Thursday, April 21, 2011

Loneliness and the Virtual World

So six months ago, I ended a relationship. We had been living together for several years, and it was very sad when it ended. When I moved out, I knew that I needed a place of my own, no roommates. In order to afford such an apartment, I had to move to a particularly inconvenient part of Brooklyn. It is 20 minutes away from hip bars or fancy grocery stores, and although that may not seem so inconvenient to those of you living in AMERICA, in NYC that is a social death sentence.

I chose my apartment in order to nest, but I am finding that I spend more and more time away from the nest, and that when I am home, I am suddenly lonely. I have always been a fairly solitary figure, and lately I have found a deeper appreciation for my own company. But then there are those times that I feel desperate. At my old place, I could just walk out the door and go to at least 15 different places in a five-minute walk radius. Here, that's not going to happen, and even if it did, I would still have to walk through the projects.

So I have been spending a lot of time online. On Facebook, Twitter, even LinkedIn when I'm desperate. And, of course, online dating. Now a few of these online dating connections have become real world connections, and that is very nice (and clearly necessary). What disturbs me is how often I feel the need to check my profile, see who "visited" "me," and generally take the whole thing waaaay too seriously. Because although there are some very nice gentlemen callers I have met, there are also a lot of assholes. And malcontents. And penis pictures.

I am also disturbed that when this desperation/loneliness seizes me, I need to fill up the space not just with online flirting, online status updates, etc., but it is also necessary to read The New York Times, watch TV, and scan YouTube. I am something out of Existenz. And I hate Cronenberg.

But the rub is, that if I disconnect, I do lose this community. Maybe I gain something, like self-reliance or mental clarity, but what is the point of all of that alone in a Brooklyn apartment?

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