The difficulties of making friends in a city with few singles. The writer attempts to find some using Craiglist:
"I chatted with a divorced businessman who wanted a lunch-break buddy, and with a perfectly normal-sounding guy who wanted somebody to go with him to a nudist camp. And I met up with a friendly bouncer and UMKC student named George, who hung out with his buddies regularly but had trouble convincing any of them to come smoke shisha. We went to Jaskki's, in the West Bottoms, and puffed on a hookah.
"Then I met up with a woman, an introvert named Audrey, whose ad said she'd moved to Kansas City around a year ago but couldn't remember the last time she'd gone out socially with anyone. We hung out for a while in the fiction section of Barnes & Noble and talked about our favorite writers.
"But I saw neither George nor Audrey again. Maybe because of the way we'd arranged our meetings, the energy in them was too low to demand follow-up. Or maybe because I hadn't been serious enough about doing it. Making friends cold turkey turns out to be oddly like dating — sometimes you're more into somebody than that person is into you, and the doubt and anxiety that come with that imbalance don't feel good. And sometimes a response I sent to an interesting Craigslist ad was met with silence, as though we'd already broken up."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 6, 2012
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3356 words)
Two years ago, at the nadir of the financial crisis, the urban sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh wondered aloud in the New York Times why no mass protests had arisen against what was clearly a criminal coup by the banks. Where were the pitchforks, the tar, the feathers? Where, more importantly, were the crowds? Venkatesh's answer was the iPod: "In public spaces, serendipitous interaction is needed to create the 'mob mentality.' Most iPod-like devices separate citizens from one another; you can't join someone in a movement if you can't hear the participants. Congrats Mr. Jobs for impeding social change." Venkatesh's suggestion was glib, tossed off—yet it was also a rare reminder, from the quasi-left, of how urban life has been changed by recording technologies.
PUBLISHED: March 28, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3586 words)
Pitcher who gave up Pete Rose's record hit lived, and died, with heavy burden
PUBLISHED: Sept. 11, 2010
LENGTH: 35 minutes (8993 words)