Reading Cary Tennis this morning, I see the following:
“You experience isolation and loneliness. At first, you think the antidote will be a person. So you seek a person. But contact with one person will not solve it. Two isolated people fleeing their isolation is not a cure. Isolation is a problem of pattern and structure, of temporal and spatial arrangements. Isolation occurs because the patterns of your life don’t bring you into contact with enough like-minded individuals on a regular basis in a comfortable, low-intensity setting. That’s what you need. It’s called regular life, or street life, or family. It’s a structure, or pattern.”
I need to do this, too.
Wait. Maybe I already have this?
I have regular places I go, places where I know their names, and they know mine. Outside of work, I am a part of a community of people, my beloved Sellwood.
I know the two Daves at the corner market – one Dave is only ever seen at work behind the counter, or coming from or going to the Black Cat tavern, the other Dave is funny and diabetic, and recoils in horror when I come in late at night to buy donuts.
I know Nicole at the coffee shop is nervous about her upcoming wedding, and Nicole’s mom, Sandra, was upset last week because the new girl she was training decided she didn’t think she could hack it.
I know that the video store was closed for several days without notice a couple of weeks ago, and have been meaning to stop in and ask C.J. what was up.
I know that Stacy left one waitressing job to work at a different bar in a different neighborhood, and yet at the end of a long day she still comes back to her first bar for a beer before going home.
And I know that Brewster still annoys me, daily, by making the same joke at the end of the day about the day being over. Brewster, who was evicted from my building (and I secretly rejoiced) and who then convinced another tenant, Peggy, to let him stay there, somehow, using some level of charm to which I appear immune.
I know more. I could go on.
But why doesn’t this feel like a community to me? Why do I still feel disconnected? They’re all part of the landscape of my life. But few of them feel like friends. I share chit-chat with them. I make small talk. I make note of their daily comings and goings, as I assume they take note of mine. But few of them are people I could share things with, personal things. Could I talk to them of my fear of dreaming of something for years and failing (like Mark in that documentary I saw), or about the non-existence of God, or how sad I was that Smacky ran away.
Or maybe I can, and I just haven’t taken that step.
Maybe I just need to take the next step.
Introducing stupid boy project #2: building a community.