As I sit here next to my suitcases, reflecting on the past eight months spent living and working in this city, I can’t help but recall that wise, temperate, philosophical medium called Tumblr where once was said:
Then I remember that Tumblr is where the pre-teens of the economic aristocracy go to validate the ever-living fuck out of one another’s nonsensical, cocaine-fueled bullshit—because London is the most repulsive, most malignant, most contemptible, most desperate, debased, and wretched tumefaction to ever take cancerous root in the North Atlantic.
Perhaps I should not be so harsh. There is of course, much to love about London. Weekends are an intriguing and inspiring investigation into the multitudinous colors the human body is capable of regurgitating, such that any rainbow in the sky must hear news of the Camden streets and weep at its own inadequacy. The smug callousness of the populace cautions that in the ineffable scheme of all things, we are but balls of dust whose self-importance is dwarfed only by our marvelous insignificance—while the stratospheric cost of living gently reminds us that resistance is, dare I say, feudal. And how could one properly contemplate the soul-crushing ceaselessness of the rain without the hours of meditation spent on public buses crawling through the tide of traffic like twigs in a choked-up stream?
But perhaps the most admirable and remarkable thing about London is that it is the sole place in all of my life where overly social me has spent more than a few hours and befriended…virtually no one. This was particularly impressive in the light of prior accomplishments in friend making which saw me effortlessly gathering large social groups in Western Mongolia, suburban New Jersey, and a small town in Northern Germany in which the major feature of interest was a maximum-security prison.
My lack of success in this area was certainly not for want of effort on my part. I went to language and social meet-ups, I joined clubs, I volunteered at animal shelters—and yet, the people with whom I spent my spare time interacting stubbornly refused to become anything other than familiar faces in a crowd of people with better things to do than socialize with me. Occasionally I got as far as organizing a get-together with people who seemed fun and cool and interesting and interested in being my friend—until they canceled on me, generally as I walking out the door to meet them, and always while citing some platonic incarnation of “it’s not you, it’s me” right before being permanently swallowed up by the social sinkhole that is London. If I hadn’t at least had nice people at dance and work, I’m pretty sure I would have thrown myself off Tower Bridge back in November out of sheer loneliness.
Where did I go wrong? Two problems: 1) I didn’t grow up here, and 2) I didn’t go to uni here. Turns out Londoners as a general rule only make friends when they’re shoving crayons up their noses or shoving crayons up their noses while their stomachs are being pumped. Of my little group of friends, exactly 0% of them are from London. We bonded over how difficult it is to make friends here unless you’re 19 and have spent at least twenty minutes taking turns vomiting into a sink with someone who used to be your classmate but is now your BFF.
So it is with a great sigh of relief that I excuse myself from the absolute, sweeping loneliness of this urban hellhole and make for more social climes. My suitcase is a little fuller than it was eight months ago, but the rest of me is tired and empty. London, knowing me and knowing my life, I have no doubt our paths will cross again. But with any luck, our future encounter will only be for as long as it takes to catch my connecting flight at Heathrow on my way to some place that doesn’t suck gangrenous monkeyballs.
Goodbye and good riddance,