November 5th, 2013
by Nic Olson
There is a crokinole board as a permanent fixture in front of a free hide-a-bed couch. Next to the couch is a stack of books from the library, easily ingested thanks to the lack of distractions of the internet or the television. Next to the stack of books is a bedroll laid on the hardwood with several blankets rumpled up on top. On the windowsill is a bottle of whiskey, two plants, a kerosene lamp, all gifts from friends and family. Next to the windowsill is a rickety card-table/desk with a few more books, a laptop computer. Opposite the desk next to the door is a bicycle which sits upside-down, dripping dirty melting snow and ice onto a tarp below.
This is my bachelor apartment. I have never been surrounded by such solitude and peace in my life. Nothing I despise exists inside this setting of personality. Only distractions that I wish to have, only smells I create myself, only one light on at a time. No human interference except for when I wish to have human interference. I have abandoned formal education, thus informal, personally motivated knowledge is all I have. If I’m not working, I’m wasting. Accepting the truths of others is irresponsible. Truths must be discovered individually. And truths can’t be discovered when you are living in someone else’s filth. Before this attempt at personal solitude I believed I would miss the unplanned visitors and roommate experiences of living in a home, but now I know that comfort in the presence of people and distraction in happenings kept me unable to progress. Albeit I have only lived here a week, and I will undoubtedly become wretchedly lonely when this couch eventually gives me bed sores.
Introversion doesn’t necessarily have to mean loneliness, or even solitude. But daily I find myself more inclined to stay home, to be quiet, to read. And while I crave human interaction, I only crave it to the point of surrounding myself with the people I like, and only for short amounts of time. This, also, is largely because the humans I wish to surround myself with have their own adult lives that don’t welcome a third-wheel for extended periods of time. But I do wish I’d have visitors every now and then. I do wish someone would ring my doorbell without telling me via text beforehand that they are going to do so. But my antiquated ways of communication likely won’t be shared anytime soon.
People often say they hate people, and people usually laugh. But real misanthropy is more than a frustration with the foibles of humankind. Where annoyance becomes misanthropy is the point where one finds himself talking to his plants and never leaving his couch. I can’t imagine a sociable misanthropist, though they may well exist. A person that requires the company of people to relieve their stress, all the while cursing every person for their inanities and selfishness. Either confused, or just diabolical.
I don’t hate people, but I do talk to my plants. And I do like my own company more than that of most others. The real love of a select few instead of the pretend love of a wide variety is how I survive. When drinking with a group of friends recently, one of the females convinced us to participate in the ‘what we are thankful for’ game while waiting for a cab. And although the cab interrupted my answer, I was thankful for a small group of friends and family that I know would look after me if life ever got too real. I can sit alone for hours comfortably knowing that fact.