The best I can tell you is no. There is no comparison to places I have never seen before. I have nothing to compare them to.
I can only imagine though, which I have.
I have dreamt and wondered about the sight of Southern Italy or to the look of the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento, Solerno, or to view the cave-like caverns at Grotta Dello Smeraldo.
Safe to say I have wondered what it would be like to eat at or sit in one of the little shoppes and hear the faint sound of guitar music playing from the street. Or north of here and up the coastline, I assume there is a different feel to the beaches at Portofino. I wonder what it is like to stay at a hotel at the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso or go further north to Genoa or San Remo.
I suppose there is no comparison to what the sea must look like between here and Corsica.
I have always wondered about the culture of these places, or, if in fact my culture has improved, simply because I know about these things.
To get the feel of this, I play this music as background noise while picturing the coastline and what the feel must be like. Maybe this might help you to get the feel of what I’m trying to say: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_26BhViw28s
I do not know much about the world outside of my own. I only know about the places I dream about and the drives I’ve hoped to take along the coast. I’ve always wished to take this ride in a red convertible with the top down, the sun is on my face, long hair blowing back, sleeves of a loose white shirt rolled up, top buttons unbuttoned to an opened collar, and no cares whatsoever.
I cannot and do not compare my life to the places I have not seen because there really is no comparison anymore. There are only incidents and accidents (or hints and allegations, if you ask a man named Paul Simon).
There is no comparison to me or you, or to us, and anybody else. There is only life as we know it, which is different and fine.
Make no mistake. There is only experience and actions; there are backgrounds and cultures, involvements and realities, which will differ from one to the next.
Safe to say, there is no comparison to a walk downtown by the Hudson in the moonlight. There is no feel like the feel I had, walking uptown, alone with my thoughts during the sunset in the summer of my late 20’s. No one was there to see this from my perspective but me.
I remember passing through Chelsea and by the coffee shops on 8th. I walked while considering my modern day romances and then settling for whatever it was I could find, which is where the disservice began because I worried if I would ever have anything, so better than nothing, I settled on something just to say, “I have it.”
I remember wondering about the reflection I saw in the mirror and the variation of opinions about me in comparison to what others saw.
What was I? Was I good looking or bad, desirable, wanted, remarkable, or was I otherwise? Was I awkward and obvious, or uncomfortable in my skin because of my personal uncertainties about my own beauty?
But what is beauty?
I once told a young girl that no matter how beautiful someone is, if they are ugly on the inside then they are only average at best.
Was I average? Was I ugly?
Or was I more than I ever thought?
I used to see people, living in their happy little lives and think what it would be like if it were me with their advantages. Then I wondered if there was such a thing as advantage?
Or was life simply a case of either/or when it came to the lucky or unlucky gene pool? Is it that simple?
Some are born princes. Some are poor. Some rise and some fall on their own accord. But where does that leave me?
More than anything, I regard my walks and my downtown moments the same as I regard my uptown nights and the memories I have of the places on 3rd Avenue. This is where I began to open my eyes.
I thought about the places where I posed to be someone else, such as Brother Jimmy’s, or Polyester’s, which also had a location somewhere down by 4th street.
I remember a fight that spilled out from the doorway at a place called Ski Bar and a bouncer who for some reason, believed I was the brother of Matt Dillon at a bar called Live Psychic.
This is the city I grew up in.
In fact, I call this place my city.
Sure, I have been to other places. I have been to Los Angeles. I have been to a few places in Texas. I flew down to a place called Paradise, Arizona, which was beautiful beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I have been to a place called Paradise Island and set sail on a cruise ship to a few of the different islands around the Bahamas.
I have been where the sand is white and the ocean is bluer than I’ve ever dreamed. I can say that I know how it feels to have the sun bronze my skin and blonde my hair and go out, later that night, eager to be alive, crazy to feel, and happy enough to forget about the real world.
I have what I have and I am what I am and comparing me to anything else or wondering where I’d be if, say, I was born on a Tuesday or Thursday instead of Wednesday is absolutely pointless.
There is no benefit to personal comparison because who I am and who you are is only one thing: unalterable
The idea of normal is always relative; therefore so are we. Therefore, so is life. Life is this big thing, or small, depending on how we see ourselves.
I found out a while ago that comparisons lead me to insecurities and concerns about my level of desirability to others.
I have been distracted by this throughout my life; never comfortable in my own skin, always questioning, always concerned that I will do or say the wrong thing, and always thinking about the last words that come from my mouth. I hate when they somehow repeat in my head and I wish I could make them stop.
Ever do that?
Ever say something and immediately regret it?
Ever say something that comes out so stupid and the words you say repeat in your mind to the point where you try to dig yourself out, but instead, you only dig yourself in deeper?
No, I have never seen the inside of the Sistine Chapel. I have never been to Rome. I have never been to Europe or even to that side of the world. At least, not yet.
Hell, if I’m being honest, I’ve never even been to Vegas yet. I used to think this somehow defined me. I used to also believe that my comparisons defined me. I compared my intellect. I compared my character. I compared my body type, my size, my strength, and my ability to endure.
Then again, for all I know there is someone out there comparing their life to mine and wishing, they had my advantages.
This was me for most of my life:
I never liked “the girl” that liked me. I never would be part of a club that would have me as a member. I always gave into rejection. I always gave into my senseless overthinking and the racket in my head.
In relation to the world what I have seen is personal. This means what I have belongs to me.
Looking around at what others have will only highlight the things I don’t have — which means so long as I do this, I will always find myself wanting and never satisfied.
You’ve heard that word before, right?
To satisfy; as in to be fulfilled, content, sufficient, or in other words, happy.
You do know what it means to be happy . . .