bunt sign

Friday, August 25, 2000

Isolation. It's what I'm looking forward to the most at the new place. Not only will I no longer have to deal with noises coming through a common wall, but I won't even have sight lines that connect me with any other inhabited structure. In order to see me, people will have to come down a long driveway, or find a way over the fence.

After I move, I'll have more of my own life in my hands than I've ever had before. I've always lived in resonant response to the people around me. When the neighbors are having a conversation out back on their patio, I'll head for the front of the house and do some work on the computer.

There have been afternoons when I've felt like reading, but I haven't been able to concentrate because of the noise and have been forced to do something else. As a result, I listen closely to see when there's no one home next door, and that's when I'll pull out my book and start to read, even if I'd been planning to do something else at the time.

When things grow suddenly quiet next door, I immediately reach for the remote and turn the stereo down or the TV off. I've sat watching a movie and turned the volume up and down as the neighbors did the same. Since I've been here at Green Acres, I've been either avoiding watching anything late at night, or watching only with headphones on and the speakers turned off.

No longer, though. The move will give me the ability to control my own life. I know I've always had it, as a concept, but I'm not the kind of person to impose myself on others. If I can avoid a conflict by keeping a low profile, that's exactly what I'll do.

At last, and I think for the first time in my life, I won't have to do that. I've lived in dorms, apartments and duplexes. I even moved back with my parents twice, once after college and for a few months after I lost the shoe store gig. I've had different degrees of privacy at all of these places, but never have I been as isolated as I will be after I move next week.

Now, I know this will change my life in small ways. I'll be able to sing out loud, for example, without worrying that I'm so badly off key it curdles the milk. I'll probably even get back to pounding on my keyboard (the musical one), trying to get back to where I was in high school, when I could play the Golden Beatles songbook from cover to cover. (No Clementi sonatinas, though, because the span is only five octaves.)

Being able to set my own agenda will be a benefit of living in the Fortress of Solitude. I can do whatever I want, whenever I feel like it. I won't have anyone else's toes to worry about stepping on. And no one will be around to step on mine.

It makes me feel liberated to have all this in front of me. But it also makes me feel a bit selfish, self-indulgent even, to want this much privacy. After all, most people have to live either with others or near others, or both. On the other hand, I'm giving up something that people with family responsibilities have: closeness.

In my case, I've been living in a limbo of sorts most of my adult life. I'm not close enough to anyone to have a mutually satisfying relationship, but I'm so close to people I don't really care about that their actions have an inordinate effect on my life.

Whatever it might seem, I'm not antisocial or misanthropic. I'm shy, I'll admit that much. I get uncomfortable around people I don't know well. I don't make friends easily, but I know how to be a good friend. It's hard to be my friend, but it's worth it.

But since I don't have anyone that I want to live with, I'd prefer to be away from people, where no one intrudes on my space.

If you're ever in the neighborhood, though, please drop in. I even have a spare bedroom. With plenty of privacy.

previousbunt signemailnext

Latest recommendations:

Have I mentioned how much I admire the writing of Liz in her journal, Flightless? Her current entry is her first since leaving for college, and it's typical of her lyrical, highly observant style.

Please forgive me if I don't answer your email as quickly as usual. It's not you. It's not even me. It's my ISP.
However, the part where I keep falling behind on reading my favorite journals is me. I will catch up, though, after the you-know-what.

Other recent recommendations can be found on the links page.
Subscribe to the list to be notified of updates.