I’ve always maintained that I’m an introvert. I like keeping company with myself and the people that I choose to spend time with.
That was ten days ago.
That is pure and unbelievable horseshit.
I live alone and while I relish in my fortress of solitude, I realize that it’s because I get to choose when I get to be alone. The blessing of living in this city is being able to draw from the people who live here, who work here, who choose to spend their lives chasing their dreams here. I miss walking through crowds. Crowds where everyone has a place to get to, yet no one else knows where you’re going. There is a ceaseless energy that abounds as you weave through the masses.
I left my apartment the other day to get food and all of that was gone.
The streets were the same, the buildings stood exactly where they always are, but it feels like a hollow facsimile of what it really is. That had more of an effect on me than anything. Am I afraid? Yes, but that’s normal and rational. I’m used to fear, and I know how to wrap my head around it.
But this was something different, it felt like dread and despair.
I was a scientist long before I was an actor, and I know enough about the math and the biology to know that this will pass in time. But the question remains, what happens after?
New York City has given me everything. I was born here. I’ve wanted to live here ever since middle school, and it has been the place that forced me to be the man that I want to be, allowed me to pursue my passions, and has given me more opportunity than I could have ever imagined. I’m fortunate enough that while I’m negatively impacted by the shutdown, I’m still doing okay. On the other hand, I know people and businesses that were hanging on a knife’s edge and I know are being just flattened. These people, these places are necessary to a city and on a more selfish note, necessary to me. They are the touchpoints of my day and frankly my life wouldn’t be the same without them. So, the question is:
“What do we owe each other?”
It’s a question that comes up in “The Good Place” (an incredible show you should watch) and is derived from Scanlon’s book What We Owe to Each Other. The central premise is this, what exactly are our obligations to other people?
Watching “The Good Place” had a profound effect on me, in that it made me much more forgiving of others and made me want to become a better person. Not a person who seems better, but IS better. The absolute least I could be doing is staying the fuck inside, keeping other people safe. But how about after? What do I owe to other people? What do I owe to this city?
I don’t know all of these answers, but I know that I at least have to be a part of the solution. New York has given, and I have taken. I believe there has to be a point when you make a contribution back to this city and its people and in doing so, you are forever linked to this place. I don’t know how to do any of this yet but confined to my apartment, it’s what I’m thinking about.
That and dreams of crowded streets, packed subway cars, late nights out, and being able to complain about it all once again.