I met a woman a few weeks ago who seemed…well, nice. We talked at a Chelsea bar for 90 minutes or so. Nothing all that jolting or tectonic on my end but she certainly seemed like good people. A couple of days later she told me she was taking a pass. She’d looked at my Facebook page and decided that anyone with over 500 friends wasn’t to be trusted. I could have said “But, but…a lot of people know me!” but it wasn’t worth the effort. I let it go.

Because I knew what she was basically implying, and I had no theoretical argument with it. There’s a line from Charles Bukowski‘s The Genius of the Crowd that says “beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone.” I get that. I feel that way myself. People who are always booked solid and always hanging with groups of friends and never…you know, just taking quiet walks on their own or reading or going to a film alone lack a certain grounded quality, a certain centeredness.

There’s a moment in Chinatown when Diane Ladd‘s Ida Sessions asks Jack Nicholson‘s J.J. Gittes, “Are you alone?” And Gittes answers, “Aren’t we all?” Anyone who chuckles at that exchange is cool. Anyone who doesn’t get it or sits there blank-faced probably isn’t. It’s really that simple. Well, nearly.