A week from today is when I arrived to the city that never sleeps, but still today I didn't think about how keeping all these nonstop shining lights alive effect the people who lives here. Tourists only see that everything is for them, not those who are responsible for all of it.
Everything started on the plane. I got to sit next to a man for around who I - and not just me - was horrified from. People around us was watching anxiously because everybody could see that something wasn't ok with him. Even if I was terrified - somewhere deep inside I knew that everything is gonna be fine and there is a reason why I got to sit right next to him. The guy came to Europe from the most dangerous part of Harlem and now it was time to head back to his object of terror...to New York. He was shaking every time he thought about returning. He was talking to me about the people who step over each other and about how New York is slowly killing your soul. Passengers around us were looking at him without understanding why is he shaking, sweating, moving tirelessly. I asked him to tell me how it feels living in NYC. He came up with the following - shocking - metaphore:
"Imagine that you get on an airplane and than they tell you that you need to stay there for the rest of your life. You are thousands of miles up in the sky. You enjoy it for a while, because you have everything, but as the time is passing by you start to get crazy. The whole thing is a damned prison. The next minute you see people jumping out of the window, people starting to use drogs, starting to drink to bear the pain and the solitude. Others start to bury themselves to work, but in the minute when wifi gets off, they go insane as well. This is why this whole island is just gonna disappear from the face of the Earth. It's too dangerous to the humanity. Too many people died already because of it. "
I remember the face of the guy who was sitting next to us. He was getting ready to an american tour with his band. Later he turned to me and said : "From now on I won't be able to look at NYC as I did before. Now I understand everything."
We can talk about anyone: a taxi driver or the financiers who work 18 hours a day to keep Wall Street alive, they will all tell the same : they have no other choice than working from dawn to dusk. The idea of having private life is just a memory, sleeping is turning into that too. My roommate yarned me about how tinder turned dating into something completely impersonal and how it fastened it up, making serious relationships impossible to happen. Everybody gets what they need to than keep on going - lonely and sad to fight with the 14 hours long work shifts. A friend of mine who works on the Wall Street showed me on the Sleep Circle how he didn't get to bed before midnight any day and how he sometimes doesn't sleep more than 5 or 6 hours anyways, admitting that some days he might lie that he is having a conference just to go home. These times he sleeps at least one and a half hour - which is actually the amount that already makes some sense.
They all talk about how NYC will mill you if you don't pay attention. It kills your soul, changes you into a machine. They don't have balance in their lives, loads of them don't even remember when they had experienced it last. But those who are in the deepest trap are still the illegal immigrants who can definitely feel themselves in prison. They don't have a way back - or they stay or they leave, but if they leave, they will never be able to come back. Private life or friends are very rare in their lives, there is no time for personal relationships while working. And if so, it is like that. In case they don't speak the language, that is the real prison. But there is an other side of this jail of luxury. There are all those millionaires who try to destroy and humiliate their cleaning ladies , because their soul is already completely dead by the money. They hold the fanciest bag, drive the newest luxury car, spend thousands of dollars in restaurants, but they are unable to talk to each other with respect. Is this life? No. It's indifferent which side of the prison you are in - this is not life. I hope there is going to be someone who will help them, because this can't keep going like this for too long. You arrive to the city and feel that something is not ok. There are people who can't stand it. There are ones who are out to the roof by the extremist weather, others by the personal connections. New York is tough with those who get here: just the strong can stay, or the ones whose souls are already dead.
I know that a lot of people end in the icy water every year - by their own choice. They can't stand it any more, and they jump - I understand them. But luckily there are still ones, who try to find the balance. The ones, who go to a work-out or to a meditation between two conferences, pay attention to themselves, change job, if they want to. The ones, who don't eat rubbish, get to know new people, and always have a few nice words to the aliens. This might be the reason of people being so direct here, in NYC. Because in this emotionally poor, plastic world it's easy to realize when they get real attention. They cherish it, value it, thank for it.
I can just hope, that more and more people is going to realize it and open their eyes, because even if there are years that might be hard when you are about to put the bases down of your future, but I don't think that there would be any reason why they should live years in such a senseless, killer, emotionally poor way.
Good luck New Yorkers! And don't forget:
If you make it here, you'll make it anywhere..
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