Originally written January 4, 2004 @ 8:30 p.m.
The other night I was standing in my living room eating Swedish fish and pondering life in a post-Buffy universe when it struck me that I am, for once in my life, very alone in the world.
Being alone doesnâ€™t bother me as much as it might bother some people: I am an introvert. I often thrive on being alone. I donâ€™t mind spending long stretches just reading a book or noodling around on some project around the house. Thatâ€™s not to say Iâ€™m antisocial. I like to talk to people and hear about their lives, to go out and participate in the clockwork business of the world, and so on. But I donâ€™t crave constant sociality like some people; I need extended time away in the private, quiet sphere to process and recuperate. I would last longer than most on a desert isle.
Nevertheless, I felt a certain despair at my realization of loneliness. Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t have friends, and itâ€™s not that there arenâ€™t people looking out for me. I actually have a great relationship with my parents, for example, something of an anomaly among people my age. But they and my closest friends are all at distances measured by states, not towns. Itâ€™s different, too, from when I lived in Europe, because even though the distances then were continents, I knew it was temporary. Now Iâ€™m moving on with the living of life — and so is everyone else — and thereâ€™s really no telling when Iâ€™ll be close to the people who really matter most, except at the kinds of holidays when one eats turkey. Of course we keep in touch; itâ€™s so effortless in a modern world of cell phones and email.
Itâ€™s not loneliness, precisely. Itâ€™s being alone in a sort of grand, macroscopic sense. What I really am lacking is the kind of relationship where Iâ€™m attached at the hip with another person. I have no best friend. Or rather, I have a best friend (or two or three), but not one who is here, to whom I can turn at the end of every day for comfortable conversation, with whom I can spend the banal moments of life. Thereâ€™s no one I automatically expect to hang out with when Friday night rolls around.
Maybe Iâ€™ve been spoiled. Maybe not very many people are so lucky as to have such a person, such a relationship, whereas I have had several, and am only now sent forth into this desert world where the shifting sands leave nothing certain, not even Friday night plans.
It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since I moved to Pittsburgh. I am grateful and humbled to have found some life friends here, and a city I love.