There is a certain unique and strange delight about walking down an empty street alone. There is an off-focus light cast by the moon, and the streetlights are part of the spotlight apparatus on a bare stage set up for you to walk through. You get a feeling of being listened to, so you talk aloud, softly, to see how it sounds. ~Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals
A few weeks ago, I had to pick up my daughter who was taking the bus from New York City. It was 10pm, and I was meeting her at the bus stop on her college campus. Traffic held her up considerably, so I found myself alone in the dark, in extreme heat, with some time to spare...the campus Starbucks immediately adjacent to the bus stop was closed up tight, which threw off my plans to wait there. I decided to walk across campus to the "hub" where I could sit in the cool air conditioning of the food court. I set off across campus and was immediately struck by one thing: I was completely and utterly alone in this dorm section of campus. It was eerie...I couldn't believe there wasn't one single person in sight as far as my eye could see. I had assumed the campus would be bustling...it was a ghost town. The silence was deafening...it was both creepy and amazing at the same time.
As I walked down the long path by the dorms, I was literally talking out loud to myself to break up the uncanny silence. And yes, it was silly stuff like, "This is so weird...there's no one here. I can't believe no one else is around...what is going on." (lol) The thick heat and humidity felt suffocating, and only added to the "twilight zone" feel. I did stop to take this one photo with my iphone. I called my husband and had him talk with me as I finished my walk, and was relieved to finally see a few people as I reached the center of campus.
What an odd experience that was, especially when living in a suburban area where I'm normally surrounded by thousands of people everywhere I go! When I stumbled upon the quote above a couple of days later, I thought it described my experience perfectly. My iphone image isn't pretty, by any means, but it captures the mood of my experience really well, I think. Have you ever found yourself unexpectedly alone in an otherwise crowded place? Wasn't it surreal?