I've always had a sort of intuition that for every hour you spend with other human beings you need X number of hours alone. Now, what that X represents I don't really know, whether it be two and seven-eighths or seven and two-eighths, but it's a substantial ratio. (glenn gould, 32 short film about glenn gould)i casually refer to my life as the life of piano monkey. well, not the ones at the zoo, but with a circus, really. i am taken care of, my basic needs are met and there are many perks that comes with doing what i do- esp. here in banff, the luxury would be the studio i can park myself and do whatever i want to do with it, while looking out on the great looking mountains, bold, cold and bigger than life. what do i as an exchange? i am to play music, well, piano scores and attempt to support the instrumentalist/composer/audience by creating musical experience. whatever that means.
so most bulk of my energy is spent on working with others. then there are the time that i put on the workbench for doing 'my share,' learning notes and so on. constant interaction with identities that is not me. often give and take, sometimes all give and nothing to take, vice versa.
compare to the factory work etc., i work relatively low hours per week. and no, it's not really that hard on the body either, not like gardening or doing hand laundry. or making bread dough (now that's some serious work).
and i still find myself kind of dumbed-out in the middle of the day quite often. fuzzy headed, kind of insane, dull, frayed on the edges. so i hide. put on loud teenager angst music and let it bleed through my brain while drinking tea, watching the time pass by as the degree of sunlight, the colors of the mountains, the direction and the temperature of the wind changing. sometimes i read, sometimes i draw, make chicken scratches on paper, or just sit.
end of the day, i get to my room, usually alone, by self, open my door, drop my shoes, take stuff off from my pockets, and proceed to waste time.
and may be catch up with a buddy or two, if they are willing.
i can hear people milling around, walking around, opening and closing doors, making plans, laughing; about 2.5 inches away from that action, i am in isolation.
voluntary? imposed? i don't really know.
my phone lays there, blinking occasionally to let me know that yes, there is a possibility that i may make some noise to let you know that you are wanted. out of my window, i see small groups of people, laughing and walking, busy, in-midst-of. sometimes i look at my phone and command, 'ring! bring me the activities, the news of the day, the festivities of daily life!'
it usually looks back at me with a blank stare.
sometimes it feels more isolated in midst of people. esp. in places like arts colony, such as banff center. i do not exactly know what is expected of me; people talk the importance of networking, hanging out, branching out, interacting, all these -ing verbs: 'get on it, NOW, if you aren't already doing it.' except, i am usually the loner kid. i once was, and always will be i suppose. i have Zero charisma and am not all that accommodating to others. no general 'nice' quality to speak of.
should i be changing? should i be making more efforts? how is it that they are all communicating and fluourising? why am i so fizzled, wilted, grey and isolated? should i just try to be popular (wait, that never worked in the first place for me; some people can do it with such grace)? why is it so imperative that people to like me when i know that i, myself cannot like everyone?
all these questions, running in circles.
i lie on my bed, let the weight of the invisible luggage i carry voluntarily with me crush me slowly to the oblivion of sleep.
i take comfort in fact that wherever or whoever one is with, one always falls asleep alone, essentially. we are born one at a time, crunched, rolled up, red-angry faced hairy baby covered in sticky warm blood. and soon as one breath the first breath of air, we start the tedious counting to the last one, the one that is fully expected, omnious and occassionally frightening. and then we perish. one by one. tragically, timely, luckily, painfully, easily, gracefully, untimely, with survivors, with or without assets left over, one dies alone.
that is my consolation prize for the doses of daily isolation i face.
and oh yes, i am lucky enough to have some really nice conversations, work sesions that brings me impressions, sensations and riches larger than life. even in limited doses. those things fuel me to get through this imposing isolation issue.
then i am really not so isolated am i,
if i am continously living through disjuncted fragements of time and distance differences.
perhaps that is the prize you win by swallowing the daily dose of isolation.
oh and by the way, i am not bitter about being alone.
at least i know.