It seems to me, modern life can be so solitary and transient. It seems societally we pay such a high price for our fancy dish washers, fiscal freedom and uber mobility. Many of our societal psychopaths wake up, go to work, stare at a computer, maybe send a few emails, or chat on the phone, go home, open up a bag of fast food, stare at the tv for a few hours, sleep, and repeat; with the exception of an occasional murder or mutilation, they have virtually no human contact.
I'll rant a bit, and maybe some logic will emerge. I've been thinking, basically, in America, we've got plastic spoons, and paper plates that we whip out when guests come to visit since washing them is too much effort. We design our homes with a maximum shelf life determined up front. The building I lived in at college was specifically designed to last only 30 years. It was, of course 50 years since the buildings birth when I lived in it, but that's besides the point. In the modern era, divorce is nearly the norm.
In part since we move a lot, and are no longer connected for lifetimes to our villages or communities; people come and go in our lives, isolating us further. I keep in contact with no one from my elementary school years in Indiana, 1 person from my junior high school years, 2 from high school, 1 from college in Chicago, and 3 from my years in Boston. Of the nearly thousands of people I have encountered in my life and had atleast a few dozens of hours of communication with, I keep in contact with perhaps 70 or so, and maybe 15 on a regular basis. Of those, perhaps a handful are "good" friends and not mere aquaintances. I'm not terribly abnormal either. I read a statistic the other day saying the average male American over the age of 60 has 1 friend. 1! I read another statistic, I can't remember it exactly, but it was something like 200 years ago, the average person met, physically met, less than 50 people in their entire lives.
I was chatting with a guy from New York City a few years back. He was distraught since he and his girl friend had broken up. It turns out she lived in San Francisco, and he in New York. He said he hated San Fransisco. I asked why. He said, "Its very easy to meet someone in SF. In fact, some random person I met 5 minutes ago is my new best friend. I was there for a couple years, I thought I had some real friends. Then I'd show up at the airport, and call up a friend for a ride home, and they'd say they'd love to, but they're at a party, or out, or just can't. They'd say, just take the bus." He said something like, "maybe I can't make a new best friend in New York in 5 minutes, but atleast I know they'll pick me up at the @$@%##@'n airport!
We're all guilty. Sunday I was up at the mountain snowboarding. It was a terrible day with avalanche danger so high, that all interesting lifts were closed, and I was, needless to say, unable to go into the backcountry. In addition, the road home was closed due to avalanche blasting, so I did what any easily bored snowboarder does on such a day, I made my way up to the pub. I sat down and was enjoying a nice black and tan, when a guy asked if he could sit with me. I said sure. We started chatting and I was having a good time. Soon, his friends showed up, and I was sucked into their group, and we were chatting away. Eventually I said goodbye and made my way home. I was thinking that I will likely never run into these folks again, even though they only live a few minutes away from me.