I started chatting in college during those late nights when I was bored. At first it seemed romantic—the possibility of meeting and talking to people I had never met and most likely would never meet; maybe even spark up a dalliance of sorts. I soon found myself intrigued more by the prospect of learning how people live; of seeing through someone else’s eyes.
I still chat now but not quite as often. I tend to bounce around different nationality, language, jazz and university rooms; giving wide berth to the romance rooms.
Through it all, I have discovered one heartbreaking fact: people are lonely. I don’t mean I-have-friends-but-no-one-can-go-out-tonight lonesomeness. I mean straight out, I-have-NO-friends-and-you-are-my-bestest-buddy-please-marry-me-and-come-to-my-country madness.
I have been propositioned more times than I count to be someone’s
Yes! The sex one annoys me, the girlfriend perplexes me but the soul mate—that worries me.
In one encounter, a certain gentleman informed me he was on business in England working on a deal to enhance his call center back in India and could take an extended leave of vacation if I would agree to spend time with him showing him around the city! He would book a hotel room that I would share with him while he was in town. Was he serious enough to have followed through? I didn’t want to know.
Or the 42 y/o divorced Brit architect/construction worker living in Manchester who wanted my snail mail address so he could send me roses. (Uhm, no as lonely as I was and as sweet as that sounded, I didn’t send it to him).
What about the Indian man (Please don’t ask me why it’s always a Desi or a Pakistani!!! Contrary to popular belief I AM NOT a Desi boy magnet) living in Bahrain who informs me that he has never met anyone like me, knows that I am meant for him and attempts to make me jealous by telling me of a certain young lady who fancies him and whom he meets only to find out she’s a prostitute and sho nuff wants her money for her services!!!
You wouldn’t believe how appalled he was that after believing she liked him for himself (pursued him with reckless abandon online), meeting with her in a secluded place and “not meaning for things to get that far” she would have the unmitigated gall to demand his hard-won cash! Frankly, I almost died laughing.
Then there’s the Nigerian student teaching English in rural China (how he got there is between him and God)—depressed because there’s nothing exciting to occupy his spare time and wondering how he’s going to acquire enough money for a visa to the United States?
Or the Ghanaian who wants to know if I can introduce him to someone in the US who can help him in his business?
You wouldn’t believe all the things people have said to me online! So why do I go back?
Because of the 40something year old married Australian truck driver with three kids who now drives cross town instead of cross-country because he wants to be closer to his wife.
Then there’s the 24 y/o Moroccan who has elected to stay at home to take care of his aging widowed mother while his siblings live their own lives because he believes that success in life comes partly as a result of the sacrifices we make for our family and for duty. In his case there are very few job opportunities in his town so he’s sacrificing a career to take care of his mother.
Or what about the random 26 y/o Egyptian (who got my eccentric brand of chatting) who used to work in a travel agency but after 9/11 was fired because the Egyptian tourism industry took a nose dive and is now looking to emigrate to Canada.
So I still chat because of those few individuals who make me laugh when they share a little bit of their life.
But I guess the reason I’m even bringing this up has to do with a most recent online chat acquisition of a fellow physician in Pakistan (again, please don’t ask I think I was in the Swedish room). And after reading our most recent interaction I think you’ll be just as freaked out as I was; but you don’t have to take my word for it……(it’s rather long so I’ve posted it in a new entry)