The Quiet

November 12, 2008

I've been in a relationship for the last seven years of my life – throughout the entirety of my 20's actually.  I'm 27 now – and I've realized that I have no idea how to be alone, mainly because I've never been faced with the situation to be so.  This blog isn't about that, per se… I'm not going to whine like I have been in my last few posts – though it does bear mentioning that I'm still confused, still scared that I've wounded someone very dear to me… and still really sad that things have turned out the way they have.  But, like I said, this isn't a blog about that.  It's about the quiet.

I have this friend, Sean.  Sean lives with his girlfriend, Carly… and the two of them are musicians.  Real musicians, in that their entire apartment is made of wires, sound boards and various guitar accouterments.  They are the weaver birds of Guitar Center – forgive me for being lame and not knowing a less main-stream music store.  The two of them have jobs which require them to travel around a lot – Sean teaches music lessons all around North Jersey and New York City, and Carly does family portraits.  They play gigs on the weekends, and are somehow always "recording."

Me: Hey Sean, how was your week?
Sean: Oh great! We did some great recording.

I don't know how long it takes to record an album… but these two have been recording for a year.  Their CD will be opera-length at this rate.

Being fancypants musicians, and generally friendly and outgoing people (in their own introverted ways), the two of them have generated a huge swath of friends.  They know people.  They know people who know people.  They know a Zoroastrian guy, and a bunch of "good" skinheads, they know rudeboys, and straight-edges and punks and goths and a few assholes, a skinny Christian fellow who sings his own early still-black Michael Jackson-esque R&B songs, and this one guy, Joe, whom I've really grown to like – despite the fact that every song he hears is, "The finest example of 'X' sound recording I've ever heard.  You've got to listen to this… [beat]… isn't that incredible?  It's so sharp!"

I'd like to make fun of Joe for this… but I cant.  I do the same thing with books and movies.  Watching movies with me is an insanely trying experience, as I'm always insisting that the person beside me, "pay attention and watch this part, this is great, this is incredible, this will change your life."  The person beside me enjoys the part… but never enough to satisfy me… and so I usually follow that sentence with, "you don't know good movies… you don't know what the hell you're talking about… here, watch it again."

Honestly, how my girlfriends ever put up with me, I'll never know.

Anyway… Sean and Carly.  Between the two of them, their lives seem pretty loud.  Not a din.  Not cacophany.  Just loud.  Their lives are a symphony of phone calls, clattering flatware, conversations with odd acquaintences, charming arguments and bickering (they're like a pair of fat old cats, the two of them), and of course… "recording."  This is just when they're in their apartments.  Alone – at work, the two of them are constantly moving – Carly in her car, driving from house to house, cajoling families and children to smile and pose.  Sean wanders the streets of Manhattan in a corduroy waistcoat, carrying a guitar… most likely eliciting a chorus of, "daaaamn"s from every black guy alive in the 1970s.  Their lives seem so loud… they always have… even when my life wasn't as quiet as it has become.

Ever since the end of my relationship, I've found my life succumbing to a gathering quiet.  I live alone.  I don't have a pet.  I teach – so, yes, I speak whenever I'm working… but that's 50 minutes out of a day – and then it's back to my office hours… where I respond to emails.  I return home to read and plan classes and grade essays.  I write at night and in the morning (when I can drag myself out of bed, of course).  The sound of my life has been reduced to the scurrying of my fingers upon a keyboard… or the scratching of a pen.

Is this what life is like for people who live alone?  Those sad, lonely people who have no families – no loved ones… no children?  How can anyone stand such a quiet life? 

I think I'm starting to learn about alone now.  I'm beginning to understand the difference between alone when you're with someone… and alone when you're not.  The former is a positive thing – its an escape.  It's the psychological release of a closed door.  A study.  A quiet hour to nap or pick your nose.  But the latter – that alone is more than alone.  That alone is… lonely.

Who do those people share their funny stories with?  Funny thinks pop into my head all the time.  Well, that's kindof a relative statement.  the things I find funny tend to horrify more decent people… but I think you get my meaning.

I'm lonely.  I'm lonely in all this quiet.  It forces me to look at myself – to ask myself questions I prefer to avoid.  It forces me to acknowledge the things I've been hiding away in… well… in noise.  In my blather and my bullshit about this or that.  The quiet draws these things out of hiding – and the result is deafening.

What I've discovered recently:

I'm a serial monogamist who is utterly terrified of commitment.

How's that for being fucked up?

That's me, though.  The gemini.  Two minds on everything – all perspective, no position.

That's all.  That's all I have to say.  I just wanted to write this down – share it with whomever is out there that reads this.  That and to hear something – hear the keystrokes.

Maybe I need a cat or something.

There's a pug available for adoption in a local shelter.  His name is Archie.

If I adopted him, I'd probably end up keeping the name.  I'd claim that I named him after Archibald MacLeish.  Either that, or I'll give him a really awesome pug name:

Bannon or Heidegger or General Zod.  Oh man… General Zod.

Thinking about that dog just reminded me of something  – how much I miss Erin's dog.  I know that it seems foolish to bitch about an animal like that – especially since I've lost a human relationship that was, to be honest, pretty goddamn perfect by all accounts (though still ultimately unsatisfying, which I think suggests the problem is me rather then her, hence my alone-ness, newly-acquired lonliness and overabundance of Quiet – Erin never shut up… it was one of her more endearing qualities), but goddammit it's hard to think that I'll never see the dog again.

Why is it that I have no trouble loving the dog, but I was nebulous about loving a person who adored me, whose personality delights me, whose sense of humor tickles me, whose… prowess (shall we say) satisfies me, ad infinitum?  Is it because the dog loves me unconditionally?  Because there's no threat?  Erin pretty much loved me entirely – and she's seen me at my worst.  I'm no fucking picnic, I can tell you that.  So what's my problem?

Mother fucker… now I'm all full of questions and just rambling.  It's loud in my head now.  Now I want the fucking quiet!

Aah!  Dear God… thanks Mom and Dad for having sex nine months prior to May 29th.  You couldn't have let me come out a Leo or an Aries?  Fuck… why not a Scorpio?  They're fucking awful. 
They fuck the world, figuratively and literally, and seem not to have any guilt about it.

Screw this… I'm going to bed.

(I actually made myself mad… isn't that funny?)

Someone convince me to either get the dog or not.  I'm of both minds on it – of course.


One Response to “The Quiet”

  1. Steve Says:

    Just curious. You never mention exactly why you and your girl split up. Was that on purpose? Not trying to be nosy. Just wanted to see how much the circumstances of your breakup had to do with your current state of mind. BTW…I would not get a pet right away for a variety of reasons the first of which is that it would be a distraction you don’t need right now. BE alone for a while. It’s good for you.

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