The narrator at the beginning of last week's Desperate Housewives episode (Season 3, Liasons) spoke on about how it's so easy to spot the lonely ones. "They're the people who tell stories to their plants, and whisper secrets to their pets, and have arguments with their TV. And the loneliest of all are the ones who talk to people. People who are no longer there."
Ordinary, everyday lives can't be that sinister (the camera pans to a frozen corpse on the "people who are no longer there" cue), but narrator woman is probably bang-on when she says talking to oneself is just a leeetle cuckoo.
Except, what of liking being alone, convinced that one isn't in denial? There's a difference? There must be. For instance, other than stupid traffic jams, I find I don't actually mind my commute to and back from work. Takes up almost three hours of my day, but it hasn't been too bad. And I'd much rather do it alone, not paying heed to anyone else's music tastes, not having to apologise every time I break suddenly, swerve all maniacal, and be, ha-ha, triumphant, that I still missed the truck. No, thats my joy. Driving alone. Screw economy, ecology. No carpool, discounting the odd interesting companion.
And a lot of my friends, I find, don't mind being alone. Maybe we're just a sound bunch. But I did try to think of times I might've been lonely. Except, in my head, those were just times I was bored. I didn't like it when my brother went off to boarding school. Not even when I knew I was going to have that nice big wooden-floored room all to myself. I missed him dearly. But that's not lonely, that's missing, right? That day maybe it was both. But missing = lonely? No, then why the 2 different words.
Sadness = lonely? No, sadness, in my head, should have reason behind it. Otherwise you're just plain simple depressed, and you need to buy new clothes/ get a nice new exotic hand cream (it's ho-ho-ba not JO-JO-ba!) or force someone into paying you a believable compliment. Angling for a new "love interest" is another way to go. Or just play with dogs, and save money on mushy text messages.
Sometime last week, while petting a friend's awfully smelly rotweiler, I remember thinking (if not vaguely missing) our gorgeous german shepherds that've been dead and gone for a while. They have skin problems, stink when they grow old, and are invariably struck by some crazy tic that latches on to their flesh, and somehow makes their ears acquire a permanently foolish slant. But in this same old age of theirs, grabbing them by their furry chin-skin, all grey and malleable, and emitting primitive "ooosshie woooshie" sounds quite takes care of loneliness, even if for just a bit, and even if you need strong hand sanitisers thereafter.
Talking to plants, I don't know -- "African violet, wassup" doesn't cut it. But if, by default, they happen to overhear (and, who knows, benefit?) from what's blaring on world space, *dumbfounded thumbs-up y'all!*
Vodka in coffee mugs -- symptomatic of lonely? Afternoon swigs, three ice cubes, chillies, green, sliced, and diagonal. 'Course not, that's just cool and alcoholic-y! woohoo!
What of yanking out keys off a keyboard, using nail file as lever, then dunking said keys in a mug of surfy water, gently tooth brushing each cube while wafting through detergent bubbles? Is that lonely, or just too much time being innovatively spent?
These are things I've done when alone. Preoccupied, peaceful -- look top right of blog -- and distracted only by phone calls that have callers asking "what you doing", only for you to reply "nothing much". And that, not because you can't describe what you are really doing -- no verbal handicap there -- but because on an average, who freakin' cares. There, that could feel lonely.
Sitting at work, suddenly overcome by an awful pun that just has to be shared, but favourite colleague isn't accessible anymore -- not online, not otherwise -- lonely. And when it comes to solo meals, alone could overlap with lonely. It's probably unwise to delve much further, I shall choose instead to be sadistically satisfied that the 'emotion' doesn't just visit a privileged few.