Today, Salon has a article on loneliness. Because, I guess, it's that time of year.
While I don't quibble with people who suffer from depression, or those who have to deal with SAD each winter, I think most of the ho-hum that comes at the holidays is the clash of our natural instincts to hibernate by the fire with a cup of spiked nog watching "A Christmas Story" and the obligations to dress up, be cheery and bear the cold to make a meal of bad hors d'oeuvres while enduring mind-numbing chit-chat during this highly social season. Or maybe that's just me.
I politely cleared my schedule this weekend. I was tired, not feeling especially social, and desperately wanted to avoid the panicked-shopper traffic this weekend seems to bring. Most of my social obligations had been met by Friday anyway. The remainder can be made up after Boxing Day. So, I snuggled up, wrapped in my Four Seasons Hotel robe, and watched movies I've seen three hundred times before.
Don't ask me why I willing watch "Terms of Endearment" when I know I'm going to cry when Huckleberry Fox does after Debra Winger tells her sons she's not getting better. Ugh. But, sometimes, I long for weekends like this. Quiet time alone. Perhaps it's part of a certain type of writer's personality. I think we are solitary creatures by nature only because there are a bunch of characters living in our heads all the time. It's sort of exhausting, at least mentally. So, if I can get those characters to be quiet, I kind of blow off the rest of the characters in my life. Which sort of makes me a cruddy friend, I suppose. But, my friends are used to it to a degree. Writers are also like exotic pets to some. Our idiosyncrasies are considered part of the charm (as long as we don't claw the furniture or crap on the rug).
Inevitably, I get a bit bored at the end of my hibernation. Typically, as I'm getting my second wind, friends have lost theirs. They are donning their robes and either nursing lingering hangovers, or trying to psyche themselves up for Monday...or neither of us is willing to drive to the other's part of town, so we end up gabbing on the phone instead of in person. Which is just as well, because I was still in my robe and didn't bother blow-drying my hair after my shower.
Then, I stumbled on the Salon article. I've always been a loner but, for a moment, I became slightly panicked that I was actually chronically lonely, and without even realizing I was! I took the lonely test and ended up in the gray zone between the "normal" and "severe" range. Then I realized that I had forgotten about the "rarely" option. Never give me four choices. It's one more than I can handle.
There's a thin line between being lonely and alone. I'm quite comfortable being alone -- which is both a good and bad thing. I like the self-sufficiency, but it can also be a bit of a bad habit. Fortunately, I have friends that will call me on my idiosyncrasies and force me to be social. They know the magic words: "Drinks", "Hal's" or "A Votre Sante". And I love them for it.
Unfortunately, they disabled the embed (where's the love, Universal Music Group?), so click here for a little slice of Charlie Sexton. Just in case your beat's so lonely, too.