Wednesday, March 7, 2007

All the lonely people, where do they come from?

These lines from Eleanor Rigby came to mind as I sat on the bus yesterday. I think that people in the big city may be some of the loneliness people around. They all claim that they live in the city because they like human contact, but their actions don't show that. They put shopping bags on the seats next to them so no one will talk to them. They wear headphones so they have an excuse not to listen to what other people have to say. They walk with a purpose so no one will stop them. Sometimes, people even react to eye contact like it's a slap in the face.

Yet they still look empty and sad as they gaze fixedly out the window.

I am just as guilty of it, and sometimes cringe when I think of what the city has done to me. I no longer look people in the face when I walk by like I did back home, searching for a smile or some sign of recognition or interest. I get antsy when strangers start conversations with me.

I sometimes wonder how we meet new people in the city. Alcohol really does seem to be the only way that we feel comfortable to approach one another-- and usually our motivations are a little skewed by that point. I also wonder how the very same people who stay enclosed in their personal bubble the second they enter the public realm can be the very same people who go online in part of their search for contact. The real world is right outside our door, yet we choose to stay enclosed most of the time, whether by our headphones or in our apartments.

9 comments:

LMizzle said...

I mostly prefer my pugs over a lot of the people I meet, but sadly, my pugs do not blog.

Princess Pointful said...

OMG... they totally should!
Winston doesn't need obedience school- he needs typing class.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Hooray for beer!

More of it should be laid on at peace conferences. It would stop a lot of wars.

Then again, it might start a few. But only wars over which Kebab shop to go to at closing time.

Beth said...

Funny, we were just discussing this topic at my Book Club last night (the book was The History of Love by Nicole Krauss) - the number of people who live alone, are lonely and prefer living in the city. Perhaps it's the illusion of being a part of something even if you don't join in? They don't really want actual contact - simply an affirmation that they exist?
Living alone in the suburbs might be unbearable in comparison.

Ant said...

I love living in a city.

But it's taken me a while - I know of this anonymous loneliness amongst the thousands that you speak of. I like that too, but a lot of people don't, and continue to kid themselves...

John said...

I live in London. I don't like real people. They scare me. And it's all too obvious that I'm not a rocket driver. I mean, astro...thingy.

Bugger...rumbled in cyberspace too!

Eve said...

That's true, loneliness that comes from being around too many people is so strange.

I do love living in cities, though. There's nothing like being anonymous.

Princess Pointful said...

Ultra- And those wars are definitely much more justified, in the grand scheme of things.

Beth- That's interesting that you were having the same conversation. Is that book good?
I agree... maybe living in the city and the pretense of human contact allows these people to ignore how lonely they really are.

Ant- I'm really enjoying living in the city, too, especially coming from such a small town. I just find it all very ironic how it seems to be only the small town folk (like my parents when they come visit) who actually have the guts to say hi to random people or look them in the eyes.

John- What sorts of people do you prefer, then, hmmm?

Eve- I do like the flip side of all this, that is being anonymous once in a while. I love exploring a new area of town and people watching, making up stories about others, and pretending they are making up stories about me as well.

eric1313 said...

I know this well, too.

Seriously!

I'm from Cookeville, Tennessee, and lived for a shor time in Livingston, TN, not too far from there. Everyone smiles and waves to each other, everyone will say hello. I always joke that my family brought Tennessee with them when they moved north.

It was quite a culture shock, getting used to 'mean' people every day.

I'm still that way. It's just part of my personality to understand people if I can.

It all makes sense. Your a country girl. No wonder your like you are. See, like me, it's part of you. You're a diplomat because of it.

Don't feel so lonely. About two thousand miles away, there's another soul just like you.