Tonight feels weird. This isn’t going to be an exciting or an interesting or a fun story. I don’t even know if it will be a story. It’s more like putting words to paper because, like I said, tonight feels weird.
Like… I was supposed to meet a guy for dinner. He didn’t show up. It’s been a few hours, and he hasn’t responded to my texts. What happened? I don’t know, but I’m weirdly not even remotely bothered by this. Maybe I should be, but my generation has proven to be so damn flaky; I don’t even care.
Instead, I walked around, and this older man comes up, “Hello? Can you help me?” I think he wants directions—turns out he wants money. In my usual New York fashion, I brush him off, “Uh, sorry, don’t have cash.” He continues: “That place, they take cards.” I realize he’s had the courage to ask for help. I have nothing else to do (remember? That guy never showed up!), so I say, “you want some pizza?” he smiles, “yes.”
I get four slices—one for the African American guy singing and begging by the pizza place, one for the guy begging where I was stood up. (ha!), one for the older guy. His name’s John.
John tells me I’m an angel. I think that’s bullshit. I just bought him $1 pizza because I got stood up and had nothing else to do! But, I ask to hear his story. I want to hear his story… “I am from New Jersey…” and he carries on, no breaks. Like, he’s recited it time and time again, Like, he carries it on the surface of his heart, waiting for just someone to ask. Like, he just needs someone to talk to. (Turns out he was a heavy drug user when he was 17 years old and was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1986.) When he’s done, he takes a bite of his pizza, smiles, and says he won’t forget me.
And, I leave. I bike around the city. And, like I said, I feel weird. people look like numbers, and I’m a number too, and I don’t like it. Everyone I see, I want to say, “Hi! How are you? What’s your story?” Because, maybe, we’re all like John. In different ways. But we’re all lonely hearts, with stories to share. We just need someone to share them with. Someone to say “hi.”
I don’t know. These thoughts are nothing new. I think about connection and disconnection a lot. I think this is especially prevalent in New York. So many people. So many connections—missed.
I used to be really bothered by how strangers don’t smile to one another. “It’s so simple and lovely! Why don’t we do that anymore?” But that thought hasn’t crossed my mind in so long. I wonder when I stopped being bothered by lack of smiles?
I’m a happy person. I am happy. I love New York. I love people. I love life. I do, really.
But, like I said, tonight feels weird. New York feels weird. Tomorrow will be better. I doubt anyone will actually read all this, but, if you do, hi! I’m Lexy. I bike around the city in colorful clothes and, if you ever see me, smile and say “hi.” I think humans are beautiful, and I’d love to hear from you. okay. That’s all. Bye.