Imperfectly Perpendicular

Despite what feels earned, actually having a week off when you work full-time while being a full-time graduate student is nearly impossible. But every now and again, I manage to move a few mountains, massage a few numbers, scratch a few backs, pay a few fees, and eureka! However, this victory is qualified by one inescapable factor: my only vacation is spent with family. Specifically, in a house that’s rented on the coast with my Dad’s side of the family. We live together for a week and occasionally do group activities and such.

Not that I don’t love my family – I do love them and am lucky to have them – but I’ve never had someone there to connect with.

I don’t text with any of my cousins. They never ask about me or what’s new. I  inquire about their lives and that’s the full extent of our terse communication. There’s never been a moment of bonding, shared laughter that could endure, or a tacit understanding that our relationship had much merit other than another person to awkwardly talk to at an upcoming funeral. There’s no service provided, no one to miss upon departure, no conversation to pause, no lingering moment to reflect on later, and absolutely nothing to develop.

There isn’t room for me at the cousins table. I poke my head in every now and again to make a presence. If my humor was swift and witty enough, perhaps I could gather some interest when I leave; although, unlikely. Despite being from the same area, we’re vastly different and I was never skilled at infiltrating pre-established social circles, particularly as an old black sheep. Gregarious souls amaze me by being able to magically level the playing field and find a connection anywhere they desire – like the quality of an energetic puppy, winning the love and affection of even the coldest hearts.

This isn’t me.

Related imageSure, I’m a social introvert. More importantly, I do not follow (and am ignorant to) social trends. Nothing about my lifestyle is akin to a hermit (hell, I live in NYC), and yet to my family, I live under a rock.

How do you engage when the discussion is centered around HGTV, TLC, sports, the last baby shower you missed, Ariana Grande, getting wasted, Broadway musicals, queer eye for the straight guy, or which loaf of bread happened to be 10 cents cheaper this week? I’m known to curtail such enthralling topics, and such a destabilization is blasphemous and unwarranted.

Obviously, this doesn’t only apply to family – I’ll never be a big hit at any social engagement. It goes without saying that the blame rests on my shoulders. I don’t mean to delineate excuses but to account for circumstances.

“In loneliness, the lonely one eats himself; in a crowd, the many eat him. Now choose.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

What’s primarily distressful is being surrounded by people while simultaneously receding within yourself to the point of despondency, which you clumsily attempt to cover up, only to fail, making you feel even more despondent. And this continues throughout the entire week – the only vacation you get and desperately need.

And so, there everyone is; running in stride, perfectly parallel.

And there I am; bumbling, imperfectly perpendicular.

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

12 Days Of New York Christmas: Dating Edition

On the 1st day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: AN UNFORGETTABLE GIRL FAIL

On the 2nd day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me:  TWO WOMEN WITH TAYLOR SWIFT LYRIC TATTOOS

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On the 3rd day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: THREE NIGHTS CAMPING WITH MY EX

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On the 4th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: FOUR OVERZEALOUS DRACONIAN FEMINISTS

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On the 5th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me:  FIVE SANCTIMONIOUS #BLESSED HASHTAGGERS

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On the 6th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: SIX WHORES IN THE DRAWERS

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On the 7th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me:  SEVEN WET BLANKETS WHO HAVE MET THEIR FRIEND THRESHOLD

On the 8th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me:  EIGHT ENTERTAINING IDENTITY CRISES

On the 9th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: NINE DUCK-FACE SELFIES

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On the 10th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: UPTALKING OR VOCAL FRYING DEBUTANTES

On the 11th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: ELEVEN BATHROOM MIRROR SELFIES  (I get it, you use the toilet, you’re potty trained and we’re all super duper proud of you but I don’t need photo evidence of this. Seriously.)

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On the 12th day of Christmas, New York dating gave to me: TWELVE REPLY-LESS MESSAGES

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This is in response to New York Cliche’s Christmas post. If you’re not familiar, check out her site and follow her on all the social media business. She’s cool, quirky, urban, and – wait for it, wait for it – cliche (ba dum tsh; facepalm). But in a good way.

Spread the love.

Happy Holidays/Christmas/Anti-Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah!

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

Daily Prompt: Conundrum

Before there was “Love Stinks” by J. Geils Band or Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know“; before the British bemoaning of Bridget Jones’s Diary or the love-struck Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck or the conversational heartbreak in Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, there was poetry. Oh yes, my friends. Poetry.

Love is a conundrum. Love can be a lesson learned; an all too common topic in culture that’s  universally accepted as a calamitous milestone. One such poem that ventilates this tormenting lesson is by A. E. Housman

When I Was One-and-Twenty

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

 

Summary:

Stanza 1: A wise man cautions to give away currency, or temporal possessions, but never your heart. That way way, one keeps their freedom, imagination, and open desire to do as one pleases. However, our insolent subject was 21 at the time and impervious to this advice.

Stanza 2: The wise man continues, purporting that giving your heart away is a zero-sum game. He is rather pessimistic about any such exchange and says that our subject would ultimately regret it and sulk in disappointment. And yet, notwithstanding this, our subject, now 22 years old, ignored what was said and has come to know first hand that the sage was, in fact, right.

Perhaps this was because our subject finally reached the drinking age. (I’ll leave that for you to ponder.) Whatever your assessment, and despite the bleak tone of the poem, not everyone is entitled to a fair trial here. Some will be lucky; some will get lucky. And visa versa.

This truly is the story as old as time. It is NOT what the Walt Disney Co. encourages us to impetuously ingest. Push that chalice aside, however tempting, and experience what is right in front of you. It is an inspiring, albeit agitating, conundrum. Rainer Marie Rilke put it best.

rainer_maria_rilke_1900“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  – Rainer Rilke
-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC