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I, Them, and the Things They Didn't

Updated on November 18, 2012


An hour or so had passed and my changing surroundings began to distract me from any previous sense of anxiety. People passed in and out of the foreign doors that feigned protection, only sort of invited. I watched, listened, and attempted understanding. My heart pulsed with the movement of the things around me. Deep breath. “Hello,” I said, introducing myself with a slightly uncomfortable but thoroughly fascinated smile. These people, not friends, but not enemies, arrived with an undefined agenda. They sat, smoked cigarettes, and made small talk while we entertained them with the things we found funny.

I waited, was waiting, expectantly, for something I knew was bound to never appear. My thoughts drifted in and out of bizarre conversation as I placed together the pieces of these people’s lives. They came here of their own accord, but they didn’t want to be here, nobody wanted to be here. But the fact of the matter was that we all were here, all striving for some sort of unachievable connection between each other; a distant hope for something so very close.

The guests left, only to be replaced half an hour later by others. Each was different, very different, but with the same seemingly arbitrary motives. Act. React. Continue.

I, unbeknownst to those around me, began a conscious effort to distance myself from the situation. Not because I had any particular dislike towards any particular person, but because I found comfort in the act of observation. I was not one of them, none of them or some of them seemed unlike me. They all seemed to lack something, something that I wanted to see in them. They were smart, humorous, pensive, friendly, good people overall. But there was something, or a lack-thereof, that instilled a mild but noticeable sense of discomfort in me.

As I watched, my thoughts cascaded into ideas, which constructed patterns that led to what I hoped to be some sort of satisfying conclusion, a summary of what was. I jotted letters to form words to build sentences until all the information in my head burst onto the paper in a literary explosion. As I did, I realized that I was doing, and that they didn’t. These people, despite all visible signs pointing towards success, lacked something which to me is virtually essential: passion. They didn’t do the things they wanted to do, or perhaps they did, and just wanted not to do things. Either way, they exuded the impression that nothing really mattered, that laughing about misery in a closed room was the only thing that could possibly pass the unbearable time. My stomach sank with the weight of this dismal conclusion. I was surrounded by the absence of an emotion I had always deemed so important. People pretending to be happy were fueling the downfall of true personal connections. Inviting guests without the least bit of real interest in their lives, talking about things that no one cared for, in a place nobody really wanted to be. But why leave? Why move? Why not sit for a while, have a cigarette, everything is o.k…

… Nothing there was comfortable anymore. I shifted restlessly, pushing away the smog they so offensively called air. I tried to motivate, to incite some sort of temporary bout of inspiration and energy, but to no avail. So I wrote, I continue to write, in hopes that with a few words maybe I can make an impression, spark an idea, or at least help you pass the time.

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