I’ve never understood why people claim that New York City can be a lonely place; I’ve always found it extremely simple to foster new relationships here. Note: acquaintances, not friendships. But who needs more bothersome full-fledged friendships when you can make a new, red-hot acquaintance that feels like a life-long friendship every few blocks?
In New York City, you wait. You wait for the train, for the ATM, for the deli counter to be free, for the bus to make its lumbering path through Central Park. You also watch – dogs frolicking in the dog runs, college kids playing tambourine in the train stations, a raving man tear his way out of his wedding dress. You’re almost always alone at these insufferably boring or “believe-it-or-not” moments; no friends around to raise eyebrows at. You’re late to work and the train won’t come. You were just hugged by a red-haired woman screaming “I love New York!*” Desperately needing to discuss the situation at hand with someone, you catch the eye of a similarly bored/molested stranger.
“Get a load of this wait/traffic/screaming red-headed lady!” you say.
“Right?” They agree. It’s a match! Because these are the shared New York City experiences that bind, you’re best friends for the next 5 minutes. And what a heady, magnificent 5 minutes those are!! Never before on Avenue A have you been so in sync with a fellow line-waiter. You don’t know their name, but they’re laughing at your jokes, they’re just as angry/amused as you are, and most importantly, they don’t seem to be crazy. You could totally see yourself waiting on line with them again in the future – if not for the fact that once you get your sandwich, you’ll never see them again.
But you’re okay with that. After all, your relationship was what it was. And in the grand scheme of things, you’ll both be better off for the time you spent together.
*true story, from 2003