Recently, you got excited about someone.

What you noticed first—before you talked to her—was her goofiness. Her laughter and smile seemed almost ridiculous! Outside the rulebooks of gender and culture, it looked unselfconscious, although later she said she often felt she was performing.

Oh, and the relaxed interest she took in the people around her! She looked committed to each person she turned to, even as she drifted through the crowd.

And when you talked with her, you were embarrassed. She was so smart, but she focused on being honest, and slow, and warm. Next to her, you felt showy and fake and manic.

When you talked about social issues, she was discerning and she was practical. Curious what could be organized, started, done.

When you talked about emotions—about life and what happens inside each of us—she started from a frank, wry assessment of the difficulty of being human. She seemed heartfelt, but with a habit of speaking in universals. Deep optimism.


You count yourself lucky. You’ve had people like her in your life. She reminds you of lovers, of friends, of collaborators.

These are people you create fluidly with. People who share your aesthetic, who avoid being distracted by the monstrous, the minimal, the archetypal. People who find extremity in the details of being alive. With them you find an imaginative way of walking around. With them, the invisible social games around us are recognized, respected, and nonetheless fucked with.

These are people where discussions move easily to action. With whom you deliver creative, playful, and lightweight responses to the culture and systems around you. You start meetups and art projects. You go out into the street and interview pedestrians. You build communities.

These are people you rock out with. You can be glamorous together. You can put on a swagger. You can choose together to be extravagant, or to be nuanced. To travel gonzo style. You can go full clown or full catastrophe, each as the situation suggests.


Perhaps what’s rare for you, is common for her. Perhaps she comes from a place where everyone is ready to create, to organize, to respond, to rock out.

That might explain why she wasn’t interested to get to know you.

Might there be a city like that? A neighborhood?

Do we find it on a map?

Or do we build it for ourselves?

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