My life isn’t awash with an endless torrent of people, there’s no day-to-day blur of professional acquaintances, family or social circle.  I have only a small handful of friends and we come together increasingly rarely: once or twice a year at best.  I work alone and live alone from a fairly pleasant inner London suburb.  Occasionally there might be a run of days where I’m relatively active, but it’s more often the case that I’m not.

Whackloads of largely business emails, Skypes, Messenger sessions, Tweets and teleconference calls, but it’s not uncommon for a whole week to pass without an in-person, two-way conversation with another human.

I struggle with this – have done so for over a year and will likely continue to, for how long I’m not sure.

To fend off boredom, insanity or depression, I do things alone, seeking difference and experience outside my four walls, and feeling like I’m an oddity for it.

Sitting squarely in your own head for so long, you end up grossly over analysing.  People probably don’t give as much of a shit as you think they do.  A passing glance, a second then gone.

It’s not uncommon for me to move: walk, run, cycle drive – without having a specific target.  Or to begin doing something with a half baked idea, not fully committed, although I do often see it through.  A gig listing that looked interesting, a football match with affordable tickets not too far away.

Any movement is better than sitting on a sofa in the lounge of a poky flat, at a desk, or pacing ditheringly, anxious about work.

On Wednesday this week I was bored out of my skull and went to a gig in North London for the difference of experience which cannot be gained by sitting alone in a building all day.  Walking along the street or sitting on a tube crammed with other life forms can give that difference.  Plopped back into the ocean.

Today, Friday, despite not being unbusy with work, the first glorious summer weather was irresistible.  The coast promised less clawing of pollen at the back of my throat.  I had a vehicle (whose worrying rattles and shakes I try to ignore) , so why not?

Flicking through a road atlas it’s easy to find places easily reachable from London where I’ve never visited.  A ropey B&B somewhere, £30 at best, maybe £40-45 if you’re unlucky.  Still doable.  Right there you have a reasonable break from your four walls.  Even if it’s only for 24 or 36 hours.

That’s what I’ve done.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, nobody need ever know I’m not at my “office.”.  A mobile phone, a laptop and a mobile dongle: I can respond to emails and fulfill promises of documents to be delivered.

A car has served perfectly adequately as an office for one afternoon; nobody knows or cares.

Company would be preferable and I’m never entirely without self consciousness, because it’s not in any conceivable way ‘cool’ to be like this.  You’ll go a long way to find somebody who claims to LOVE having few mates and doing things on their own all the time.  But you learn to deal with it, attracting suspicious glances and beating them away, trying not to care.

I try not to care.  I still do these things, which could suggest that I succeed in not caring.

Experience is better shared: a basic, often unspoken human maxim.  YES, I would have ticked when presented with the mythical form: I WILL have a magnificently solid network of amazingly loyal friends and a gorgeous partner who I unequivocally adore.  Tick box, job done.  Sadly there is no such form, or I wasn’t offered one.

So I sit here in on this saggy bed in this distinctly dodgy B&B room in a small and very English south coast town: many George crosses out readied for the World Cup, a wealth of tattoos, zillions of small dogs, kiss-me-quick hats, children’s amusement parks, boarded up sea front stores and tweens on BMXs.

Paper peels from the bedroom walls and ceilings, the bed linen has holes, lumps of plaster has been knocked out of the walls and Leopardskin used as a trimming throughout; the hallway paper is headspinning.  The bass of a karaoke Dancing Queen thuds beneath me and a drunk drones.  I won’t be complaining about any of this because I paid thirty pounds and don’t care that much.

This is difference, it’s an experience, it’s discovery of a new place I’ve never been to before and will never visit again.  I’ll see a couple more of those tomorrow then return to London.  Maybe I’ll get up in time to see a beautiful dawn stretch across the English channel, maybe I won’t.  It’s not being in the flat.

There are other things I could do too – rather than this self congratulatory solo foraging for difference; social groups I could join.  They are out there and I have looked momentarily before clicking away.  But they’d be populated by fucking weirdo loner freaks, wouldn’t they?  And who wants to mix with them?


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