Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alone in a Sea of People

I actually like to go get a bite to eat on my own and have seen a few movies on my own. A few folks I know are amazed because they could never go out by themselves. I think that if there are things you enjoy and you want to do, why not do them! If you can get friends to come, even better.

Cities are funny places. You're not quite so alone in your neighborhood when you meet all the people that live and work in the establishments around you. I know the bartenders and the bagel makers as well as the local sushi chef. That last one is a bit hard since he notices when I don't come back every week and gives me a hard time. But cities are places you can do that. I certainly couldn't do that in Austin, at least not where I was living on 38th street. But my friends lived further away there as well, so I had to drive. Here many of my friends are within a bus ride or a short walk. Makes it easier to run into them unintentionally on the street, which always feels good.


davidj said...

I also live in such a neighborhood, where you can wave to a friend across the street and not feel the need to run over -- tomorrow, or Saturday, or some other time soon, we'll run into each other on the same side of the street, or the same subway platform, or in the same store. Chances to chat come along often enough that you don't need any special effort, even that of crossing the street, to make one.

rg said...

Yes! Running into friends/acquaintances when I am out and about is one of the things I love most about city living. I rarely go out without running into someone I know. I get the feeling that that does not happen to often in cul-de-sac/strip mall land.

transbay said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I sometimes actually prefer to go places alone. If you're by yourself, you're not already engaged, so it makes you more receptive to having random conversations with someone at a cafe or in the neighborhood.

ChiefJoJo said...

Totally agree! One of the best things about urban living is the option to live or go out alone and not *feel* alone. Most people need human interaction and connection, but you can have a sense of that in a city without totally giving up your privacy. It's this sense of social interaction that is easy to identify if you've experienced it, but it's hard (impossible?) to quantify as one of many benefits to urbanism.

One way I've heard these social/urban benefits quantified is as follows: it has been suggested that the maximum urban street width is the distance at which one can recognize a friend or neighbor in plain sight.

Any others?

Justin said...

I am travelling to Europe alone. I can do much more on my own. It's fun to be around friends, but I do schedule around them.

Matt Fisher said...

Justin, my man,

I have gone to Toronto and Montreal and Quebec City on trips of my own using trains. :) But this weekend, I will be going with my family into Syracuse. I like to have friends, but I am more of somebody alone.