When I was 22, I worked at McDonald's. It was the outlet in Chinatown, or more popularly known as the Petaling Street outlet in KL. It was a cramped 3 storey McD, which no longer exists now. One would have to go through the dizzying number of pirated DVD stalls at the mouth of Petaling Street just to get to the outlet's entrance.
The reason I'm recalling this stint is because I was reminiscing the last day I worked for that place. It came to mind as I was looking through photo albums of my contacts on WeChat. One of my WeChat friends uploaded yellowing old photos of him and his previous work buddies at their annual dinner, workplace and even makan session at KFC.
His caption for the photos caught my attention: Zaman paling best kerje kilang (the best times of when I worked in a factory). OK, that's why I thought about my own previous work experience, capisce?
Back to McD's. On my last day, I finished my six hour shift and clocked out. And then a colleague of mine--this really nice lady who travelled by bus from Bentong, Pahang to KL everday--treated me for a meal. It was my last day, after all and this sweet lady, who is a mother and wife and very very nice lady wanted to make my last day matter. Looking back at it now, I loved the gesture, and can appreciate it so much now. But back then, being the youngster I was, I really never thought much about such gestures.
You see, back in my teens and in my early 20s, I was very insensitive to my surroundings and was so self-absorbed to a point that I didn't really care what people around me think of me. I was so aloof that I was primarily thinking about myself all the time. I once disappeared when I was in outings with my friends. I mean really- I actually would do a disappearing act when I berjalan-jalan with my university mates when we went out to KLCC or the Mines or Bukit Bintang. Why? Because I just wanted to be alone, and I did not know how to tell them :"guys, I know I agreed to follow you out today. But I feel like shit and I just want to wander alone without you. See ya."
I digress again. Yes, back to the McD incident. This lady just wanted to say a proper good bye to me as it was my last day at McD's. And I remember how she managed to cram so much advice in such a short time while treating me for a meal.
"Adik jangan lemah bila berdepan dengan perempuan, ok."
"Adik kena kuatkan semangat, ya."
"Jaga diri, dan jangan kasi perempuan buli adik."
Woah. Now this is a women who knew me for probably just two or three months. But she earnestly- in all her wisdom as a worker and a mother perhaps- wanted to give me useful words as we parted. It's amazing how people can figure you out in short span of time, even if you are not so close to that person. I think it's called body language. It's called understanding people. Yes, spending time with someone-either working with them or travelling with them or living with them, can reveal a lot about that person.
Some people have a knack of figuring out someone just with a first impression. As they say, first impressions last. For me, well, I suppose I need spend more time and having more than just a first glance to figure out a person. I prefer to get to know a person by spending time together doing normal stuff- eating, watching movies, smoking, etc.
Honestly, I had many "not so good" first impressions of some of my very good friends. But my instincts for first impressions is way off as I guess, or I have a set of criteria that I still cannot explain of what constitutes a good friend to me. I suppose being able to yack about anything and everything and being very comfortable talking about anything makes a good friend- at least for me.
What I am trying to say is, I really really value my friends but sometimes I also value my alone time, maybe way too much.
As I get older, I find myself wanting to be less alone as compared to when I was a teen. Back then, I could spend days upon days being solitary. Now after spending several days alone I feel "one-kind."
Now that I have a boyfriend, I am generally not alone. But it sucks that he stays in a different city. I have friends over here who are lovely.