Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The City for the Buildings

It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.

(Crash, 2004)

Ever see that movie? I love it. It's like a big lesson of "what goes around comes around" and this one is crashing into that one who's crashing into the other one, who is crashing into the one who initially crashed into the first one. Confusing, right? It's like that in New York too. We get up, we go to work, we go home to an empty apartment. Maybe feed a cat. Perhaps send a few emails. Watch Jimmy Fallon or whomever the late night tv show host is. Turn off the light. Go to bed. Alone. Wake up. Alone. Take a shower. Get dressed. Go to work again. Go back home to an empty apartment. And the cycle repeats.

Lately I've been taking an inventory of my relationships. Not necessarily romantic relationships. But all of my relationships. Who do I attract to me? What kind of people do I seek out? What kind of people seek me out? What are my interactions like? Do I crash into people just so I can be touched? When can I go to Ohio again just so my mom can hug me? Who do I touch in New York? Do I touch people's arms simply when I speak to them? Are some interactions different with different friends? Which friends do I call for what reasons?

Recently I met someone. We locked eyes and I was smitten. We had a fun flirty interaction for a few weeks. He was affectionate and I literally crashed into him. We laughed. We texted. We talked. We hung out together. But now, Now it's just the cold shoulder. What the heck happened? What do I do differently? What should I have done differently? Who is going to hug me now? What friend can I call to help me figure this all out?

This weekend I rented a car and drove out of the city to South Jersey. My friend Jeff whom I was visiting advised me to be a bit more Buddhist about this. Nothing to analyze here. It is what it is. Let it be. Don't *DO* anything.

Let me point out, Jeff and I are eerily similar. Both of us are Cancers. We met 10 years ago when I was a traveling consultant for my sorority and he was a traveling consultant for his fraternity. A new college campus every five days. 90% travel. As we each traversed the US and Canada visiting different universities, we would occasionally bump (crash!?) into each other. I moved to Illinois and he happened to be visiting the campus where I was attending grad school. Then he moved to Miami and I moved to New York. Recently he moved back to South Jersey where he grew up and met the love of his life (actually they had met before, but they re-met when he came back). Jeff is now engaged to Missy, who couldn't be any sweeter. They are a perfect balance for each other. But there was a time when Jeff used to experience the same "relationship conundrums" that I experience. He gets it. And he used to react to things the same way that I do, because we are both Cancers.

So I am taking his advice and doing nothing at all concerning the confusing situation aforementioned.

I am taking a step back. I am not analyzing. I am going to try not to crash into anyone. I'm just going to let the cards fall as they may. No sense in planning, nor over-analyzing any of this.

And you know what? I get so caught up in what I'm doing, that I forget the big picture. Sometimes I am focusing way too much on specifics and missing the point. So as I was on my way to return the car, driving along the FDR, admiring the skyline against the East River, watching the reflections of the buildings dance on the murky rippled water, I began thinking. And I adapted the familiar old adage to suit my urban environment:

Sometimes I forget to see the city for the buildings....