I rode Linus through the park a lot this summer, past the rowing lagoon. Through a series of not interesting mental jumps, one morning, I ended up thinking about the number of people I know, the ones I socialize with regularly, and how little sense I have, now, of the inner lives of the people I know and like.
I think of my friends and realize I don’t know–how do you feel about your job, really, or in general, your career arc? What are you worried about right now? Grateful for? Anticipating? What do you think of injustice? Personally or metaphysically? How satisfied–not at the moment you’re sending a tweet of pique or an instagram of joy, but in the median of your life–how satisfied are you? What’s your happy today? Where is your nonhuman limerence coming from this month?
I felt certain that the number of friends I have, of whom I could say I know a piece of their rich inner lives, is smaller now than it has ever been. I wonder is that what happens when you become entrenched in your 40’s or is that consequence of social media performance?
Then I thought perhaps I was wrong and I don’t know fewer people intimately than I ever did. Maybe there were never more than two or three people about whom I could have answered these questions.
The sense still lingers, however, that I don’t sit with people that I know and like, somewhere quiet enough and calm enough to talk about what’s in our heads and not just careen around from laugh to laugh and the pleasure of one another’s company.