I can totally empathise with Greta Garbo and wanting to be alone when I consider the vast majority of the people I unfortunately must share this planet with. Most well-meaning and good people it has to be said but people who seem to feel (in my experience anyway) that I must toe a certain line, or be excluded. I am only too happy to be shunned in that instance.
Tonight was a case in point. I have been badgered for some time to ‘go out and meet people.’ So I joined a group which usually meets online rather than in person. It was to be a quiz night and we were to use a Skype type of thing to converse.
I have noticed for a while now how masculinity seems to be viewed with a kind of disdain in certain quarters. I turned up at the appointed time. I usually stay quiet until I know people however because I was a new face and didn’t want others to feel awkward, I smiled and waved to everyone as I entered the room, introduced myself, and asked after everyone there.
There were slightly more women than men. The men in the group had soft trebley voices and had a sort of gender-neutral look about them. They seemed very pleasant though. I have a deep voice and a full beard. I’m a tall lanky kind of bloke however I look masculine.
Suddenly, two of the women turned off their cameras so I was looking at avatars although I could still hear them speaking. Then I couldn’t hear them speaking at all although conversations were clearly being had with the others there. F*cking uncomfortable, it has to be said.
There was an air of forced jollity about the proceedings. The woman running the group was very friendly however she was talking constantly and kept giggling. It turned out it wasn’t going to be a quiz night after all but a round of questions where you have to give the silliest answers which the others later would grade us all on. I’m surprised we weren’t given little shiny adhesive stars on a PDF wall-chart we could take away with us.
I could feel the panic and pointlessness of it all building within me. I thought back to when my heart stopped beating last year and the fact it would one day stop again but for all time and I thought “Do I really want to waste my evening here doing this?” I took a few minutes more of the absolute nonsense of it all and then just left, exited the window, unsubscribed from the group and then deleted my entire online account associated with it. The freedom felt wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong, I know some fantastic people. S is one of those and she will read this. I could never tire of you. Your mind is incredible. You are incredible. Another friend of mine, P, is a really nice bloke and I’m happy to know him. Then there are those of you here who Like and comment on my blog entries, as I do yours. It gladdens my heart to know you are out there somewhere in the world. However, if I am completely honest I could quite easily and happily go and live in a log cabin in the woods for the rest of my life never seeing or hearing from the vast majority of people ever again. I glean nothing from their company.
I woke up this morning with both cats laying beside me. I had fallen asleep to a live YouTube video feed of a storm-chaser driving towards a tornado over the pond, in the good old U. S. of A. Today, I have drunk coffee and listened to Genesis, Sting, Mr. Mister, Chris Whitley and Bob Dylan. I have cleaned out the snail’s enclosure, fed and watered them and put new soil in as well as changed their surroundings by moving sticks and stones around. I put new food in for the crickets. Aside from my mother, I have not set eyes on another human being all day. Just felines, insects and molluscs and that’s been just fine with me.
My mum will ask after tonight’s ‘quiz night’ and sigh heavily when I tell her that it wasn’t for me, just as she has sighed at me having no inclination to ‘climb the ladder’ in terms of career, learn to drive, be in a relationship or want to reproduce. I am kind of ‘in the world but not of it.’ As a child, nothing made me happier than sitting by myself reading books, listening to music and hanging out with a dog or cat. Invariably a cat. I didn’t know I was a ‘loner’ then or ‘weird.’ I just knew that during those times I felt most at peace with myself and the world around me.
40 years later and I’m just the same. This is me. I am doing a Garbo. Largely, “I want to be alone.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.