Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Am Not Lonely

I've had a day of perfect solitude and I think of Thoreau and I think of Greta Garbo and I think of that Buddhist nun who spent some inordinate amount of time in a cave all by herself, just meditating and I think of Robinson Crusoe, but oh wait, he wasn't alone through choice.

I like being alone. Perhaps way too much. I don't know. I think maybe I've always been this way. The most happy memories I have of my childhood involve me being by myself, usually outside under a tree or in a tree with the sky above me or on a dock with the water below and beside me. Usually with a book but not always. Sometimes just me and the sky or the water or the green branches making a cave around me.

Being with people can be tricky. It can be wonderful, don't get me wrong. But Lord, it can be tricky. Yesterday when I was cooking, the dogs raised a ruckus at the front door and I went to see if they were barking at someone walking by or if someone was actually there and someone was actually there and I could tell he was someone running for office because he was wearing a T-shirt with his name on it and was holding a flyer or a brochure. The front doors were open but the screen doors were closed and I was holding a hardboiled egg in my hand that I'd been peeling. He introduced himself and asked me how long I'd lived here and some other stuff about this house and if it was the sister-house to the one across the street and if I realized how bad the school system was here in Jefferson County, which of course I do. He's running for Superintendent of Schools and good luck with that, buddy. This county ain't got no money and if you have any money you send your kids to private school and that's just the way of it and it sucks but it would take some sort of miracle to change it.
But then he did a thing that completely pissed me off. He opened my screen door! 
No. You do not open my screen door without my permission unless I know you. This is the country way and by god, he should have known that. He's lived in Jefferson County his whole life.
But he did. He opened the door to try and shake my hand which I did not allow, pretending that my hand was wet from my egg-peeling and then he handed me his brochure and I let the door close back on him.
"I'm best friends with your neighbors!" he said cheerfully, as if that was all it would take to get my vote after such a gaffe. The neighbors he was referring to are the people who put up the Romney/Ryan sign practically on the property of the Holy Ghost Revival Center. My neighbors are fine people in their way and if one of us needs each other we are there for each other in the neighborly way but I have a feeling they don't even know where Public Radio is on the dial just as I do not know where to find Rush Limbaugh on the dial if indeed he is on the dial but I feel certain they do.
Know what I'm saying? I'm sure you do.

When he left I tossed his brochure directly in the trash and went back to my egg peeling. I will not be voting for him. Let me count the reasons.

But what I'm saying here is that...people. They can be so odd. And rude! And uncaring.

When I went to the dermatologist last week and was so very frightened and the doctor told me that no, that was not skin cancer on my leg and I burst into tears neither he nor either of the two women assistants in the room gave the slightest indication that they had any sympathy at all for what I'd just gone through which, admittedly, wasn't really that much but still. I had burst into tears! I am a human being who was crying within two feet of all three of them and not a one did a thing but to look at me stonily as if I should have known, for christ's sake, should have known that this black thing on my leg wasn't skin cancer, Cowboy Up, Pony Girl and shut the fuck up. 
Or that's how I felt, at least.
And so then I dried my eyes and as the doctor did the full-body skin-check on me, I did what I do to try and diffuse a stressful situation which is to use humor and so I started cracking jokes but they didn't respond to them either and finally I said, "Y'all do realize that I'm trying to make a joke here? You don't really think I'm crazy, do you?" but they didn't say anything and by god, I feel pretty sure that they do. Think I'm crazy.
And then before you knew it, I was smelling my own flesh burn as the doctor removed the ugly thing on my leg and no, none of them offered the slightest bit of comfort at all.

It was so awkward and is it wrong, is it ridiculous to think that when you're in a tiny room with three people and you're the only one whose tits and ass are being bared and looked at that it would be the graceful thing to do to pretend to be human? When that person has just cried in relief? Would it be so hard to laugh at the lame jokes that person is trying to make in order to preserve some sense of dignity? Would it? Really?
I'm not going back to that dermatologist. I'm going to fire him and I'm going to a different one.
He does not get my vote any more.

Of course I had the most precious, sweet time yesterday with Molly and her husband and their new son. I will be floating on the holiness of that one for quite awhile. It was loving. It was a connection on every human level. And here's what I think- I think that's the only kind of human encounter I want to have these days. Even when I'm checking out at the grocery store I want to make it as real and human as possible. When the check-out person says, "How are you today?" I want to answer, "I'm good. And how are YOU?" and really mean it. I want to hear. I want to know. I want to look into that person's eyes and let them know that I am a human and I know that they are a human and even in this brief moment, we can be genuine. I do realize that such a situation is not the time to go into long discussions about things but by golly, you can be brief and still be genuine. And I have had some of the most intense connections with strangers in the least expected places just because I allowed that to happen and so did the other person and those encounters warmed me and made my day better and maybe even my life richer and what in the world is wrong with that?

So no. I am not adverse to any and all encounters with others but I have no patience for the entirely social interaction and and real interactions take a great deal of energy. And sometimes, I just don't want to have to go there. And thus, I do love being alone.

Back to childhood- it was when I was alone that I didn't feel inadequate or fat or like an alien. I didn't have to bear the sympathy of adults because I was the child of a divorced mother and I didn't have to listen to the teasing of other children. My mind could go where it wanted. To visions of pirate ships and sea monsters or of castles in the clouds. I could pretend I was whole and okay. I didn't feel the impossible neediness of my depressed mother or the impossible expectations of my strict grandfather. No one could touch me if I didn't want to be touched, no one could judge me. I could simply be myself, lying on a dock or under a tree or walking the beach and looking for Spanish treasure.
I guess it was a habit that I got into. The pleasure of being alone.

And I don't know if it's a good habit or not but it's mine.

I like people fine. Or at least, some of them. But some people- oh, they give humanity a bad name. And instead of feeling like I'm crazy, I wonder why more people aren't like me- wanting not to be a part of the shallowness or hurtfulness or rudeness or just general energy-sucking socialness of it all.

But then, to be honest, sometimes I do just think I'm crazy. That I'm just afraid of being hurt or that I'm excessively judgemental or that I am not tolerant or that I am simply incredibly self-centered.

And sometimes I think I just think too much and that it's okay to want to be alone and I don't need to analyze it but to just enjoy it. And also, to enjoy the times I do have with people I love and truly care for and the times when I feel as if a true human connection has been made even with a virtual stranger in the most unexpected of circumstances.

Well. I'm going to go make my supper and I'm going to cherish this solitude and I'm going to not feel guilty about it.
All the while knowing that my husband will be home tomorrow and that if I truly wanted another human being to be with me I could call any number of people, some of them my children, some of them my neighbors, some of them my friends, and they would be here for me if that is what I wanted. If that is what I needed.

And you know, it's also such a solace, feeling as if you too, yes, you, are here with me in a way. And that you do not judge me but understand the need for time and space to be alone with my thoughts. I think most of you understand this very well. And if you do, I understand you as well.

Sweet dreams, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I know what you mean about people. My car was in the shop yesterday and so I took the bus. I asked how much the senior fare is and the driver said you can't have that fare because "you're a teenager." So, of course, my first thought was what a cool guy! Then he went on to say, "it must be in your genes. You know like diarrhea is in your genes!" After that he ranted without my saying anything about being 3 1/2 minutes late on his route, how his boss doesn't appreciate him. I was thinking he's not a cool guy at all, maybe he's a little scary even and I got off the bus. My little ego was so deflated! Anyway, I'm right here with you. Enjoy your solitude dear heart.

  2. Yeah, Mer-Mer......I think I invented needing to be alone most of the time (which you must admit, you ain't....and you do say you love being buried in kin and babies and such....but it's OK to have a skitzy persona)

    And I am right there with you regarding how exhausting it can be to relate, even if it is with someone you like or love........I can only take a bit of that relating before needing several days of solitude to recharge.

    As for having to relate to most of the crazies in this crazy thanks, I choose not to.

  3. Well that guy was very rude. You don't open someone's door if they don't open it for you, I don't care what universe you live in.

    I'm basically a loner too. I like individuals but human beings as a whole suck. When I was a river guide, an escape and an experiment all at the same time, I would tell people that I was basically anti-social and they would laugh. You? no way they would say. But the me on the river, doing my job, no matter how much fun and how much I enjoyed it, was not the me that I was mostly when I was not on the river.

  4. I completely understand.

    You made me think, again, of Ms. Chavez, the wicked traffic lady and how easily she could have been a human being and spoken kindly to me and to Sophie. What the fuck?

  5. I feel the same way. I spent almost all day yesterday alone, just taking a walk and reading and hanging around the house listening to my iTunes. I grew up in a rural area and I didn't have a lot of people around during the day, so I got used to entertaining myself. It's a valuable talent, I think!

    I'm surprised that candidate opened your screen door. I'm not sure I would have done that.

  6. Suzanne- Hello and welcome! Yes, I would have gotten off that bus too. How odd.

    Lo- The older we get, the more we become who we are, don't you think? And yes, of course I love being with my babies but like you, I need time afterwards to be by myself. Just the way it is. And avoiding the crazies is my entire life goal for the most part now.
    Thank you for commenting, Lo. I love you.

    Ellen Abbott- Same with me when I'm in a play. I appear to be quite social and I do enjoy it but when it's over...oh, thank god.

    Elizabeth- She is a cruel woman. That's all there is to it. Just fucking cruel. Instead of giving you a ticket, a real human being would have said, "Can I help you?"
    She did not. I sort of hate her for you.

    Steve- Very uncouth behavior. Yes.

    Maggie May- I know you understand.

  7. i like being alone. i like doing absolutely nothing when i am alone. i'm glad you don't have a skin cancer and if someone opened my door without permission i would of closed it for them, on them if necessary.


  8. I'm glad you are firing that dermatologist. There is no reason to be so cold.


  9. I'd like you give you a real and true hug.

    And I totally get the alone thing. Totally get it.

  10. I had never thought of that before, but many of my happy childhood memories are of times I was alone. Not all of them, but many.

    I value my alone time very highly these days as it is a rare pleasure.

  11. I enjoy my solitude as well. I meet with people and can be very social but am glad that I am once again home or alone on the boat. A freakin' introvert but that's okay. I am comfortable with who I am now.

  12. Alone is a relief. I get it TOTALLY. I'd rather be in the company of my cats and dog than most people. I have less and less energy for people outside my family the damn older I get.


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