Something I relate to is the feeling of loneliness in a crowd. No matter how many people are in my vicinity or the proximity of those closest one beside me—I understand what it feels like to be sitting next to someone and feel as if I am oceans apart.
Then of course, there isthat one person who can walk in a room and everyone notices them. There is no pressure on their shoulders. They are effortlessly popular. They always say the right thing, and even if they say the wrong thing—no one seems to care. Everything about them is spot on. Everything flows as they stroll through the crowd, and for whatever reason, all eyes and attention seem to follow them wherever they go. But more impressive is their unaffected approach; as if none of the attention they receive is important or matters. They walk to a tune according to their own jazz and move on in a nonchalant style.
And you want to be like this too.
You want to fit in.
You really do.
You want to be “The One,” that walks into the room, and whether everyone notices or turns away, you want to be the one who can stroll through with the perfect strut, lean against the wall, and have it all seem effortless.
You want to be the one whose inner-strength and confidence is impenetrable. You want to be untouchable. Next thing you know; you’re so high up in the world that no one can touch you. They can’t even come close to you (unless you let them).
And in this text, the term, “They,” means everyone around you, above and below. The term “They” identifies the rest of the world, including the people we admire or despise because in our eyes, their life seems so terribly simple. Meanwhile, ours is so terribly complicated.
I have always wanted to be “Something.”
I want to be something more than simple or average. Most of my life was spent trying to find ways to stand out in the crowd. This way, I could either run away from or temporarily avoid the bottomless feeling of being alone in the presence of others.
One night in a downtown bar near Hudson Street, I walked through the door and strolled up along the side bar. I was dressed well. My hair was fashionably long and my body was trim. I was still young enough to heal but I was too old to play a game of chicken with life on life’s terms.
I acted as if, and at best, this is all it was—an act. I tried to seem as if I had the answers. I tried to behave as if money was meaningless to me, which is hard to prove while living in a small basement apartment that I could barely afford. I tried to hide from these flaws and act as if I had everything under control. If anything, I had no control over anything. At best, I had ten bucks on me. I had a half pack of smokes in the inside pocket of my black suit jacket. I had a cigarette lighter in my pants pocket and keys to a car that hardly ran.
I stood opposite the bar with my back leaning against the wall. This was my stance. The collar of my black button down shirt was opened slightly, revealing the glimmer of a thin silvery necklace. I place a smoke in my mouth—tilting my head in a cool fashion as I pulled the lighter up to my face, striking the flame, and lighting the end of my smoke.
In this time period, my cigarettes of choice were Camel Lights. This pack in particular was a soft pack. In order to retrieve a cigarette in style, one needs to pull the cigarette out of the pack in a way that even a non-smoker would wish to have one.
To make a stunning impression, there can be no clumsiness. There are different moves for something like this. Each move suit different times and fit with different people. In a time like this; however, I was dressed to impress and behaved with hopes to gain the attention of a girl at the bar.
I was essentially broke and unable to pay the price of admission at the door, and least of all, should a fine member of the female society have allowed me the chance to entertain her; I would have had no way of paying for her drinks. In truth, I was worried if I had enough money to find my way home—let alone pay for a cab if a girl gave me the nod and took me back to her place.
Meanwhile, my crew of friends all gathered at the bar. There was no reason for me to follow them. They knew drinking was not my things. I supposed my idea to lay back and stand alone, away from the crowd, was used as a trolling tactic. This way, I could see all the different angles in the room. I could see which girl was with whom, and which would be more open to someone like me.
I stood against that wall and watched the crowd change as the hours grew late. Slowly, the crowd in the bar dwindled. I played my hand as best as I could. Occasionally, I howled with my friends. To no avail, I attempted my charm with some of the female talent.
As the clientele dwindled to a small few in the downtown bar, slowly but surely, my standards lowered to a less then desirable rate. I met a girl that was similarly insecure. The girl never told me she was insecure. Then again, she never had to. I watched her friends speak to my friends at the bar. And since this girl was the odd one out, she decided to talk to me because I was also the odd one out.
We traded lies for nearly two hours. I told her I owned a company in the garment district and that my office was on 31st Street near 8th Avenue.The truth of the matter is I was a lowly salesman with hardly any customer base and lucky enough to have a desk.
She mentioned something about her living in a wild duplex apartment with her friends somewhere near 14th Street.
We acted as if and pretended to be comfortable with one another. I might have gotten laid that night too, had there not been an argument between one of my friends and one of the girl’s friends at the bar.
“You should call me some time,” said the girl.
“Sure,” I told her. “Maybe we can go to lunch next week.”
“Do you have a card,” she asked.
I told her, “I just gave out my last one.”
She wrote her number on a napkin from the bar.
We kissed for a short while. We were about to go our own separate ways without an issue until the girl’s drunken friend approached me.
“I know you,” she said
“Your name is Ben.”
Trying to remain effortlessly calm, I shrugged my shoulders to her aggressive inquiry. “You don’t remember me?” she snarled.
Of anything I said this night, “Not really,” was the most honest. I had no recollection of this girl whatsoever. Perhaps this was because she had a better look at me than I did of her.
It turns out that I previously went on a double date that turned wild. My date was a blind date that was set up by my friend and his girl.
My date was much taller than me. She was fuller-figured as I recalled which was fine in my opinion. But the bite from her perfume was somewhat painful and her voice was slightly agonizing. Towards the end of the night, my date and I went back with my friend and his girl to an apartment. One thing led to another. I suppose I must have overstepped my welcome by taking my blind date into someone’s bedroom. Unfortunately, the owner of that room came home to find me (a naked stranger) and a large naked girl (also a stranger) having sex on her floor
Back to the scene at the bar, my memory was still a little stuck.
Almost snarling the girl charged, “So you don’t remember me?”
She shouted, “Really?”
Tiling her head and smirking with sarcasm, she loudly explained, “So you don’t remember going into my bedroom and fucking some big tall amazon girl on my floor.”
That’s when the light when on in my head . . .
As the memory came back to me, all I could say was, “Oh yeah.”
Then I laughed. “I remember you now.”
Of all things I remember about my “Single” days and of all things I hated most about feeling awkward and trying to fit in; I hated the energy it took just to feel as if I belonged.
I still want to be more than something simple or average . . .
Fortunately, I matured enough to realize that man’s value alone, so long as he chooses to be himself is all he needs to be far from average