the lone ranger
I have my books and my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock, I am an island
–Paul Simon – I Am A Rock
One of the things that made my last job bearable was a colleague I enjoyed conversing with, an older man who had never married or had kids but who dabbled in writing and film. Because I’ve been bored at many of my jobs, I’ve found that having a colleague I click with intellectually makes all the difference. It’s been a long-standing pattern with me that my level of satisfaction with a job depends on having at least one of those connections, as any workday can be elevated above the mundane by stimulating conversation.
I’m leaning towards one full-time job right now over another because I think I stand a better chance of clicking with some staff members there. Certainly the job itself is going to bore me, as I was doing the same work almost fifteen years ago and it bored me then (hopefully though it will position me for a better job not too far down the road). I’ve also been investigating after-work activities in both areas of town to give myself something to look forward to outside of the job.
It hit me profoundly the other evening that, socially at least, I’m becoming an intellectual lone ranger. I’ve written before that my old friends who shared my taste in books, movies, and music have all become preoccupied with rearing children or have otherwise disappeared from my life, and I’ve made few new ones to replace them.
It’s a real loss, as I feel almost no connection to the larger culture. I hardly turn on my T.V. anymore, and I rarely read popular literature or magazines. Somehow I still manage to find those lesser-known books or bands or what-have-you that speak to me, but I wish they were speaking to me and a few of my friends.
I do appreciate the friends I currently have, and I connect with them on various levels, but I confess that there’s a lot of polite chit-chat going on with them. I have to work at things, like how a middling date often feels like a job.
I do have a pretty strong connection with my roommate on certain topics, but I’ve realized the limits of his maturity lately, and his lack of energy and general snappishness (not just with me but with others) has put me off. Occasionally I still talk with my non-relationship guy on the phone, and it’s like a breath of fresh air, as I can bring up almost anything on my mind and he can riff on it.
Luckily for me I have some childless, single female friends here; however, I find myself unable to broach those very topics with them. They seem to have either suppressed their feelings about them (and a few seem to be acting out from this suppression) or they are still in a hopeful phase so can’t go there yet. Thank god I can check in on the Gateway Women Online Community; it’s been a lifeline.
As in L.A., I also have a few younger, twentysomething female acquaintances, and although I enjoy their company, they are not my peers.
Was it better in L.A.? The only thing that was perhaps better is that there were some really bright people in the Industry there, people at the top of their game, who would elevate my intellect when I caught them in interviews or performances. As to my actual friendship circle, however, it was pretty much the same deal.
This blog has become, at some level, not a choice but a necessity. I would say I’ve been backed into a corner and have no way out but to become a writer, but then I realize, I already AM a writer. Just not a traditionally published one.
I get it, RantyRanger. As a 51 year-old introvert, I can no longer tolerate chit-chat. For me, it’s got to be a meaningful connection or none at all. Unfortunately the ‘none at all’ option has prevailed for years now. It seems strange to be lonely while there are many who would love for me to join them at happy hour. I just can’t do it. I’ve begun to think I’m in the wrong country as my values seem more aligned with other nations but the likelihood of picking up to move across seas seems pretty remote! To my credit, I have persevered over the years in getting out to meet new people. MeetUp, local hiking clubs, etc. I feel lucky to’ve found one MeetUp group that is very satisfying although once/twice a month just isn’t enough. Lately I’ve been downsizing, for no particular reason. Getting rid of furniture, etc. that I no longer need. I think in the remote recesses of my mind I have a hope that an appealing opportunity is going to present itself, and I’m preparing. As always, thanks for writing : )
Always good to be ready to go!
I too wonder about whether I’m in the wrong country, although I feel like there should be enough of what I need in the cities I’ve been living in, so I need to make the most of what’s in front of me.