake and chatting, I realised that I didn't know a single person.

I looked around to see if there were any other loners I might sidle up to, teacup in hand, but no, everybody was talking to somebody else. Nobody noticed me at all, and nobody ventured to speak to me. At that point I very nearly turned around and walked straight out of there.

Eventually I observed a couple of teachers with name badges and introduced myself. They in turn introduced me to several mothers and I made small talk to strangers for about half an hour before making my escape.

When my daughter came home from school I told her about my experience at the morning tea. She said that it had been the same for her; not knowing anyone, seeing groups of people who knew each other and wondering if she should - or could- break in and introduce herself. Knowing her strong and sociable personality I am sure she will make good friends quickly.

There are many good things about moving to a new city - being forced out of one's comfort zone; visiting new places; making new friends.

Yet over and over again there is that moment I think we all dread, being alone in a crowd and not knowing where to begin.

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