I took a walk by myself this evening. I walked up and down the streets of my neighborhood trying to catch eyes with strangers, a little bold I will admit, but no one wanted to connect. I thought about taking myself to the movies but then I realized I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to; which is actually counter productive to the movies, I know. I did run into a very tall man’s shoulder though, he wouldn’t get out of my way and I thought, “I should adjust my place in space and be consiterate.” But then, because I live in New York now, I thought: “F*** that, he can move around ME.” Well, needless to say, neither of us moved so I bounced off of him like a pinball and right into the glass door of a plant store. Don’t worry, I’m fine and no, no-one looked up.
This morning a man in a pink ski mask jumped in front of me on 34th St and said “Boo!!” and than ran away. In my mind I thought “I can’t believe I pay to live here. This has to be some sort of cosmic joke. I can’t WANT this. Who would want this?” Sometimes, I really hate New York. The grime and smell, the confusion from not being able to hear what the conductor on the subway is saying when you may or may not have gotten on the wrong train. The lack of bird noises, the the screaming children, the angry fed-ex guy laying on his horn. The tourists walking 4,5,6,19 across. And while I’m here why are the avenues so long? Why do we pay so much to rent these tiny cardboard boxes and call it living? Why do we wait 45 minutes in line at Trader Joes? Its absurd. Its ridiculous. Its unnecessary and burdoning and uncomfortable and trying.
Monday I got on the train to go home from work and I watched a young woman give up her seat to an old woman, who took out a book and started to read. I sat next to her then and asked about her book. She said something witty, her eyes crinkling up significantly and twinkling with such humor and intelligence and I laughed. When I looked across from me the 4 women, also coming home from work, were smiling at the two of us together. And I didn’t feel so alone in that moment.
When Sunday comes, it is so quiet. As though the city it’s self said “Slow down, sleep in, there is time.” And there is a whole district devoted to flowers! And one to fashion! And the holidays light this place up like a snow globe. The summer’s are grueling but the fancy drinks are incredible, and so is the ice cream. People kiss on park benches, people argue on subway cars. People cry openly and sometimes someone, a stranger, will hand you a tissue. Or help you if you fall. Or not step on you when you drop something. Or say they like your outfit. Or ask your name.
Like a lover, the city takes and gives equally; cruelly at times. It promises clarity and gives you cigarette smoke. It says “Dreams come true here.” and then makes you beg for it.
I don’t know.
But I was walking tonight to soothe myself, because my lonliness is deep rooted on this god forsaken island made of electrical grids and dashed hopes and laughter coming from rooftops and puppy’s wearing sweaters and trotting along past the library and the history of believing things will get better if you work hard enough. And amongst all the people that wouldn’t meet my eye; I found a rhythm of aloneness that was all my own. As if my instrument were added into the great symphony of taxi cabs honking and mothers herding children, and men on the phone getting dinner orders and bicycle delivery guys playing their music, my feet on the pavement: part of it. I am here, now.
I won’t be here forever. Here as in Earth. And here as in New York. In fact, I will be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy it at all. The city that is, not Earth. Earth I enjoy quite a lot. So I’m trying to be present. And I’m trying to be grateful in my aloneness. Which, as I am learning, is very different from being lonely.