Dear Elly G,
I just spent the past half hour sitting next to someone, first on the train and now while waiting for the next bus, fighting the irritation I often feel when someone I don’t know persists in staying beside me. I don’t know exactly why I get irritated about this – for a city dweller, it’s an irrational sort of reaction – but I feel it anyway.
I particularly dislike it when the train empties, freeing other seats and the person beside me continues to linger. Nothing suggestive, no looking down my cleavage, nothing like that. They just stay on, ignoring the obvious other options. It makes me feel crowded, hemmed in and irritable, and this probably makes me an asshole, but I like commuting with my bag on the seat beside me.
It made me remember last weekend’s road trip and the feeling of dread when faced with a vast expanse of grass and no human in sight. I don’t particularly enjoy too much solitude either. It’s almost as if I can’t stand being around people for too long, but I need them about me, milling around, creating that unique sort of hum that I crave, the way I sometimes turn on the TV just to have something playing in the background. It’s the comfort of white noise.
I moved to Toronto to escape the relative stillness of suburbia. But my attempts to reach out and connect have been half-hearted because I like having my own space, and as you know, I have little patience for bullshit.
I know we can’t have everything. I suppose when it comes right down to it, I’m happier in a big city than I would be in a small town. But who knows? I might surprise myself and end up owning a vineyard out in the middle of nowhere.