Recently we stumbled upon the Tumblr “Gnome Life,” which tackles the trials and tribulations a millennial gnome faces after moving to New York City. Hilarious, right? A gnome in New York City? But after we laughed about gnomes, because gnomes are funny, and perused the many photos of the gnome doing things around the city (hailing cabs, shopping at Duane Reade — also funny), we were plagued with questions.
Who was this gnome guy anyway? What was his aim in all this? We got in touch with Mr. Gnome, and what we found surprised us. (It’s not just a shtick, exactly…and he’s not after a book deal.)
The gnome, by the way, who’s a little bit Yoda, a little bit Deepak Chopra, did not break character throughout our interview.
Hi gnome! How did you come up with the idea for your Tumblr?
Everyone who has moved to New York City knows what it is like to feel small and lonely and full of wonderment. The gnome gives a unique perspective to these shared experiences, and allows people to look at New York City, the culture, the people, the trends, and all the elements without any traditional preconceived expectations.
Is it challenging to be a gnome in New York City?
I come from a community of gnomes. In the garden I was comfortable, but I always felt that my life was destined for something else. I spent happy years in the garden trying to find a sense of purpose and self, but ultimately I knew that in order to become who I needed to be, I had to leave the garden.
In the city I am among people who share my journey, but none of them will end theirs alongside mine. My journey is in one sense common, but it also unique. Day to day, life in the city can be hard.
What did the other gnomes think about you moving to the city?
In the garden the gnomes try to support each other as much as they can. I can’t help but think that most of the gnomes thought I would return home in a few days. I can only hope that the other gnomes understand my journey, and why I had to leave.
Do you have a hard time shooting photos while people are around?
When the gnome is out getting his photo taken, he certainly draws attention. Many people comment, and sometimes yell, as they are walking or driving by. Other people ask questions. But the real New Yorkers seem to pass by without breaking a thought, conversation, or stride.
Are you trying to get a book deal out of this?
No, although no one knows exactly where and what this gnome’s journey will lead to.
Hm. We all remember the difficulty of trying to figure out the bus schedule or the subway for the first time, and we all deal with the dual-pronged wonderment and horror of facing everything this city has to offer each day. “New York moves quickly and in strange ways,” the gnome told us, adding, “I am learning something new about the city and myself everyday.” Hey, we’re right there with you, gnome. Minus the pointy red hat.