Saturday, December 8, 2012

What We do to Feel Less Alone

  For the record I'm not using the royal "we" here to count myself as multiple people. Rather I mean to include everyone, which isn't really possible at all, but I'll do my best. This is a list of distractions, a list of art, of solitude, of whimsy, and anything there between.

  - We surf the internet endlessly. We are humble explorers, excited for the advent of a new discovery. We are pioneers in space shuttles, our phasers are mouse-clicks, our exploratory vessels are blog-posts jettisoned into the ether.

 - We brew tea and coffee and espresso, each with its own unique ceremony. Tea has flavorful herbs and leaves that need to be steeped and there's water that needs to be boiled until the pot whistles impatiently. Coffee has rich hearty beans and a slow drip of the coffee machine like an IV with a slow morphine drip. And then there's espresso with its miniature cups, ultra ground beans and industrially steamed caffeine goodness.

 - We watch movies. Sometimes the same films over and over, either when we're paying attention or when we just need some background noise. We watch those same movies until we know every single word of dialogue, creak of a door frame or surprise gunshot that we still jump at.  Or we watch a new and different one every night, trying to catalog them all in the library of our minds.

 - We dance around like absolute fools to music blasting way too loud. When they say, "Dance like no one's watching" this is what they're referring to. There's no one to judge, you can bob your head or head-bang, do the worm, do the twist, or flail as if your body were possessed and if its the ghost of Fred Astaire who's doing the possessing, don't be afraid to tap dance on the ceiling.

 - We bake and cook fantastic dishes. Simple ones or seven course meals depending on our moods. As we cook we pretend to have our own cooking show with our own catchphrases like, "That'll give it a snap!". Every course is beautifully arranged, baked, broiled and seared to perfection. We take a bow and eat after saying "Bon apetit!"

 - We take midnight walks under the stars and kid ourselves that we're real tough, that we'd never be afraid of a fight. Perhaps we don't wear a jacket even though its a bit chilly, because when you're truly tough you don't bother with things as trivial as a bit of cold. And really that's just a bit of false bravery to take your mind off the fact you're alone in the dark of the night.

 - We read books because books can take us to far away lands or two towns over. They give a taste of adventure or the mundane, or both molded together. More than anything books give us a chance to live a thousand times, to experience everything outside ourselves.

 - We build fortresses out of pillows and blankets and chairs and couch cushions. We drag any and all amenities and pets into the safety of the fortified walls of comfort. What's that you say? Building forts is only for children? Tell that to our fore-fathers who settled into wild lands with the safety of a fort. There is nothing more manly and courageous than the construction of a fort.

 - We play video games. We play online with friends unseen but caring. We play solo in lands populated with NPCs. In video games the player is important, the player is the hero endlessly saving the princess/prince from evil. IN a video game we are never truly alone, even if our only company is made of bits and bytes.

 - We work out doing push-ups and sit-ups and squats and thrusts. We sprint and jog and sweat. Sometimes we peddle bikes, sometimes those bikes are stationary. We tone muscles and hone our bodies into machines.

 - We write love letters with abandon. Which are then torn up and discarded into the trash. Then we write more letters and the cycle repeats.

 - We organize vinyl records. First by genre, second alphabetically, third chronologically, fourth by preference, and fifth by a system that would make no sense to anyone save ourselves.

 - We build model train sets. The landscapes are groomed obsessively. Each car is hand-painted. Some cars are named, some are not. Conductor's caps are worn proudly and whistles are blown as each train crosses the station and chugs mightily along.

 - We teach ourselves foreign languages. Romance languages like French, Spanish, or maybe Italian. Languages from far, far away like Japanese or Mandarin or the native language of the Maori. We whisper simple, yet exotic words to see how they feel on our tongues. Using each syllable to plan out future trips across oceans.

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