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Redheaded Stranger

Photo by Emily Beamer

By Amil Niazi

Friday January 28, 2005

A cry for help

When philosophers wax asshole about loneliness being the human condition, I tune out. I’ve always believed in a universal loneliness that was inescapable, yet important to the survival of independence. But personal loneliness is far more devastating than I made allowances for. Clamouring for any sort of solid ground amongst the living, each attempt I make to join the masses leaves me feeling like an inept gorilla rattled out of its cage. Knowing there is a world of functioning duos, even trios out there making do in their surroundings is a constant reminder that some of us will never move beyond bricks of isolation. Seeking commonality with the human population with such a limited understanding of how people relate to each other is crippling. Tooling around in an emotional wheelchair makes it difficult to exist within the confines of an inaccessible social ramp.

Worse still, those moments when it seems I’ve moved beyond the unhealthy mental bullshit, reality reminds me that those instances only serve to increase the brunt of being alone. When loneliness is a regular activity, you forget what it’s like the other way round. But being allowed to peak through the glass like a matchstick girl, holding on to one last flicker, confirms what I always knew. There is a divisive line separating you from them, me from us.

Walking along West Broadway last week, I saw a hand printed personal tacked up beside fading gig posters. The ad was nothing more than a painfully desperate plea by a middle-aged man to engage in clichéd walks along the beach. And instead of being mildly endearing, the bleached paper made me weary. When 50-year-old men are trying to woo warm bodies with the promise of aging muscles and thinning red hair, I have to wonder what sort of trajectory my own future holds. How many missed opportunities and regrets will I obsess over in ten, twenty years?

For whatever pathological reason, I can only think in terms of “grass is always greener…” The fear of commitment keeps me eternally committed to myself. This desire to be liberated, independent, and “free” has had a startlingly ugly downside. Flailing to create a stamp in every other area of life; economically and intellectually, I forgot to make advances in the realm of interpersonal relations. When I was learning to research a story or follow up on a lead, I suppose I should’ve been taking time to study appropriate body language and the subtleties of spooning. Now I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. For time to make me hard, work to make me haggard and experience to make me cynical. Now I’m struggling to maintain the delusions that carried me through school, internships and unpredictable hours.

For several seconds I considered taking the number from the pathetic personal and dialing up elderly love. This guy has obviously spent a lifetime in search of something genuinely unattainable and if he can offer condolences via a marriage of convenience, why not? Instead, in a moment of psychosis, I tore the sheet down. Consumed with anger at the writer’s desire to self-advertise, treating the community like slushy free classifieds, I pitied him his neediness. If the rest of us have to deal with the shittiness of spinsterhood, so should he. But in retrospect, if any of you thought about getting in touch with “physically fit, older gent,” I apologize. Perpetuating infinite aloofness can’t actually be the solution, or even a temporary bandage. Saggy redheads deserve to have candlelit dinners and they too should have opportunities to dry hump uncomfortably. And if that should turn in to something greater, I’ll find solace in knowing that even creeps with too much time on their hands are falling in love, without me.