Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Week Alone

 More or less for the past week, I have been on my own.

The Ravishing Mrs. TB, Nighean Bhean, and Nighean Dhonn are off adventuring (they offered for me to come too, but frankly at the cost of pet care, someone has to stay home unless it is an amazing vacation) and Nighean Gheal is finishing up here internship.  Thus it a rather mixed assembly of myself, Poppy The Brave, A, I-Bun and Joy the rabbits, and the fish.

I am not much of a goer in the best of times: on the whole I am not a fan of people or crowds and will tend to stay away from both.  My store visits are down to bare minimum because frankly, other than groceries and the occasional stop at the Used Book Store or the Big Box Home Store, there is little enough that I need (that could not otherwise be procured online).  But being home this week has made me realize how much the Post Plague World has changed my interactions with people.

In the last twelve months, I have been in to the office precisely twice - where before I would have been every day.  Our church reopened a month or two ago; for various reasons I have not been back.  I visit the gym at least three to five times a week, train in Iai another three times a week, and volunteer at the rabbit shelter once a week.  But if none of those things happen, I am simply at home.

With no-one here, it amazing how isolated it seems.  In the middle of a suburban area, no less.

I see people walking by with their dogs or with others.  I wave to Neighbor S across the street.  I walk Poppy the Brave and we occasionally get close to others, but always veer to the other side of the street (or they do.  Poppy can be a bit "enthusiastic").   But their voices are muted or not spoken at all and the times we walk - early morning or later in the evening - shade faces and reactions.

I do not note this as a particularly good or bad thing; it is just a thing.  The stress from not having to deal with people is largely removed, for which I am grateful; by and large the people I see and associate with are the people I want to do so with (the gym being the exception of course, where most exist in a bubble that acknowledges the other in a general sense).  And in a lot of ways I am a home body:  I would generally rather be home than out.  

To be fair, I continue to have a fair amount of interactions - all electronic of course.  I have to call/e-mail/chat for work, and I have Uisdean Ruadh that I call, and the one or two friends I chat with online - and all of you, of course.  But face to face time has become an extremely rare occurrence.

The one interesting thing to me about this is that you had said to me in July 2019 that this would be the nature of my life, I would have heartily laughed at you.  No way, I would have said, that I would do my job and run my life almost never going out of my home.

Funny how quickly things can change.


  1. We are brothers in that, TB. If I have no reason to be out, I'm not. I was always home after work. And I haven't found the right church family, and have really retreated on trying. I think it is time, though to start up the search again.

    My job has not been at home, my hands and head have to be where the problem is. I've maintained a few of my relationships with those that could stay home. I hope for their sake that they can remain remote. For most, the expenses have decreased, such that they have had a measurable raise. I do miss their company when I would zoom in and out of the facility.

    It's not a bad way to live, so long as you retain the ability to speak clearly.

    1. STxAR - The church family issue is bothering me a little bit. I have the one we attended before The Plague, but the fit no longer seems correct.

      I have been fortunate in that I have been able to remain remote and from what I can see, am likely to remain remote into the foreseeable future. I am not in the position that I am saving exceptional amounts of money by not commuting (probably made up for by the increase in electric at home), but the overall change in stress has been pretty good.

    2. Commutes, clothing and food factor in. Some of my internal customers have an extra hour a day just in commute time. Not to mention the time saved by preparing to go to work. If they want to rollout 5 minutes before they start their dispatch work, they can. Bathe and eat at lunch and time left at days end for whatever. I can tell their stress levels have fallen greatly.

      The time spent alone is not wasted by a good man. Introspection, putting thoughts together cogently and time to slowly chew on the cud. For me personally, going through old memories and conversations and finally mating them up to come to a more accurate understanding of what was going on that last forty years, and how I always seemed to misread or misinterpret it. I've also had time to work through the pathological loneliness I used to fear experiencing. These last 16 months have been so profitable, that I have begun calling them the greatest gift the Giver ever gave me.

      It is never to late to be the man you were intended to be. That is a waypoint now. Coupled with Bernard Briscoe's most excellent tongue twister, I have a pole star and a waypoint. "It takes God in the man for man to man as God intended man to be." BB I heard those words about 39 years ago as a very young man, from himself. And I burned them into my memory because the truth in them was so profound. I never realized they would come back to encourage me so wonderfully.

    3. STxAR, at one point in my career I was getting up at 0345 to depart at 0430 to arrive at 0530 and work so I could leave at 1430 to arrive home by 1600. 120 mile round trip commute, easily 3 hours a day spent in the car. At best it made for an 11 hour day, sometimes longer. Add in 6-7 hours of sleep and it made for a pretty lousy existence.

      Mind you, I used the time. I have become, since then, quite comfortable driving in silence for long periods of time. As you indicate, it is good thinking time. It drive everyone else crazy that I drive in silence that long.

      That is a wonderful quote. Sometimes the reason they stay in our mind is for the time to help us mature to appreciate and use them.

    4. Anonymous2:56 AM

      STxAR, I've spent many years alone. So much so that the past year and a half had no effect on my daily life, other than my sadness at seeing the fear reflected in other people's eyes when I went out for my daily walk.

      And I can tell you from experience that as much as the first couple of years are liberating and profitable, the situation is inherently fragile and not sustainable. Over time, the situation slowly begins to wear on you.

      The Bible teaches us this right up front, Adam was alone and then the Lord made Eve not merely to nag him, but because "it is not good for man to be alone". This idea also applies to society as a whole. So enjoy the extra time for now but know that this can't last.

      I don't know what will come next, I only know that the current reality is such an inherently unstable configuration that it HAS to change, as inevitable as precipitate falling out of a supersaturated solution.

      Change involves risk. Pray for peace.

    5. Anonymous - The point about fear in the eyes of people is indeed a profound one and one I can relate to. Even on the walks around our suburban neighborhood it was noticeable (it has gotten better now).

      I wonder - and this is only a thought - if God by stating it what not good for man to be alone, was stating it on the personal level, not necessarily the societal level. We are, all of us, meant to have some level of companionship. At the same time, companionship may be different than the sort of societal overload we have now.

      You are indeed correct that something has to change - the "on again-off again" of how people are to live creates so much inherent instability that it is fracturing whatever remaining structures we clung to.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I enjoyed traveling in my younger days, but don't do much beyond day trips now. Animals really do tie us down. Between cows, goats, donkeys, tropical fish, and numerous dogs over the years, there have rarely been times that my husband and I both were gone from home at the same time for any length of time. (we only have cows and dogs now)

    Our church did not meet inside for a full year, but fortunately there were periods when we could gather on the parking lot (masked and seated apart) and still be together. We even had some creative (and safe) ways to celebrate the Eucharist. We're back inside now, but also back to sitting apart and wearing masks (and keeping all the doors open).

    1. Kelly, other than my now regular monthly trips to Old Home, I am not much of a traveler either. I will go to Japan to train - hopefully next year! - and there is at least one trip a year where I will travel with The Ravishing Mrs. TB and Na Clann. But generally that tends to be it. I do not mind the going to much, but I definitely find it a little less rewarding and more expensive than it used to be.

      Our church also did not meet for a year - no parking lot, no mask, and after that a period of limited attendance with masking. They are back open now with no masks, but I have just not had the burning experience to go (I think this is all an upcoming blog post). That is not the only reason (some theological issues have developed over time), but I am really struggling through the admonition that the Church is not to depart from gathering together, which they effectively immediately stopped and delayed longer than many other churches in coming back.

  3. I was thinking earlier today about "normal" and "new normal." I don't hear those terms used much any more, although maybe I'm not paying attention. It seems to me that normal is just whatever a person is used to. It changes all the time, although usually so gradually or by necessity that we don't really think about it. We just carry on.

    1. Leigh, it is funny you mention that. I had to go back to the office last week - first time in 9 months. In speaking with a colleague I had not seen in perhaps a year, she made a comment about the "New Normal". That was the first time I had heard the phrase in a long time.

      I do think that it has become a lot less used, partially because normality normalized (I think that is what you are saying), but also because the "New Normal" had a lot of bad outcomes for people. No-one really wants to take responsibility for that.

  4. I am like you and STxAR. I don't like to be among others; but I've had to do it a lot this last year. Thankful to God that more often than not they were all pleasant and blessed.
    All this vaccine stuff is frustrating beyond belief.
    Praise God that He is in control.

    You all be safe and God bless.

    1. Linda, thankfully most of the people I were around were pretty pleasant as well. To be fair, I try to limit who I was around in small groups - to be completely honest, my tolerance for large groups of people continues to diminish every year. I can take them in small doses - like, for example, when I have gone to Japan to train (no option to avoid that, of course) but not as a regular function.

      Have a lovely Sunday!

  5. When you are really serious about staying away from people....
    83 yr old Sven Yrvind and his 13 foot sailboat.

    1. Mike, thank you very much. I may have a new role model.

    2. If you haven't yet, paw though Sven's blog a bit. He's an interesting cat for sure. I've been reading about his exploits since I was ten years old in the early 70s. Don't think I have what it takes to pull off what he's doing, but I sure understand the motivation.
      There is also another french nutter by the name of Yann Quenet.
      He's making his way around the world in a 13 foot self built boat of his own design. He just arrived at Reunion Island after a solo non-stop crossing of 77 days from New Caledonia.

    3. I only got to page 2. He certainly seems like an interesting and committed person. Would that I will that kind of spirit of adventure and focus at 83.

      Thanks for the second link as well. Wow. Around the world in a boat of your own design. In both of their cases, you would have to have a lot of confidence in your design.

      I do like the flag on Yann's boat.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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