It has been over a year since I have seen the smile of a stranger. This is something that troubles me and intrigues me at the same time. It is the little things that we take for granted and miss the most. I don’t know why something has to no longer be accessible to us in order to notice it’s abscence. Once you do notice it, it seems to be all that you can think about. It has been over a year since I have seen the smile of a stranger and I sometimes go through old videos on my phone or youtube videos posted pre-pandemic to remember what it was like to see a full face in public.
There was a time where people watching was my favorite thing to do. Maybe it is because I am a writer that I find it necessary. Maybe I tell myself that it’s necessary to write or perhaps the truth is that I do better with people by watching them instead of interacting with them. All of the above could possess some sort of truth and I don’t find it important to decide which is more likely. What I know is that I miss watching the world from my corner of it. I miss sitting still as the world moved, the protest in that was quite the thrill.
Lately I have missed Telegraph avenue more than I have missed other streets. I don’t miss walking there or driving there, I just miss being there. I miss watching life happen through the window of Peet’s Coffee at night. The orange and red lights reflecting on to the streets, breathed a sense of life into me. It is important to feel a sense of life when you know that death will come for you one day. I also think that it is important to note that I am not a fan of Peet’s Coffee. I am however a fan of it’s location and I like that up the street are some of my favorite spots.
I did not have much of a social life before the pandemic and I do not believe that I will pursue one heavily afterwards. I do however wish to try to make a friend. I have had people that I have spent time with, called on the phone but I have not felt the feeling of true friendship. I am quite the lonely person and I am not saddened by this truth, I understand it. I am not sure if this is because nothing about me seems to fit into the “normal” category. I am unsure if it’s because I am what some people consider “intimidating”. Perhaps, I am just lonely because I find the world to be a very cruel and uncomfortable place to be in. Which of course will lead me to people watching from windows instead of engaging with them.
I have found more in common with fictional characters inside of books than I have with people. It is because of this that libraries and bookstores are my favorite place to be. I love going to coffee shops because nobody questions why you’re alone if you’re there,They just see you as a person drinking coffee. I listen to melancholic playlist because I am fascinated how the music itself can express how I am feeling without using words. It is quite amazing to hear your feelings through strings and piano. I love going to contemporary art museums in hopes of seeing a rothko. Rothko makes me cry and it is acceptable to cry when staring at one. Judgment from others may come if you cry in a different setting.
It is important to acknowledge that I am not a happy person. This does not mean that I am a low energy person or a buzzkill is a better word. I am just in tune with myself and aware of the world that I live in. Everyday there is a tragedy and unless the tragedy affects you, you tend to live as if it doesn’t exist. I am aware that it does and I want to talk about it, I am also aware that some would rather not and it is because of this that I am not a happy person. I am however a person who can feel moments of happiness. I feel that this is okay to write because I am sure that there is someone, somewhere feeling this way. I am sure that there is someone waiting for the world to be safe enough for society to return to. Not necessarily for reasons that others will but because they will be able to return to their corner in the world and observe. They, just like me will be at a coffee shop looking at life through a window. Watching as others live and wonder what does it feel like.
Perhaps someone,somewhere is a lonely writer like I am and is need of a friend. A real friend and not one that is written in books, unavailable for real conversation. It has been over a year since I have seen the smile of a stranger and maybe the next smile that I will see will be there's, my new friend.
That could be you. That is, if you are looking for a friend.