Being Delightfully Overwhelmed Can Numb the Senses
Posted on October 22, 2015
I grew up thinking the little city where I lived was a big place. That’s probably because, when you’re a kid, wherever you’re allowed to go, you either walk there or take your bike. It was a different time then, a time when you could ride your bike a mile or two to the park or to a friend’s house without fearing for your life. But much beyond that distance? You needed a ride. So, as my world started to expand as I got older, I started to understand some places were larger than others…much like my friends. Some of my friends had things that were larger than other friends. But I digress.
My parents would, on occasion, take me to some event in downtown Detroit. Now THAT was a large place. And confusing. I have this thing about stressing out when I don’t know where I am, and I never have any idea where the heck I am in that city. It’s just one more reason why I avoid it. Well, that and the shootings, car-jackings, muggings, beatings, etc. I’m sure those all figure in. But, as it turned out, there are places much larger than Detroit. Weird, huh? I thought Chicago was confusing as (expletive)—it kinda still is—but as ridiculous the number of people who live there is, it feels less congested than Manhattan.
I flew in to NYC last Tuesday for a short overnight stay. Hey, when your friend finds a round trip ticket for $72, my delightfully cute a$$ is going to Bon Chon for Korean fried chicken for lunch…twice. I landed at LaGuardia and was soon taking part in the highly annoying rite of passage known as ‘public transportation.’ It was a bus. I don’t much like busses. There are other people on them, which probably constitutes the ‘public’ part of public transportation. The connecting subway is just as bad in terms of people. And these people persons feel completely at ease with sitting next to me either on the aforementioned bus or subway. Why? The only other thing I’ll say about this is they reallllllly don’t appreciate being asked to move so I can have the space on either side of me open. They don’t like that $hit at all. And they’re verbal in their dislike.
The thing about NYC, though, is that there are so many people. Dear He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Blu-Ray-Racks, where do these people come from? They’re everywhere! Everywhere I say! And they just keep coming. My favorite thing is to walk everywhere in NYC, only every time I turn a corner, there more people are. Granted, it’s created a place where there are more incredible restaurants than I’ve ever been able to fit in during the sum of all my visits here, but I have to ask myself what the attraction is to living in a place like this.
The housing costs here are astronomical, space is limited, everybody is practically on top of everybody else, getting anywhere takes a long a$$ time, restaurants are packed, and I have no idea how healthy it is to eat at a food mobile. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch it all, too. I’d never own a car here, I’ll tell you that. But there must be an appeal to such a busy place. Safety in numbers? Diversity in the number of communities? Raised there?
Maybe it’s one of the reasons I love to visit the place as often as I do. It’s truly overwhelming and sometimes a little overwhelming numbs the rest of what’s going on in your life. Of course, the Korean fried chicken is to die for!
Anybody else ever feel overwhelmed in a big city?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
2 Responses to “Being Delightfully Overwhelmed Can Numb the Senses”
Eddie Lam says:
October 22, 2015 at 8:14 am
I was born in a big city Hong Kong, like New York, overcrowded. As a matter of fact, Hong Kong is the worst. But I love it. All about convenience. You don’t need a car, restaurant every where. A lot of entertainment – Broadway show, movie theatre, park, etc… All in a walking distance.
Couple years ago, Husband’s nephew Ian came to big city from a small city of Wisconsin. We walked around and he was overwhelmed. He was 16 and he was crying on the train. We couldn’t figure out why. He said he saw homeless on the street and felt sad and sorry for them. I thought it was cute. But yeah, someone could be overwhelmed by the fact that you will see so many variety of people here.
Brent Seth says:
October 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm
Hell, I feel overwhelmed in a hallway.