I like it here. Most days, I do.
I'm supposed to be here right now. Sometimes you can just feel that. The world reverberates a certain way, and things point to inarguable truths. I got two jobs upon showing up. I got an agent in a week. I get to hang with my cousin all the time, which is nothing short of the best thing ever. I literally walked in and had a best friend. I had a good room mate situation. I upgraded to a great room mate situation. I get great auditions with a better response than ever before. I'm happy, most days. I have friends here - almost all from Toronto, but you gotta start somewhere.
But I don't feel at home. That's not anyone's fault. It's just a fact. There's something about the city, the pace, the social climate, that doesn't quite activate anything inspired in me. That's not to say I don't like the city, I do. It's just to say, it wasn't love at first sight, and the relationship takes work. It's complicated. When I landed in Paris, I fell in Love. Something clicked from the get go and things made sense. I found streets easier. I made friends. I smiled all the time. Same with Ottawa, weirdly. Same with Montreal. London, not so much. Even though it was a super cool place. Now, I didn't live in those places, but that changes little. It's a feeling. It's electrical. I believe we're hard wired to know home. The same spidey sense that alerts us to Stranger Danger.
So it's nice here. I spend a lot of time listening - even though I talk A LOT. I listen to what people love. And it's often the same thing. It's all related to nature. I'm not a nature guy. I love me a good tree, or ocean, or rock...but I don't wake up with a burning desire to see those things daily. People here do. They think about what they'll do outdoors a lot. I think about my day like what I'm gonna eat, and when I'll work out, and what I need to get done. Trres, and mountains, and beaches, and rocks don't cross my mind until I see them, face to face, and realise they do something lovely to me. And I'm satisfied in that moment, and then it's gone. And when I'm in nature, I could be there forever, and I romanticize moving deep into the woods, and growing a beard, and buying an ax, and chopping everything in site, and foraging for food, and running with the wild life, and climbing things, and building things, and making fire, and drinking fresh water, and all that goodness. Then we leave, and I want to go to a restaurant. Or a store. And buy something. To fill a void. Probably.
Because I'm a broken city kid.
My transition back to city mode is that fast.
When I listen around here, I hear hiking, and biking, and trail runs, and beach sun, and dog walks, and beach talks, and winter sports, and seaside ports...but I never hear community. I hear solo activities. Everytime. Or things for two people to do.
I went for a long bike ride the other day. Last Sunday. It was beautiful out. I just cruised. And I had a great time. Alone. And it was the first time I realised that alone was the natural state here. I was amongst hundreds of other bikers and walkers and joggers, all going in the same direction, doing the same thing. Alone. We were together, alone. And a couple of times I got lost and had to ask someone for something, and they readily engaged to help, then went back to their solo activity as quickly and enthusiastically as they had come to my rescue. They loved the interruption. But they loved what they were doing.
It dawned on my that I often feel like that here. Alone. And I made it about me. My wife is in Toronto, so it must be me. My friend game is low, so it must be me. I'd meet cool people and they'd say (and this happens more than you can believe)(like the number of times something goes wrong on buses)(which is no more because i have a bike, by the way) 'you should go foraging, you'd love it, i go with my friend, it's soo cool' or 'you should check out hike blahblah by blahblah it's near you and kinda near me, i go all the time' or something to that effect. People making offers for me to go do something. Alone. Something they will be doing too. Alone.
And I thought it was just me. But it's not me. We're all alone here. Somehow. Not fully alone, but rather maybe, focused on individualistic endeavours more so and more often than, community or group endeavours.
A city of Individuals, all doing the same thing. Separately.
A city where being Alone is the Majority.
A city of Ones. Together. United by our Aloneness.
I like it here. Most days, I do.
I'm still working to understand it though.
Fortunately, I have a lot of time to think.