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Plans for the weekend

"So what do you have planned for the weekend?" That's Louie, my almost-friend at work, making polite conversation late in the afternoon.

I told him I have no plans at all.

Then Louie listed his upcoming events for the weekend —
    • Errands and shopping tonight;
    • A family barbecue on Saturday, where his aunt will be drunk because, he said, she's always drunk, and he'll have to avoid his anti-gay uncle, and he won't be able to eat most of the food because he's vegetarian;
    • Some friends of his boyfriend are coming over on Saturday night;
    • Lunch on Sunday with his boyfriend's family, which, he says, usually means spending the whole afternoon there.

"Sounds like a busy weekend," I said. Unsaid: Sounds like a hellish weekend.

"Yeah, and I'm looking forward to Sunday night. After we get back, those last few hours with [boyfriend's name, forgotten] will be the weekend. And then it's back to work on Monday."

Jeez. Louie's weekend is over before it's begun. Lacking anything interesting to say, I told him my big plans after all. "I'm not doing anything this weekend, and I'm going to have a damned good time doing it."

"I wish I was doing that," he said. "I get roped into all these social commitments."

"I don't get many invitations," I said. Unsaid: Avoiding invitations was one of the reasons I moved here, to a city where I know nobody. "And if there is an invitation, I always say no, unless it's something I really want to do, with someone I really want to be with." Unsaid: And there's nobody I really want to be with.

Usually I don't describe my hermit ways so bluntly to a 'normal', and Louie looked surprised. "I can't do that," he said. "Whenever I spend a day by myself, I go nuts. I can't stand the solitude."

I nodded and the conversation wandered on, but Louie's words rang in my head for the rest of the day.

He can't stand the solitude? For me it's exactly the opposite. I love the solitude. I like me lots, find myself witty and debonair and simply delightful to be with. Certainly, I'd rather spend a day with myself than with people I'm avoiding, at a barbecue where I can't even eat the meat.

I've never understood that outlook, which almost everyone in the world seems to share — that's it's better to be with others than to be alone, no matter who the 'others' are.

Some people try to strike up conversations with strangers, which always freaks me out — I'm a stranger, and I don't talk to strangers.

Some people go to bars so they won't be alone, though it's a scientific fact that anyone you meet in a bar is a loser.

Some people go to parties, and yeah, I've been to a few, but never not regretted it.

Where I work they have an Employees' Association, a big club that's just for employees and their families. The E.A. sets up event days — a trip to Great America, group tickets to Giants games or Phantom of the Opera, or just a big picnic with all the other employees and their families. The E.A.'s existence gives me cold sweats, and I roll my eyes and shake my head when I see their announcements on the bulletin board.

Question: What could be a worse day off than spending it with people from work? Answer: Have people from work bring their families.

There's nothing wrong with being alone, especially if it's the right kind of alone. And don't get me wrong — I'd rather be surrounded by friends than be alone, but there aren't enough friends to surround me, and I'd much, much rather be alone than surrounded by jerks, dummies, extroverts, and people whose goal is to be ordinary.

I'm not 100% anti-social. Maybe … 95%. I'm picky, that's all. It's delightful to spend time with people I'm truly fond of, but there are only four.

From Pathetic Life #2
Friday, July 15, 1994  

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

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