Tuesday, November 29, 2005


In a comment to the previous post a reader wrote: most of my friends are reclusive and therefore they live alone (or words to that effect).

Oh yes. I know about people who live alone. It used to be said of them that they turn weird after 40. That they are like only children – less competent at sharing time and space with another. Is this true?

In recent years I have met loners (those that live alone by choice) and I’m beginning to think that their single status is much underappreciated.

Oh now don’t start picking on me for being anti-coupling. I have lived far far more years as part of a couple than alone. So clearly I see its virtues. Someone cooks, someone cleans the dishes. Someone asks a question, someone answers it. Someone picks up the kid at school, someone picks up her medicine at the drugstore. It’s a project. So now that I have officially come out as one who favors couple-hood, let me get back to the loner.

Is there something to be learned from a person who rejects partnership? Is it like someone who rejects religion in that both view themselves quite capable of moving from corner one to corner two without additional assistance? Or are there other methods that loners incorporate into their game plan that are substitutes for the companionship of another?

The loner I know best these days would say that living alone allows him to eat milk chocolate whenever he wants to and sleep on the floor of a sheep shed if he so chooses. I believe he does both on a fairly regular basis. Of course, were I with a partner who wanted to eat chocolate and sleep in a sheep shed, I would probably insist that the shed be in the south of France and that we spend at least half a year in it. But that’s just me.

I called my loner friend just now to ask him what reason he would give for his, for the most part, loner status. It didn’t take him long to answer: I can get up at night and watch a bad video. I can hammer some and roast some chestnuts and then sleep a while longer.

Isn’t that selfish? I ask. I can also enter a situation, do some good and move on, he tells me. You think loners are weird? I think couples a weird.

I’m thinking about all this. I actually don’t think either are weird. I just think that loners get a bum rap in our world, that’s all.