Thursday, May 8, 2008

He wants to be alone, to ponder this to the point of understanding-ness.

I just finished a really short good book that I would recommend called The Body Artist by Don DeLillo. Its a bit of a downer in a way but its well done and very visual. He is very good at highlighting small human actions that remind you of things you do or know. I actually went and got two more of his books to read while in Israel, so I'm pretty excited to have found a new author I like. So yeah he's written like a ton of books, so check him out.

The book is big on loneliness and how it makes you act and feel when you are alone, so it made me think, which spurned me to discuss with my friends. The idea of being alone and what being alone really means to different people is just so varied.

On my end, I am more the sort of person who likes to be around people. I have never lived alone and always had a brother or roommate to be around. I have an endless compulsion to be doing things and recording the things I am doing for proof that I am doing things. (Who needs therapy?) But I digress, we'll talk about that compulsion some other time.

When I was about eleven I used to go around the corner to Tony's pizza place, order a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich and a Tropicana fruit punch and read at a table alone. I liked doing it. It made me feel adult to be alone. I liked that moment I had to myself.

Now I am that girl who goes to movies alone, museums alone, and sits in the park alone. I take long walks alone. I even prefer shopping alone. I have been known to start big alone art projects which I never finish. Yet I have friends who would never do those things alone, hate being alone, feel lonely all the time. Its very interesting to see how people act when thrust into a situation like that.

In The Body Artist the main character Lauren winds up all alone in this giant house by the sea. It is pretty intense to think of living and existing and being so alone like that, and its something I have never experienced and probably never will while living in the city. But I can relate to her actions. She makes up a schedule, unimportant things that have to be done. She cleans.

I have a pretty stellar boyfriend who likes to be around me, or at least puts up with me being around him, so that makes the times that I am alone a few and far between. I also have lots of friends and a roommate. But its very interesting to read about and think about.

On an unrelated note but another part of the conversation I had with my friends; the importance of the phone.
So I am not a phone person. I used to be one, but I've become increasingly less dependant on my phone as the years have passed. I'm a big screener, which is really annoying for all my friends, and also annoying for me since when I miss a call everyone thinks I am doing it on purpose.

But still, I am definitely one to screen my calls or keep them as short as possible. But I believe that phone conversations are important in relationships. All relationships. Friendships, family, love, whatever. Maybe its not the actual HAVING of the conversations, but the knowledge that if you did have one it would be a good one. Fluidity of conversation, back and forth questions and answers, discussions of topics that you cannot wait to talk about. Laughter at one another's jokes or stories.

The phone puts a distance between you where you can no longer rely on physical closeness or other distractions. Its fine to walk side by side and not speak or have a pause during dinner while you are both eating; these actions fill silences and allow for an actual closeness and comfort. But on the phone a long pause just feels like a waste of time and leaves you wondering why you cannot think of anything to say to one another.

I asked three of my friends on a scale of one to ten how important phone conversations are in relationships. All three of them listed in the high 8-9s. Okay yes one of these friends likes to talk A LOT both on the phone and off, but it was good to get a sort of general opinion on it. If they felt that it was about an 8 on the importance scale, for me it is around a 7 or 6, which is still above 5 and therefore on the more important side.

Maybe my views are skewed do to some phone pasts. I've had long distance relationships that purely rely on phone contact, and a mother who I can talk to for hours both on the phone or off, friends who enjoy hearing what type of soup I'm eating or what I bought at the mall on Tuesday, friends who actually ask me about these things. So maybe I never even questioned phone conversations back then. I was probably bothered by the amount of time I could spend on the phone, which is what leads me to believe it isn't the actual phone conversations that are important but the idea that you could have one if you so chose.

I also think that sometimes I just like hearing details. I like hearing what other people are doing so that I can get a real glimpse into their lives and feel like I know more about how they operate, how they live. When i want to be close to someone or I miss them, it's nice to know what they are feeling or doing, whats important to them on this day, what they will be doing later. I like to talk out decisions I am making so I can hear how they sound. (I do this constantly to my current roommate, poor girl.) And I like to hear answers after I say something, I like to feel funny or at least heard. It sounds so emotionally high maintenance but I don't think it actually is. I think it's just normal.

Anyway two separate topics that can kind of go together if you think about it, maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, to end my blathering, I just wanted to say that I think I am going to change my blogging policies and begin doing it just once a week or so. If this is going to be a writing exercise for me I should be putting more thought into the entries as opposed to just passing fancies or wonders. So that's what I'm thinking, and I'm sure no one will lose any sleep over it.

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