Martin Scorcese’s revered cinematic masterpiece, Taxi Driver, follows a disillusioned and disoriented man named Travis Bickle. Bickle is someone who is cut off from society and essentially labeled as a misfit. He is someone who wants to socially connect to people but simply cannot. He is a character I wholeheartedly relate and connect to.
In a scene from Taxi Driver, Bickle stated, “The days go on and on and they don’t end. All my life needed was a sense of some place to go. I don’t believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention. I believe that one should become a person like other people.”
Growing up, I just didn’t feel like I fit in with any social groups. I still don’t really know why. I think it’s probably because I had different likes and interests from the norm. I simply never meshed with other people. I’ve always been different and liked different things. I was into bands like Marilyn Manson, Hole and Incubus and I liked anime and horror movies. I didn’t have many friends and I often spent my Saturday nights alone in my room. Being alone, I needed things to occupy my time. I learned about enlightenment and the ability to transcend your mind to see beyond your reality. I also read many of James Baldwin’s works and became “infatuated” with the intelligence and knowledge of this man. I even watched all of Scorcese’s films. Taxi Driver had the most profound effect on me as I have never found so much of myself in a film and most importantly, a character. It’s just the daunting sense of isolation that reigns over the film in the loud horn snares that resonate with me.
I don’t mean to make some grandiose caricature of myself by “bragging” about the movies I’ve seen and things I’ve learned about. I truly believe these things have shaped my worldview and have caused me to be someone who deviates from the norm. So, loneliness made me who I am.