A Travesty of a Community
There's something that bothers me about my community in buffalo. When I make my all too often trips to Tim Horton, I do it in a defeated demeanor. I don't want to go but I do out of tradition. Sure, it was fun when I was a freshman, but by the time I was a sophomore, it seemed like a diluted concoction of Gatorade mix. I grew weary of the little antics of friend groups I had no reason to care about. But it was only recently when I stopped by did the atmosphere really disappoint me.
But here's the thing: I wanted to care. I wanted to be part of the jokes and laughter around a table of friends, but I couldn't enter into the barrier of people. Maybe the worst thing is that I expected these people to be together and unwilling to be elsewhere. There was a part of me that knew, coming from class, which people would sit where and who would talk to one another. If I felt this way, I couldn't imagine what the others felt.
You see, it isn't just about Tim Horton and the few hours we spend there. We carry our habits to our daily routines and it is killing us. I found it funny how segregated we are in what we consider to be a family and a group of friends. The issue is how much we ignored each other despite how familiar we claimed ourselves to be.
Maybe the issue is more on expectations than anything else. I always figured where we claim one thing there should be actions that reflect just that. Too often have I been a participant in large gatherings only to find that we call these people together in a disillusioned attempt to declare ourselves a community, when, in reality, we already know who we want and don't want to talk to. And I think is something relevant to everyone.
There's a problem when we use inside jokes and indiscernible language in places where what is colloquially spoken is whether or not the Seahawks should have ran the ball instead. It's tiring for people to listen and intentionally care. When we destroy what precious time people afford us to hear about their lives, the basis of a community is compromised.
That doesn't mean there isn't a time for talking about everything thing else that make your best friends, well, best friends. But in times where we have the opportunity to build new relationships out of love and care, we need to take advantage of these seemingly rare chances. We often wonder why people stop showing up to our events and gatherings and the exact reason is that we are very much as exclusive as receiving an offer for the American Express Black Card. The answer is right in front of our face and we are part of the problem. Thankfully, we are also the solution.
This isn't meant to be a long post, nor is it meant to encourage us to talk to every stranger we encounter. When we have people around us who need that one friend to simply talk to them, and we ignore it, only to continue in interacting with people we spend every minute of our lives with already, then perhaps we can't call ourselves a family. I'm not innocent of this but I know nobody else is either.
If there was one thing I never felt during my four years in Buffalo, it's the sense of appreciation and acceptance everyone craves. As for me, my time is up, and I've accepted the fact this place isn't for me. But I know there are others still searching, hoping for a group of people they can relate to. I've had the privilege of knowing a few awesome people who kept me afloat. Out there, however, are tons of people, who of whom are the same people we consider part of our "family" but really aren't, and I'm worried about them.
One day, when we look back and wonder why people call us cliquey or refuse to take part in our charades, then we can only blame ourselves. My hope is that it'll never get to that point.