Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adjusting to Solitude

Today I woke up on a full-sized air mattress fit snugly between the base of a brown leather sofa and the doors to the facing TV stand. I spent the night at my sister's house, in her 'office.' It was the half remembering of 'Where am I?' and 'Did I do anything stupid last night?' that I awoke to. Nothing to kick the mattress over-- I've been very well mannered, thank you. Still dancing like a maniac though.

My favorite time of day is morning, the first few minutes of it. The small window when I become aware of the comfort of my bed and the quietness of a newborn day; before the mind pollutes itself with remembrances of things to do, worries, regrets.

Waking up in an unknown place extends this moment. As does the immediate confrontation of people.

I only stayed at my sister's house long enough to eat cereal, then I went outside to the car to drive home. I didn't have much planned for the day, but it just felt like time to shove off. I'm not usually the one rushing out the door the morning after, but things are changing, and I'm confused as to in what ways.

Am I finding restoration in solitude? Or is loneliness defining it?

I left her house this morning feeling empowered; even after the long drive and a quiet morning doing crossword puzzles with Cody, my batteries were still charged. Then the switch, I became overwhelmed with loneliness. So what to do when you really are alone? I don't know, but I decided to find other people.

I drove off aimlessly in flip-flops with a Trek sports bottle full of well water in my purse. I also packed a book, and an unfinished puzzle. I thought I'd just drive until something begged me to stop. Maybe I'd just sit in a park for the afternoon. Or maybe find meaning in my shoe choice, I was in good shape for a pedicure.

Thirty minutes later and I'm on the road again. I decide to drive North, opposite direction of Home. Ten blocks later I find myself in a Dairy Queen ordering a Butterfinger Blizzard alongside your standard four and five member families. It made me feel lame connecting with such a global female faux pas: using comfort food to fill emotional emptiness. It gets a little worse, next I went record shopping, for the kind of albums you never need to own; the kind always available in bars, on the radio, or in movies.

Is there some kind equation out there that can help me better understand how much time alone is healthy and how much is not? With easy instructions to scale to self?

Perhaps the initial satisfaction of solitude was only in response to, or revolt of, a long night of conversation. Maybe the sensory chaos of socializing is like a drug, one that is addictive. I mean, everyone knows distraction is addicting. NY'ers are probably the number one offender. Was what I experienced today a form of social withdrawal? Had I chosen to stay home alone last night, would there have been a ripple of discontent today or not?

It's funny how something so seemingly natural [attachments to others] can take so much thought and energy. Or maybe it's not, to those of you (Seth) practiced in philosophy. Reminds me of when I studied piano at a collegiate level, I had to relearn how to touch the keyboard. I think I spent three weeks in lesson just pressing one key down, then again, and again, until it breathed. It was infuriating.


  1. Hey! I made it into one of your blog posts! Thanks, hope your doing good. Drop me a line sometime soon.