This city teaches you immunity.

There are a lot of people in this city, for those of you who didn’t know. When you come in, especially if you come from a small place somewhere in rural Virginia, you are delighted to feel people rubbing against your shoulders in the streets.  There are loads of them in Times Square and all too many in the subway. But at some point, the awe for the “City!” is replaced by horror. 19 mill.. Now how is that for a probability for anything? Pretty crushing, ain’t it? This city teaches you that you ARE NOT good enough. It states that clearly in your face, instead of a greeting. “Professionally, with all the cool kids from Columbias, Pratts and NYU’s readily available – you don’t stand a chance, boy”.

After a while, though, exactly the realization that you are just one of those 19 mill, many of whom ARE objectively better than you, you gain yourself back. You fall into your own tracks and get immune to virtually anything. All the gold loses its shine, all the trash does not matter any more, all the people are irrelevant. You stop paying attention to all the actors, models and celebrities; Empire State becomes a backdrop for your morning commuting rituals. You enter a mode where you just know that, yes, they all are here, too. All the things that drove you jealous, horrified, anxious, frustrated before do not matter any more. The trains change tracks on weekends – doesn’t matter, it’s New York. You sat by Jay Z in a restaurant yesterday night – well, happens. Gehry built a skyscraper next door – just another high-rise. Does not matter. Can be daunting if you are caught up in it, but is a great thing if you know what you are doing – makes you invincible to distractions. You know what you are doing and you just do what you do. A bubble of your own. Numbness of sorts. Concentration.

Try not to lose humanity. Try not to miss beauty. Try to live.

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