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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Loneliness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matts (1087) on 2002.03.03 13:32 (#5382) Journal
    I can never quite put my finger on it, but big cities always make me feel incredibly lonely. London and New York both do that to me, yet nowhere else has really. I can stand in the middle of Oxford street, a thousand people passing by me in an instant, and feel the most agonising despair for someone to just be with me. [1]

    Yet I've never felt that way in the country. I could walk for miles on Strensall Common (across the road from where I grew up), or on the North York Moors, or even now, around the Cotswolds, and never see another soul, yet I'm at peace, and have no inate need to be with somebody.

    Strange. I'm sure someone much smarter than me can explain why.

    [1] That's not to say I don't understand those who love London — I can totally accept that — the variety and intensity is probably quite satisfying for some. Although I consider thinking it's a good thing to never communicate with one's neighbours [2] a tradgedy — people are almost always interesting, even if you hate them.

    [2] I'm not saying that's your ethos, dave, it just comes across as a preference.
    • Although I consider thinking it's a good thing to never communicate with one's neighbours a tragedy

      It's not that I never want to communicate with them. It's that I appreciate having the choice. I've been with people in smaller communities, when it takes them half an hour to do a ten minute walk because everyone they pass wants to stop and chat with them[1]. I'll probably say hello to this "new" woman when I next see her. But the people on the other side are complete nutters. Fascinating to watch from a d

      • Where I grew up, Southeastern Massachusetts, this has always been the case. People often don't know their neighbors, unless they want to. In California, on the other hand, there's an unspoken obligation to know everyone around you on a first-name basis.
        • In California, on the other hand, there's an unspoken obligation to know everyone around you on a first-name basis.

          That may be true in parts of the state, but it is hardly true in Silicon Valley. Most of my friends here know their neighbors only well enough to wave at them when they drive past, if that.

      • On the flip side, it's a choice to live in that sort of village community too. ;-)
    • I feel very similarly (sometimes). I rationalize my feeling thus:

      I think it is a case of "out of sight out of mind". By which I mean that in Oxford Street (London), there is a constant and never-ending flood of people and it is this that reminds me that I am just one of many millions of unique people and that they are all quite possibly feeling the same thing? Anywhere else it is much easier to pretend that you are the centre of your own universe because there are not lots of other people who are clearl