Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thoughts Of A Sometimes Loner

So, by now everybody knows I’m a bit of a loner. Not in the weird serial killer, sniper on the roof way, but in the I enjoy being by myself way. I’ve not always been this way. When I was a kid in New York, I had plenty of friends. Then I moved to Savannah, and became a loner. In college and the years subsequent, I had a huge circle of friends that I would go out with, invite to my crib, party and bs with every Wednesday-Saturday. Then I moved to Atlanta, and loner status returned. Then, a few years later, I was back to being the social butterfly, going for drinks every weekend with the co-workers. Invariably, loner status kept finding me. I know I have the skill to be outgoing and fun, but I just don’t have the will. This isn’t a post to analyze why that is, I already know the answer to that. I like myself more than I like other people. It really is that simple. I find it much easier to not put up with other people’s idiosyncrasies, because I like my own. The point of the post was to tell you guys a story. I guess I should get to it.

This story foreshadowed the loner status that pops up in my life. When I was 9 or 10 years old, my mom decided to send me to Boy Scout camp. I was a cub scout and I enjoyed all the things that little boys like. I took pride in my troop. I especially enjoyed those days when I could wear my blue and yellow uniform to school and show off my badges. I had lots of little friends and most of them were in cub scouts too. The only problem was they weren’t going to camp with me. It was me and about 500 strangers from the Rockland and Westchester county areas. No Timmy, No Steven, No Ira, No Gautum… none of my friends were going to Boy Scout camp. At first I felt proud that I was doing something that none of them were doing, but the reality hit me that first morning as I was catching the bus. I was alone with a bunch of strangers. And I didn’t like it.

The bus ride was torturous. I don’t remember how far the camp was from my apartment, but it seemed like hours. People were laughing about things that happened in school, or making fart jokes, and there I sat: a little kid that knew nobody, and didn’t have the nerve to get to know them. I sat in silence with the thought running through my head. “I wanna go home and watch Voltron.” When we got to the camp, things didn’t really get much better. Camp itself was awesome. They had trails to take mini hikes, archery, a big field to run around and get dirty on. It had everything an active boy like myself could want. Except, there were way too many strangers around. I hated that part. I didn’t like working in groups learning how to whittle. And I didn’t like the way people looked at me when I was trying to learn how to use the bow and arrow. Sure, they probably were just waiting for a turn, but it made me feel uncomfortable. I got hot with anxiety. A couple of times I felt like going to sit in the corner until the bus came to take us home. Okay, a couple of times I did just sit by myself looking sad until a camp counselor made me rejoin the revelry. When I got home that evening, I told my mom I wanted to quit Boy Scout camp. She made me go the next day, and it was just as bad. All the fun that was there to be had was ruined by the fact that I just couldn’t talk to strangers and make friends.

Moms finally let me quit after day 3. I just couldn’t take it. I wanted to be alone or in the absence of that, in my own comfort zone. I was comfortable with the friends I had from school and that lived in the neighborhood. I’m kind of the same way now. To people that I see every day, I’m outgoing, fun even. Sure, I don’t want to go out with my co workers, but I’ll talk to them. Around people I don’t know, I’m just kind of there. I don’t even want to talk to them, and wish they would stop talking to me. Wait...

This thought just hit me: Since I go back and forth between social and anti social, I wonder if this current withdrawal from society is another phase that I’ll break out of. I wonder if once I’m married with children if I’ll go back to being the guy that talks to everybody, or if I’ll be the weird parent that you only see standing in the back at school plays or honking the horn outside of my kids friends house because I don’t want to make small talk with the parents. Wow, this post went in a whole nother direction, didn’t it? Something to think about… which I’ll do one day when I’m avoiding people’s phone calls and staying home alone.


Jameil said...

i don't believe in quitting. my kids will be staying the whole time. life is uncomfortable, deal with it. except i'll say it in my sweet mom voice. lol. but then i always made friends easily. i also tried to include loners like you. so i guess that was preparation for dating that guy in the corner. Ira & Gautum? Wow... you really did live in NY.

Not So Anonymous said...

The only time I was ever a loner was when a gang of my cousins would come over to visit when I was younger. If we couldn't do everythign i wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it, then I didn't want any dealings with them. i would take my doll and head to the church steps acroos the street and be happy with myself.

That was the only time, though. I've always been pretty social. I enjoy my space and quiet time like most, but I need human interaction...maybe too much sometimes!

I'm sure your phase will stop once you're married with kids. I'm sure you don't want them to have these same issues, so you'll have to be an example for them.

Trish said...

I'm a lurker who decided to comment. I'm like this sometimes. I find that when I don't talk its usually because I'm not interested in the people or either the conversation they're having. If I'm in a pretty good mood sometimes I will start a conversation, it just depends on my mood sometimes.

However, if someone who is talking to me and I'm not interested, I let them know by my facial expression.

12kyle said...

I felt you on this post. I've been like this at times. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Sometimes I can be anti-social and I think it's normal

Pserendipty said...

When you have a child, you will be trying to have all the adult conversation that you can possibly muster before you have to go home and talk about anything and everything that your kid comes up with.

Ladynay said...

Just hook up with an always social wife so when the anti phase strikes momma can make the small talk with the other parents! LOL!

Rashan Jamal said...

@ jameil - i know you wouldn't let me quit. LOL @ including loners. you just didn't want them to Columbine you. Yep, a true NYer...

@ Not So Anonymous - You seem pretty social. Its funny b/c I always have social people around me, so they don't understand how I am the way I am. Yeah, gotta think of the kids.

@ Trish - hey there. thanks for commenting. I never start a conversation. I can hold one, but I wont be initiating it.

@ 12kyle - Thanks bruh.

@ Pserendipity - I guess so. Although I'll probably be 45 and still sitting at the kids table b/c its more fun. LOL

@ LadyNay - yep, that's how me and Jam are now.