Chapter Two: Common Interests

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Having navigated, and been slightly disappointed by, the marginally awkward investment of finding friends online, I decided to set my sights towards the world outside my bedroom walls. This, when finding friends and navigating the world in general, is always a good first step.

One of the more difficult parts of this experiment was attempting to find companionship without relying on my network of other friends. I go to social gatherings and parties held by friends fairly often and I like to think I’m imbued with a healthy appetite for mingling. As a result, I usually find I can generate a good conversation with at least a couple of the people I meet.

However, the feeling of an organic platonic connection with a stranger is always a nice one and it is markedly difficult to find avenues as a 20-something to have that which doesn’t involve school, work, or wanton alcohol abuse.

I think a good way to generate a rapport with someone is to find a common interest. I have always looked at the act of redirecting people, especially newcomers to the city, to places where they can indulge their interests in a public forum as my way of giving something back to my community.

In Ottawa, these interests and public forums can manifest themselves in the form of libraries and coffee-shops like Black Squirrel for book lovers, poetry readings at the Clock Tower Brew Pub or Pour Boy for poetic sorts, the monthly life-drawing session at the Atomic Rooster for artists, to name a few locations. And for arcade gaming, pinball and live music, there’s the ever-stylish House of TARG.

Despite its rough-and-tumble exterior and leather-wearing clientele, I find TARG one of the friendliest bars in Ottawa. I fondly remember playing a shooter game with a complete stranger at a Lemmy Kilmeister memorial show last January. The fun I had with him and the blaring volume of In Heat playing Ace of Spades is not a memory I’ll soon forget. TARG has an event for almost every night of the week and they usually attract a variety of people brought together by good music, fast-paced pinball and a stellar perogie selection.

For those willing to make the trip, pay the cover and stick a toe outside the comfort zone of the traditional, it’s a lively and non-judgmental place to check out local shows, which can result in meeting new people.

After all, the first part of meeting new people is to make yourself available to them in the first place.

Alex Sundaresan

Operating under the nom de plume, "Legion," Alex Sundaresan is a writer/poet/cartoonist based in the city of Ottawa. He has a strong interest in, and is drawn towards, the strangebeing somewhat strange himself. Hoping to gain work one day as a graphic novelist, Sundaresan spends his days in search of good stories and good company.

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I moved to Ottawa when I was eight years old. The first friend I made in school was named Michael - a quiet and withdrawn kid with glasses. We hung out at recess, talking mostly about video games. Over time, I got to know another kid named Scott, someone I first met when I was eating lunch and overheard him ranting about the trans-fats in his animal crackers. He was one of the most articulate and knowledgeable kids in our grade, although he did have a habit of going on tangents.

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