Memo from the island

It's as if I’m on a very small island in a very, very large sea. There's no dock where passing dinghies can tie up, because I don't want a dock. There's no rowboat, because where would I row? ‘Civilization’? What’s that, but a bunch of people I don’t want to be around?

For many years I thought people were disappointing, but maybe ‘disappointing’ isn’t the right word. People disappoint me so reliably that It’s always a surprise when someone doesn’t disappoint me.

Most people like people, I think, and that’s what sets me apart from most people. I like being apart from most people. I wish you well, hope you’re happy, healthy, and getting laid, and that's from the heart. All I ask is, leave me alone, please.

"Hello," I'll say to a stranger if we pass on the sidewalk, but it's only to reduce the chance that he’ll slash me with a blade. It’s not an invitation to a conversation, or a prelude to a cup of coffee. I like my coffee with cream, and with no-one else around.

“Pleased to meet you” is the cliché, and people seem to mean it when they say it. They’re hoping to become friends. What suckers, shaking hands, flashing smiles, swapping a few shallow pleasantries. 

I might say “Pleased to meet you,” if we’re shaking hands, but trust me, it’s a lie. I’m in a hurry to let go of your hand, and retreat. Nothing personal, but that's my preference — nothing personal.

Meeting people is so shallow, and fake. Everyone holds back everything; nobody says anything important or particularly revealing. They say their name, which I’ll instantly forget, and maybe they say where they work, which tells me next-to-nothing about a person. Want to shake my hand? I’ll shake, and say,

“Hi, I’m Doug, I work a shitty job that doesn’t matter, I haven’t seen whatever TV show you think is marvelous, I’m not interested in your God or whatever drugs you take to dull the pain, I hate Republicans and Democrats, hate shaking hands with strangers, and I wish I was home alone instead of wherever we're shaking hands.”

Alone makes no unreasonable demands. Alone never says anything that pisses me off, never makes noise when I'm trying to think, never complains that I'm not giving Alone enough attention. Alone is awesome.

Nobody calls — if they do, tough luck, because my phone is unplugged. Nobody knocks — if they do, I’ll ignore it unless I’m expecting a package. Several people send emails, and it’s appreciated. Glad to have that contact, with a few people whose opinions and existence I value. I’ll answer your email if it’s interesting, and if you promise to never invite me for coffee.



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  1. No man is an island, and nobody lives on an island except rich assholes.

    Yes I'm still here/.

  2. All of us feel alone, some of us almost all the times. Smiles on the outside. miserable inside, and some people live there whole lives like that. I wear a fake smile for every handshake but at least I know its fake. If you don't fool yourself and don't belive it you'll be okay.

    1. I declare you a kindred spirit and a smart fellow. Let's not shake on it.

  3. Yes, I despise handshakes. I'm trying to get people to go back to the early pandemic days when we got away with knocking elbows or whatever doesn't spread germs. As soon as I shake a person's hand, I'm thinking "I gotta wash this slime off." Not because I'm a germaphobe (though, maybe a little, I mean, who wants to get sick from such a useless, hollow gesture) but because everyone's hands feel like they've been fondling their private parts, eating fried chicken and spitting on them all day long. it's just disgusting and does nothing for me in terms of solidarity or friendliness or whatever it's supposed to convey. Saying "Hey" is well enough.

    I used to be a somewhat social person when I was younger. I still keep a small number of friends who don't bug me too much, but most of the time I prefer to sit here on my laptop and read shit. I love my gf to the bottom of my soul but there are times when she's insisting I met someone several years ago where I thinking, 'Can I please get back to reading this article and the music I'm playing to accompany it?' When she goes away for a day or two, I miss her, but I'm also grateful for the two days of no words exchanged. It's relaxing to not have to think about anything but what I want to think about. No need to hear about what the neighbors did today or what the mailman said when handing over a package. Nothing. Just nothing. People with kids would say my house is too quiet and devoid of life. And that's how I like it.

    1. That's heaven on earth you're describing.

      Wife and I had regular "peace & quiet" nights. We were both working, and sharing a small apartment, so we never had much absolute alone time, when either of us was there without the other. So she proposed peace & quiet nights, which we soon called PQ.

      Once a week, one of us would ride the bus, or go to the library, or go to a movie, and the other would stay at home alone. We both got the PQ we needed, kept our mental health, and enjoyed being with each other even more the next evening.

      As for handshakes with icky hands because people have been "fondling their private parts, eating fried chicken and spitting on them all day long." That's me every day, except sometimes if's a veggie burger instead of fried chicken.


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