Friday, April 15, 2005

Garbo blogs!

It's not the way most people who know me now think of me, but for the first decade of my adult life I was what you could call a loner. I lived by myself for two years, and was single with housemates for many years before and after that, spending most of my free time in my own company. And yeah, I was lonely, but I got used to a certain level of autonomy and privacy. Because I'd never been in a couple, I took it for granted that whenever I wasn't working I could just knock around town, not having to account for where I spent my time or check in with anyone or make sure anyone was okay.

It's no slur on my spouse or child to say that sometimes I miss that alone time. I've lived with RW for seven years, and had the same job for almost that long. Since the Mermaid Girl was born, I don't go to many places that aren't work or home or some kind of childcare situation: everywhere I go, most people know me, or feel like they do. Everything I do, or don't do, affects someone else. If I don't want to talk, they might think I'm being unfriendly. If I'm crabby, they remember it, sometimes for years.

I miss being a stranger among strangers, an anonymous soul in the city. I miss being able to just be, with no one trying to talk to me or get my attention for anything. The kind of zoned-out state you can be in when you're riding a bus, or wandering in a bookstore, or sitting in a cafe, or just walking around on city streets. Alone, with other people. It soothes me.

And I miss being alone in my home: getting up and not talking to anyone until I feel like it; just puttering around, maybe cooking or doing dishes or folding laundry, with only my thoughts and the radio for company. I miss reading at the table.

RW and Mermaid Girl are away for the weekend, camping with MG's best friend and her mom. So for a few days, I'll be living something very close to my old life, without the anxiety and loneliness that went with it. Since I got off work this afternoon, I've wandered around the public library, enjoying being a patron and not the Library Lady. I went to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner (RW doesn't like Ethiopian food), and read while I was waiting for my meal. I spent over an hour at the video store, looking at one DVD after another and thinking about which one to watch all by myself. I picked Donnie Darko; I've been hearing about it for years.

I'm going to go watch it now. Then tomorrow I'm going to vacuum and do some other chores, but also read whenever the urge hits me, and take a nap if I'm tired. I kind of hope it rains, so I don't feel any Pacific Northwest Sunshine Guilt for spending a sunny day in the house. (Though I hope it's sunny where RW is, so she can have a glorious weekend.)

If this went on too long I know I'd start to feel sort of rattly and weird. And I did get a little pang when I saw the blond child, about MG's age, in the public library on the way home from work; suddenly I missed her desperately and wished I could see her right away.

But really, I need a hit of this every once in a while. It's my old home, my home alone in my own head. And while I wouldn't want to live here full-time any more, it's a nice place to visit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, I so relate to this. I particularly used to feel this way when Sara was a tiny baby, late at night, and Tim was away. Then suddenly I would be in the house by myself, everything quiet, and I suddenly felt like me again.

It *is* a nice place to visit.

love, e wein

5:51 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

I think it is so healing to be alone that way, if you are a person configured to solitude as a recharger. I'm like that too. It's hard to find a balance between the people you love and like a lot, and the time you need to be meditatively in your own head. I'm happy you get some time! How luxurious!

8:44 AM  
Blogger GuusjeM said...

I love my alone time. Our girls are in college (here's to going to college in another city) and my wife takes occasional 3 day golf and motorcycle trips. School Librarians can't take Fridays off at whim so I stay home. I eat popcorn for dinner and watch non stop BBC videos . It's heaven. And of course I am always happy to see her when she comes home.

1:52 PM  
Blogger heather said...

i relate to this so much. i'm still kind of a loner for the most part, even though i'm very married and happy to be so. sometimes maybe i tend towards that safe space instead of being alone.. but it's definitely good and healing to have alone time. drown out the noise of the rest of your life and get back to who you were before all that. if nothing else, gives you perspective and helps you remember why the life you have now is so much better. as long as it IS better, of course. ;-)

10:55 AM  

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