I’ve always been a very social person. Alone, I’m more inclined to phone someone to chat than I am to, say, think about things. I mean I like to think about things, but I’ll quickly call a friend or my mom to run it by them. Indeed this leaves the things I think about only so profound. How deep can you go if you’re constantly popping up to report on progress?
Maybe it’s my inability to be still, related to the A.D.D. I know you think I blame an awful lot on A.D.D and I do. I’m so happy to have self-diagnosed this affliction. No Ritalin for me. Work it girl I tell myself, it is who you are.
When I took the year off to write I was nervous I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. There are no longer rows and rows of cubicles filled with people eager or bored enough to listen to what I have to say.
The marriage of bureaucracy and open concept was an odd match but it suited my social requirements. The ad agencies or dot-comers who opened our concepts in the first place did so to get the creative juices flowing, designing space to literally toss ideas across a room and back, or meet instantaneously the moment they hit. Walls just got in the way. It’s not clear why Government followed suit, but you can bet it was a cost saving measure disguised as an innovation strategy. I have my opinions on how productive it was. Once my walls were removed, like a toddler without a playpen, I meandered off to find distractible playmates for coffee and gossip, or when pressed, to discuss work.
Now I’m here, wherever here is, usually at my desk, in my bedroom, sometimes at the library or a coffee shop, all day, all by myself. Getting up from my desk and wandering to the bathroom to have a look in the mirror fooled me only once as company.
I always longed to be solitary. It reeks of depth and insight and that’s what I wanted to smell like. But I was more like a ping pong ball at a dance club. The ability to enjoy being alone was a pipe dream. It took years of therapy to convince me that needing people around didn’t make me superficial or incapable of deep ideas – just slightly less likely to get at them. If a bee is too busy chatting and doesn’t land, it’s unlikely to pollinate anything. That’s just fact.
Before I mix my metaphors beyond recognition I’ll get back to my point. Turns out I find myself entertaining. I just need to check with people regularly to confirm. Maybe I was bored by much of what I used to do. Now I write myself stories, insult myself, pat myself on the back, make myself laugh and cry.
I’m pretty good at alone. In fact I love it. Surprise, surprise.