Do you know the feeling, when you are on the subway, looking at other people, wondering what they have been doing all day? If their work is important to somebody, if they are coming home to partners, children, loved ones, pets? Not in the funny, judgemental way… but in the way that you are one of them, in my case 2 Million.
(Paul Riccio about New York City, where a lot of people actually come to escape boredom, source: http://www.neueelite.de)
Also, do you know the feeling when you realize that a city is not just about what is happening in its center but about the people who live around it? Especially when you drive by huge housing complexes or suburbs, e.g. when you drive into Madrid or Munich, and you start thinking about all those people, commuting to work every day, going to school, staying home with their kids…you feel very small.
I am lucky, I do not feel lonely in Vienna. Most of the time, I am actually glad when I come home and am alone for a change. If I do not want to be alone, I can call up friends or family. See, I moved to a city where I already knew a few people.
I guess the worst feeling in a big city is the one described in the video. Feeling lonely but never actually being alone. I think always hearing the noise of a city, smelling food and other less pleasant odors… can also be stressful for your psyche and lead to exhaustion.
Living in a big city and riding the subway with a lot of people can actually feel good sometimes. I know it does to me, because I feel like being a part of the working community, the Vienna community and contributing to the buzz. Also, I am proud of myself when I already know which exit to take before getting off the train. Pathetic, I know.
I remember this odd realization from living in Barcelona. When I learned that looking like you do not care or even angry makes walking down streets easier. If you are a tourist, looking at houses, everybody can immediately tell that you are a weaker person at that moment. Do not look interested, do not get excited about anything and whatever you do – do NOT laugh! If you look like you do not care – people will give you enough space to walk the sidewalk.