Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Sometimes, more often recently, I find the thought of conversation almost painfully unappealing. I sicken of the sound of my own voice. Worse, I don't know how to shut up. So I stay home. Confronted with the necessity of conversation, I will speak, and speak, and speak; I will stand outside myself and imagine how I must sound, I will fear that I grow tedious to others as I do to myself; I will hear the repetition, the doggedness, the inability to let a topic go until I have worried it to sodden, masticated tatters; and then I will leave and spend too much time imagining that I have acquitted myself poorly, again, I will vow to change, to shut up, to listen more and share less, to hold my hand closer to my vest. And then I will decline any number of subsequent opportunities to visit others, exiling myself from the world, manufacturing excuses -- money, fatigue, other commitments that either do not exist or will be demurred in precisely the same way -- to stay home.

At home, the ennui thickens like epoxy until it fastens rock hard skin to skin and I find myself immobile, losing interest, disappearing into my own head, which I find comforting even in a vague sort of familiar contempt, as in the company of an especialy unpleasant relation of long acquaintance, the devil one knows, perhaps.

I used to be far more comfortable in the company of strangers, use to work a room with some aplomb, and while to outward appearances I'm no less able to carry it off now when circumstances conspire to force me, it lacks the appeal it once had. I don't know why.

Is it just that I've been there so many times before, that the divergent minutiae are overwhelmed by the general sameness of things, that nothing seems as new as I'd prefer?

Settling down, settling in, is if not inevitable at least very common among even the most admirable of individuals, a honing of focus, a recognition of one's limitations, aiming to do as well as one can within one's sphere, and forming that sphere with dimensions no greater than one's reach. But what of settling before certain preset expectations have been satisfied -- companionship; professional ambitions well-defined, attainable, toward which one is moving; financial stability -- settling in the absence of such things is an excruciatingly solitary process of self-abnegation and compromise, and even as I resist the alternative, I thrash about in my own head.

Just ask me. I'll tell you all about it.

UPDATE: The party, as it turns out, was fun. I knew one more person there than I expected to (for a grand total of two), and everything was fine. Funny.

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Anonymous May said...

A minor remark: when you talk about spending evenings at home, it seems that you are missing important opportunities of new encounters, of having a good time, of relating to other people in a certain way. I feel the opposite way: when I am invited out (and refuse), I immediately think of my precious evenings at home.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Moon said...

True enough, and I was mindful of that distinction when I wrote, having just read your related post in the past day or two. I would be happier with a balance. Each venture out does furnish opportunities for new and meaningful encounters, and I wouldn't have myself disregard that fact for the easy fatuity of doing nothing at home. That said, easy fatuity is a matter of fact not principle: of late, my time at home has seemed fatuous, and for that I have no one to blame but myself. Were I more creative and productive with my home time, perhaps I'd feel I have more to share, and thus be more inclined to venture out time and again to replenish my supply of the inspiration derived from others.

It's quite a quandary of late. I struggle with it.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous May said...

There will be a time when the presence of a "significant" person in your life will make anything that you do - also staying at home and looking out of the window - taste differently, even if the person is not with you in that moment. You will discover a new meaning of things when you will be able to share them with somebody special.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Moon said...

Oh yes, I know -- I've been there. It's just been a long time.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous May said...

For a precious gift it is worth waiting.

9:16 AM  
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Anonymous May said...

(You can delete the above post).

Are you going to post some more?

10:43 AM  

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