The Comfort of Strangers
I talk to people every day. People I don’t know. People I may never see again. Strangers find their way to the club, looking for something, but most don’t even know what that is. I’ll give them a nod, ask how they’re doing, small talk. Some flash a smile, others just look around nervously, scanning the place.
We may have a primal need to be social, but at the same time we carry around enough mental baggage to make us do our best to avoid it. That deep instinct pulls us to places like this, but our lack of desire to actually connect with anyone pushes us away.
We want to be near others. To watch. To soak up some of that second-hand social dopamine. It’s low-risk, low-effort. Sometimes I’ll wander through the dance-floor as if I have some important destination other than the opposite side of the room. I’m part of the crowd. I feel safe. I don’t need to know any of the bodies I brush past. I don’t really want to. They’re just cells in my social entity.
There are many people in my club that have never spoken a word. They don’t order drinks. They don’t play the slots. They might wander around and browse the media stacks on occasion, but mostly, they just hang out. Perhaps they find some comfort in the company of strangers.