Being single in the city is a curse. People notice you.
You stick out like a sore thumb. They take pity on you. Trying to figure out what your flaws are and if you’re loneliness is contagious and if they’ll catch it. It’s something I’ve noticed from the moment I arrived. Wandering the streets you see couples and good friends walking closely compacted trying to stick together. When they see you approaching they can’t help but wonder why you are alone.
And when I say single, I don’t just mean dating. It seems that most of the population of New York works on—at the very least—a buddy system. Almost as if you were caught out in the open, untethered to another body, you might just very well float away into the ether.
I get it though. Experiences are better shared; there's no denying that. And I find that even though the nature of The Big Apple perpetuates dependency, it's the reason why it functions so well. Because we all need to be connected to survive. We rely on each other in capacities that we rarely think about in the day to day hustle and grind. But we seek out companionship and love while saying 'I am independent' or 'I don't need anybody.' But just the opposite.
Bill Withers said it best.
Now I didn’t start this post with the intention of getting into some existential discussion of human nature or the universe. But this might get a little convoluted, so bear with... What I am trying to do is explain that being alone in this particular city can be a real bitch. Sometimes you just don't know what to say to people and when you get a chance, and you can end up forgetting. Most of the talking you hear on the streets is a woman talking to her boyfriend about her other friends, or co-workers hashing out job related grievances. It can be a teen on a Samsung screaming at her mom. It doesn’t matter who it is or what the blabs’ about, just that it's communication. Often self-absorbed. But communication nonetheless.
What I have a hard time doing is instant messaging, and texting, and everything that involves 'lol'ing and using parentheses to make smiley faces. I find myself doing it almost unconsciously and I realize that these ridiculous extras are now almost required in order for my meaning to not misconstrued. Whereas if I was face to face with a person he or she might realize I'm trying to be anything but an asshole. 'Face booking' has become a virus that has infected real language creating new ways of expressing ideas that resemble caveman speak a hell of a lot more than real spoken word. And like any virus, it will continue to evolve and spread and probably take over the world killing us all, and in which case... No..The World will not ‘brb.’
I miss real human connection. A good cd and a drink.
But when it comes to finding a date here in the real world you have a better chance at a loud busy Village establishment then the normally quiet subway commute. Liquor helps, but it is at best a crutch—holding up our real desire to meet and mingle in a real significant way. Since I'm new to the city things have been different. My social database doesn’t mean shit, and my old comrades, who do live in the city aren’t really accepting applications at the moment. MySpace doesn’t mean much when you've been away at college for half a decade. You’re either part of the crowd, or you’re not. And I have yet to find my niche here.
So how does this tie in with my original point?—the people who are already tethered are the fortunate ones. I think my past prevented me from securely attaching myself to the real world. I only thought I did. And now having arrived back here into reality, everything I see has changed.
People are afraid of new experiences, new encounters and new information.
With each passing stare I see a little less human nature and more basic animal instinct.
Reactions are now unconscious, and automatic.
External to ourselves.
Am I threat?
Or am I just in the way?
More on this later perhaps…
Posted by G. Shaw at 3:31:00 PM