Sunday, May 3, 2009

In defense of solitude

I went for a run last night, and when I got home around 9 p.m., Al called me because he needed to borrow some money. He came over, got the money, we chatted a bit, then he left, I took a shower, and when I got out of there he called me again and said: "Listen, do you want some cheese?"

"Thank you", I said after considering his offer for a second or two. "But you know, my fridge is really stocked, so I think I'll be fine".

"Oh", he said. "It's just...after we spoke, I felt so sad for you. You're home alone on a Saturday night...and yeah, a girl like you should be out doing things."


Seeing this came from a man in his late 50s who has been severely down and out for the past week because of things I don't even want to get into, I actually really began to feel sorry for myself. It takes one to know one, as the saying goes.

"But I just went for a run", I said, trying to defend myself. "Now I just showered, and I will be going over to Marie in a minute. I'm not sad, I'm fine. Really!".

"Oh ok", he said, and then we hung up.

As I walked over to Marie, observing the East Village nightlife along the way, it really dawned on me that Al and I are out of sync. "Generationally" so.

Just like Al, I seem to remember my mother calling me up on a Saturday night and feeling sorry for me for being alone on this very evening of the week.

And it's really a generation thing, I realize, because to my parents' generation, Saturday night is the night where you're supposed to do something out of the ordinary, whereas to my generation, or rather, to my NY crew who all live a life that's a bit off-schedule, Saturday night is the night where you stay inside, far removed from the stupid drunken people that take over our streets.

I threw it by Marie when I got to her place, who agreed that yes, to us, Saturday is Monday. You might have a nice dinner, watch a movie with friends, but going out? Na-ah. Well, unless something really spectacular is happening, of course.

'Cos that's our thing. We go out and party when most people can't because they have to get up to work the morning after. It's all about discrimination, segregation, and differentiation, and I'm the first to admit it. Tongue in cheek of course.

The practical side to all this is, I might add, is that come Sunday, Tuesday or whatever, and I don't feel like going out, I can always blame it on work. I'm a fair-weather member of the creative class, if you will, and I truly recommend becoming one. You can have a weekend mid week if you like, and another one with the rest of the labor force by the end of the week. What's not to like about that scenario?

All this, however, brought back memories of times when I've forced myself out to do things, not so much because I felt like going out, but more because I felt pathetic in the eyes of others for actually enjoying nothing but my own company for something like the fifth day in a row.

Solitude. So peculiar. I mean, in terms of what it is and when and who or what makes you feel alone.

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