I like people, and I love a good conversation every now and then, whether in person or online. I’m a humanitarian, and devoting a healthy proportion of my waking hours toward improving life for other humans is important to me. My friends are awesome people and I love them. I converse regularly in several places on the interwebs, and I’m always finding new ones. But at heart, I’m a loner.
I like living alone, and vacationing alone. Someday I’ll die alone. During the Puppy controversy there were some insults hurled at writer Alexandra Erin about dying alone, which is supposed to be a horrible thing compared to the ginormous familes advocated by conservatives. At first I was completely baffled by this weird mainland idiom – after all, we all die alone in that nobody shares our experience of losing consciousness for the last time. I understand religious people believe all kinds of other things happen afterwards, but I’m not going to speculate as to which of them are incorrect. Yet another good thing about being a loner: you don’t have to deal with people trying to pester you into accepting their ideology.
I was married for a while, and I’ve lived in big group houses full of broke people, and I’ve cohabited with various roommates and traveling companions and lovers. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but in the process I discovered that I can be asshole-blind at times, failing to notice someone is an asshole until they’ve gotten too close. Possibly this means I’m an asshole myself, in which case refusing to inflict my assholish nature on others is probably a good thing.
For me it’s always been more about introversion. Solitude recharges me, and socializing drains me. Words like “party” and “family” and “crowded” evoke stressful thoughts rather than comforting ones. Now cats are another matter. Cats evolved specifically to hang out with us, out of their own masochism and laziness and greed, and loving fluffiness too. They provide company in small, fluffy, inoffensive servings. They’re not constantly in need of various things, like dogs. Humans, however, can be difficult and time-consuming and dramatic. Most of the greatest miseries I’ve experienced had to do with interpersonal interaction.
I went through a phase during which I tried to be extroverted, because acting contrary to your inner nature and terming it evolution was popular back then. Most of the time I ended up hiding behind a drink or a guitar or a set of RPG books or something, as a shield. I tried to date mainly extroverts so I could stand back and let them blabber, and then I'd be exhausted from socializing with all their pals.
I like extroverts, and I hope they can handle me writing about them as part of my embracing neurodiversity. I like groups too, and I spent a couple of years obsessively watching random groups of gamers come together to succeed or fail, just to see if I could spot any patterns – I can’t even fake being extroverted without having a secret introverted motive.
I spent many years doing collective art, like playing in bands, and writing for publications, and running sound boards, and being part of creative communities. Then the economy turned wacky, and the artists became a little more stressed, and I came to a realization that I was far happier if I pulled myself all the way into my loner shell and locked the door behind me. And became a novelist. And a loner.
So my idea of a kickass weekend involves not vocalizing for 72 hours. A few hours writing, a few minutes playing this game, a few minutes talking on forums, let’s chill with the cat, let’s write some random bloggage, time for a nap, time to cook some food – time knits together in one smooth wave of happy productivity-sociableness-intellectual-entertainment collage. My heart becomes peaceful and joyous. When I get to my zone it’s like that perfect patch of beach on Molokai that took four hours to reach, except it’s internal. I get my best writing done there.