Sitting around all day with no one to talk to has many benefits, especially if you live and work as I do. I write, all the time, endlessly, bouncing around between voices and faces and perspectives, never truly being exactly myself. This, I find, is an ideal way of working: the silence, oh the sweet silence.
And yet now, with all this time to spare, quarantined and all, with all my loved ones wandering aimlessly around our home, work for me is much harder. I do not feel lonely. I am never alone.
So let us articulate how loneliness can be beneficial. It can give you deeper focus, can give you insight into whatever you have to say, never having another to bounce your ideas off. With a noisy crowd around I find myself staying up later, into the void of exhaustion, wondering if what I was considering earlier might continue the dazzle of the original idea from interrupted hours before.
Of course ideas change, get altered, the circumstances of your surroundings interfering, or at least influencing, every thought in your head. While before I may have been thinking, “Hey! I should have a drink or four!” now I play with my children instead, traipsing through board games and movies I don’t want to see. The conversations are good–things that we as a family look forward to, and yet eventually, selfish writer asshole that I am, I wish for silence, like I used to have during the daytime when my children are in school and my wife at work. My dog doesn’t bother me when I am here in front of the computer, and once the cat is fed he shuts the fuck up (for an hour; he is a fat, greedy thing).
And so I suffer, sometimes, with too much exposure to the people I have lived and worked for, and who form the core of my being. There is no hatred nor anything outside of love directed towards them, although that love sometimes is expressed with irritation, with impatience, and with strong occasional desires to be alone.
Being alone is not torture the way some directionless people find it. Being alone offers you the greatest self-direction, gives you the meaning of your existence, often offers you thoughts on how best you can please your family. Without it, well, you know. All of you know in those aggravated moments of the recent past.
How many of you over the past few weeks have started to realize that your children can be assholes? That your spouse is frequently insufferable? I understand that for some people time spent with your family is the best experience you can have, but even for those of you following this religion, there must be times when you only want to be alone. Alone with the television, with a book, playing solitary games, or staring at the blank emptiness that passes today for the outside world. All of us want this from time to time to time.
So right now everyone in my house but me is asleep (the dog and cat too, but they sleep most of the day, lazy, lazy beasts). And right now, exhausted with the constant exposure to other people’s thoughts, frustrations, and ideas on how to pass the time, the only thing I can come up with is this bitchy little commentary. And for this I apologize. I can get back to politics and horror stories about politics and human civilization, or any other concept I have worked hard on throughout the entirety of Recording Editorial History. But now, now . . . now this is all I needed to say, like a cheap diary entry on what is meant to be larger than a selfish diary, more complicated than a Facebook post with pictures of my kids and an articulation on the four things I ate today. It is meant to be more than mourning a loss, or joyous rapture over some little success. This is meant to be a full-scale discussion of things that affect all of us.
But . . . we are all isolated, all trapped in the prison of our choices and our own making, whether there is a toxin in the air or not. We are all caged, ultimately, by the burden of our lives. Maybe this is one of the benefits this horrorshow tearing the world apart can offer. Perhaps we might get to know ourselves better, outside of our partisan biases and self-absorbed fixations on other people’s thoughts. Is there still a chance for human redemption, or at least a settling of rage, hollowing ourselves out of the idea of hatred in an effort to help everyone through our daily pain? But I don’t know, none of us really knows. Are we too far gone for reconciliation?