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OfflineZahid
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Registered: 01/21/02
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Eccentric City People
    #3092957 - 09/04/04 11:06 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

So, I went down to the bustling cultural market downtown last night to clear my head, since you have to walk a fair distance along the river to get there. I got there, sat down at a bench and began to write some poetry. At the time there was an empty stage from some concert or event held earlier in the day. So this really strange guy comes along with two back packs, and a multicolor checkered coat, blonde afro-ish hair yet balding at the same time.. he was about 40 years old I'm guessing.. anyway, this guy goes to the stage, to find a place to sit down. He sits down on the stage for a few minutes and kind of waits for a moment to see if he likes this place, like licking your finger and sticking it in the wind.. so he moves away from the stage, and sits down on a chair.. nope, the chair wasn't good enough. finally he makes his way to a fountain with a spotlight over it.. he likes this place, and get out all his stuff and begins drawing as I could see from the distance.. so I decide to walk over there to check it out.

I go and sit down at the fountain and say 'Hey' to him.. He looks up, with his hand over his mouth as, acting as if he offended me or something and rambling quickly in a british accent, "I'm so terribly sorry kind sir, forgive me" and moves away to find a new place to draw. So then the spotlight finally gets shut off for the night and he starts going else where to a streetlight to begin drawing. I walk over behind and watch him draw a picturesque sketch and say, "Hey, that's pretty good!" he is startled, gathers his stuff, says again in a quick ramble "I am terribly sorry to disturb your peace," and he started taking off, on the verge of crying. I'm like 'who is this guy'? So he walks off.. I decide to head back to my building.. just as I'm approaching my building I see him again drawing at a bench. At this point I decided it's like chasing an escaped animal and went in for the night..

It was kind of sad, really. And I often wonder why only the city offers eccentric people like this.


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Registered: 01/30/03
Posts: 6,220
Loc: : Gringo
Last seen: 1 year, 11 months
Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Zahid]
    #3093644 - 09/05/04 02:07 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I know that there are eccentric people in the country as well. You just won't encounter them.

But, I do think that urban life tends to make people more neurotic. Shit, it shouldn't be hard to figure out why either. I live in the country, and when I visit the city, I just get headaches.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 10,344
Loc: On the Border
Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Zahid]
    #3093654 - 09/05/04 02:11 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Sometimes people want to be left alone and choose to leave rather than deal with a bunch of questions...especially when they are trying to do something that requires concentration. This is not sad or eccentric.


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Invisible420Girl
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Registered: 01/20/02
Posts: 564
Loc: The Big South
Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3093663 - 09/05/04 02:16 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

There are actually people in my town that CHOOSE to be homeless & such. I think that people who suffer from severe social axiety are probably driven to such lengths.

Hey, to each his own, right? Some people think country people are silly for living so far away from the city, and some people think city people are silly for running around in that giant-ass rat race everyday.

I am sad to admit, though, that when I see someone eating alone in a restaurant, it makes me sad. Those are my own insecurities, though. Some people just prefer quiet alone time sometimes. Maybe their home lives are crazy enough.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: 420Girl]
    #3093681 - 09/05/04 02:26 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Many years back when I was 19 years old and in the Army I would often find myself out on the streets late in Honolulu. I talked to many homeless people and many lived that life by choice. I met several highly intelligent individuals who just never wanted to settle down. One had a masters in physics, but chose to be a bum. The guy in Zahid's story seemed like an artist who did not appreciate the interuption.


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Invisiblezee_werp
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Registered: 03/25/03
Posts: 1,026
Loc: Aotearoa
Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Zahid]
    #3094456 - 09/05/04 11:26 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I think the thing with 'city life' is that the 'convenient' commoditisation of everything means that we no longer HAVE to interact with people in a social manner. Many things that we used to aquire through social processes in smaller communities, through trade, sharing, and general interpersonal contact, we can now aquire through simple monetary transactions.

For instance, say you finish your education or whatever and move to a new city for a job. You get there, look in the phone book for landlord or real estate agencies, find a place to live. Then you need some food so you go to a restaraunt or grocery store and make another transaction. You feel the need for some information, so you can turn on the TV or get a newspaper. You go to your job and do your job and at the end of the day you and your colleauges go their seperate ways. Say you have a sore back, you can go to a physiotherapist and purchase a massage, after the massage you leave the building and that is the extent of your relationship with that person.

Basically what I am getting at is that in a 'city' situation, where everything that one 'needs' can be aquired without any real interaction, one can literally be surrounded by thousands or millions of humans, without actually 'knowing' a single one. And then the television can provide them with a feeling of human interaction.

Of course, thats not the case with most people, because they say to themselves 'well I don't know anyone so maybe I'll go to the bar / art gallery / cafe / etc. tonight and meet some people'. However there are people out there who suffer from social anxiety and related 'conditions' which makes it very hard for them to go ahead and introduce themselves to others etc.

I think its partially to do with the ways the 'transaction culture' operates. It is a very impersonal way of interacting, and less-secure people can get a feeling that the otherperson is thinking 'yeah, whatever, just give me your money and fuck off'. Infact I think most people get that feeling in many situations. The person you're dealing with is just working there, they don't want to be there, they need the money, they are just waiting till the end of their shift where they'll go back into their private life.

I beleive that TV is another contributing factor. It takes the edge off peoples need for some form of interaction with a person, so they are less driven to go out and meet people in 'real life'. The internet probably also has a similar, yet different effect (in that the people are 'real' but also not real at the same time).

Basically I think that our current way of living has arisen so rapidly on an overall scale of humanity, that our brains can have difficulty adapting to it compared to the tribal way of life which humans lived in for hundreds of thousands of years. And in this consumer culture, where anything that can be exploited will be exploited, the fire of depersonalisation is being fuled.


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OfflineZahid
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3095107 - 09/05/04 03:14 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

He came off as overwhelmingly and abnormally shy - by eccentric I mean, he wouldn't stay in one place to draw for more than 2 minutes. He did not give me the impression that he didn't want to be disturbed, he gave me the impression that he rarely has contact with other people, which is why I tried being friendly with him in the first place. Now, normally I'm very weary about all the different characters and crazies that wander around the city, but this guy had a harmless, innocent aura - but he was terrified of other people.


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OfflineZahid
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: zee_werp]
    #3095274 - 09/05/04 04:07 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Good post  :thumbup:

Indeed, there is a 'vanishing' feeling in the city, everyone is caught up in their day to day lives.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Zahid]
    #3095282 - 09/05/04 04:09 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I used to live in a large city and everything seemed much more impersonal. In fact, to me, I felt that any casual contact with strangers could lead to a direct threat to my personal safety. Of course I lived in a very bad part of town because I was poor financially. I live in the country now and welcome casual contact with strangers.


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OfflineMAGnum
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Registered: 07/08/04
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: SpecialEd]
    #3095307 - 09/05/04 04:16 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

SpecialEd said:
I know that there are eccentric people in the country as well. You just won't encounter them.

But, I do think that urban life tends to make people more neurotic. Shit, it shouldn't be hard to figure out why either. I live in the country, and when I visit the city, I just get headaches.




I live in the city and the inner city gives me headaches because of the air quality.


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OfflineMAGnum
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3095333 - 09/05/04 04:23 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Huehuecoyotl said:
Many years back when I was 19 years old and in the Army I would often find myself out on the streets late in Honolulu. I talked to many homeless people and many lived that life by choice. I met several highly intelligent individuals who just never wanted to settle down. One had a masters in physics, but chose to be a bum. The guy in Zahid's story seemed like an artist who did not appreciate the interuption.




Many of the homeless who choose it hate the confinement of life that there is in working and paying bills. They would rather freeze in the winter and ask for change on the street.

Honestly, spanging (pan handling) can give you up to $50,000.00 a year if you are good. There was an article on this dude who would do it in Boston and he made roughly that for many years. He also ate for free and talked to everyone. He was very social and polite.

He made you feel warm for helping him, it was like you paid for his service of feeling good and decent for giving to someone who needed it more than you (even though he did it so much he had more than you).


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OfflineZahid
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Re: Eccentric City People [Re: MAGnum]
    #3095353 - 09/05/04 04:29 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Modern day dervishes perhaps.  :laugh:

If people choose to be homeless, I hope they are happy with that choice. Personally, if I was in that situation where I had to beg for money to eat and I had no relatives to help me get on my feet, I would head for the woods and build a cabin or something.


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Anonymous

Re: Eccentric City People [Re: zee_werp]
    #3095427 - 09/05/04 04:54 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Right on the money, zee.

A few years ago I moved from a rural farmland area to New York City. As you can imagine, it was a huge culture shock for me. I saw things in real life that I'd only previously seen on TV. I didn't even know that some of these things really happened in real life until I saw it with my own eyes. I went from a place where everyone knew their neighbors and you could strike up a conversation with anyone, to the impersonal mind-your-own-business New York attitude. It was very distressing for me at first because I took peoples' reactions toward me personally. I was used to greeting people on the street with at least a smile and nod. Then I get to this huge metropolis where it's uncommon to even make eye contact with someone else on the street. It has taken me four years to finally adjust to city life and now I don't want to ever leave.

I beleive that TV is another contributing factor. It takes the edge off peoples need for some form of interaction with a person, so they are less driven to go out and meet people in 'real life'. The internet probably also has a similar, yet different effect (in that the people are 'real' but also not real at the same time).

I'll never forget the day last August of the huge northeast blackout. Without electricity, everyone was out on the streets talking to other people. Tons and tons of people played with their kids and watched the sunset in the local park, or barbequed with their neighbors on their apartment rooftops. People were smiling and laughing and playing ball with absolute strangers. That day I was transported back to my rural home. It was the same atmosphere I had grown up in, except I was witnessing it in the big city. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had never thought TV and the internet had such a huge impact on society until that day. Now I'm convinced that in the absence of TV and computers, city life would be much more personal and more like that day during the blackout.


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Offlinecleaner
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Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 508
Last seen: 12 years, 4 months
Re: Eccentric City People [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #3098292 - 09/06/04 10:42 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Huehuecoyotl said:
I met several highly intelligent individuals who just never wanted to settle down. One had a masters in physics, but chose to be a bum.




Yeah like on those 'reality' TV shows where rich lazy prats go off on a desreted island to learn 'survive'


One thing being a bum with no friends, no where to go and no money.

Having Rockefeller parents, master in physics, million dollar mansions and swiss bank account and then taking a 'gap year', putting on some clothe that you just trampled in mad to look old and 'living' on the street with a wallet stucked with mickey mouse bills - is totally different altogether.


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