“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau
Me too, Henry. Or can I call you “Hank?”
In fact, I love to be alone. Listening to music, watching TV, surfing the internet, working in the yard, playing with my dogs, laughing at my cats, photographing bugs on flowers, reading a book … these are all pleasures that help me stay centered and relaxed. I don’t have to worry that I’ve said something offensive to anyone or disappointed someone because I didn’t behave in a manner that was expected. I like being alone because I don’t have to be “on.” I like being me and that’s easiest to do with … me.
I’m not a complete hermit. I do like to be around people but I’m more of a social sprinter. I like my time with others to be in short spurts then I can scurry off to be alone and recharge. I envy those people who effortlessly float through social events exchanging witty repartee and genuinely enjoying themselves. How do they do that? I drink as much as they do. I struggle to make it through many conversations and as I listen to myself in the struggle I think, “What the hell are you saying?” And judging by the expression on the faces of my listeners it appears that they have the same question.
Writing is my preferred method of communication. I don’t know what kind of synapse misfire goes on in my brain when I’m speaking but too many of my sentences just don’t make any damn sense. I’m notorious for attempting to use a metaphor to make a point and start with the right beginning, then forget the part of the metaphor that makes the point, like forgetting the punchline of a joke. (Remember, I hate jokes.)
“Well you know … ‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and … (awkward silence as my mind searches my cerebral files for the words) … he’ll need to get some … bait?'”
Another phobic cause for my avoidance of all things social is that I tend to attract that one person whose idea of a conversation is a non-stop monologue. What in the world is the psychiatric diagnosis for that condition? “Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah … blah-blah-blah … blaaaaah.” Oh my God! I feel like my feet are stuck in quicksand and no matter how much I try to end their conversation and make my escape, I’m actually wriggling myself deeper in the muck and mire of their verbal diarrhea. “SHUT THE **** UP!!!” is usually the loop playing inside my head as I feign interest in and attention to what the person is saying. When they finally stop — usually because I fake the onset of a medical emergency — it’s like the clouds part, the angels sing, and I realize that I am free at last.
So I’m sitting here in my living room, listening to Pandora play the songs I like, smiling at the cat lying across my leg, and I’m completely content. What shall I do next? Maybe I’ll read some Henry David Thoreau. He’s a hoot.