Friday, July 24, 2015

Home Alone: Wandering Lost

I've had the house all to myself for the last week while my mom's on vacation in the Colorado Rockies. It's been kind of a weird experience.

On one hand, it's been nice, having complete control over my own home life. Since my mom is a light sleeper and her room is right next to the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room, and the garage—the front door is also in earshot. To keep from waking her up, I pretty much have to keep to my own side of the house after she goes to bed (between 9 and 10pm on weekdays). No cooking, no watching TV in the living room, no doing laundry, and generally no leaving the house through the front door or garage. Also, when she's home on weekends, she basically parks on the couch or in the kitchen, meaning that I can't be in the main area of the house unless I want to watch QVC, the Bachelor, or NCIS with her—which, surprise surprise, I never want to do. Another thing: my mattress is horrendous. Seriously, it gives me back problems and ensures that I pretty much never sleep well. My mom's mattress, on the other hand, is pretty great. So yeah, having the house to myself is nice: I can watch Netflix in the living room whenever I want, do laundry at 10pm, cook a pizza at midnight, sleep in a bed that actually lets me sleep, et cetera.

On the flipside, though not exactly a negative, is the fact that I'm in charge of taking care of the house. I'm the one who has to feed and watch the cats (we have two cats now), I'm the one who does all the household chores, and I'm the one who decides what to spend grocery money on. It's responsibility, and it's not a bad thing. It's just different. I do wish I didn't have to take care of the cats—they're still rambunctious kittens but big enough to cause problems—because juggling them can be a hassle. But whatever. At least I'm not technically 100% alone in here.

That's the other thing. Being alone in the house is weird. I don't actually feel any more lonely than I usually do—though I sort of always feel lonely so maybe I've already hit terminal loneliness velocity—but it is weird to actually be the only one around. Normally if I'm at home and feel lonely, I feel like a victim of my circumstances. But when the house is empty and I'm the one in charge, so to speak, it feels like the responsibility for my loneliness rests with me. That it's my job to make social interaction happen rather than sitting alone at home.

So I see if any friends want to hang out. I don't ask that many people, because honestly I don't know that many people anymore that I can just call up and ask. Daniel is/was my only real go-to friend, though he's gonna be leaving for college in a month or so. I wonder what I'm gonna do then? Andrew is out of state at the moment, and we don't get to hang out much anyway. Sarah and Zach are gonna be leaving soon, but even they are kind of absent/busy a lot now anyway. Elisabeth and I aren't really friends anymore. I don't really know what to do, but I figure that I need to be making new friends by getting "out" into the world. On that note...

I went to Barnes and Noble earlier tonight to read some comics. I planned on reading some Batman, but ended up discovering this indie graphic novel called The Sculptor.
It's a super-thick (500 pages) one-off along the lines of Blankets. It's about a 26-year-old artist named David whose life is a terrible trainwreck: his family members have all died tragically, his few friendships are complicated, and his huge artistic potential is buried under layers upon layers of depression. I found it a little uncomfortable how much I felt like I could relate. David ends up meeting Death himself, and makes a deal: David will only live for another 200 days, but he can sculpt literally any material however he wants, making his sculptures essentially only limited by his imagination. Over those 200 days he learns about life and has an epic ton of drama. The sculpting superpower angle is actually one of the least important aspects of the story; it's really just about a man trying to figure out his life and what he wants out of it in the remaining 200 days he has left.

While I was reading, there were some 18-year-olds sitting next to me having fun, mostly trading opinions on books, movies based on books, each others' original writing, etc. I talked with them a little. I think they were the kind of people I might've been friends with if I'd been in their social circle (and maybe a little younger). It made me miss having friends like that to hang out with. But on the flipside, I caught one little exchange between them that I found interesting. Toward the end of the night, one of them said, "we have to promise each other that after I go to UNT, we'll get together someday and have lunch or something." The other two nodded and agreed. But the implication was that this group wouldn't be together for much longer. I'd spent a good portion of the night sitting next to them wishing that I still had friends like these three had each other—and yet even this group was soon going to break apart.

And I don't really know what lesson I should take from that. That nothing lasts forever? That it's always best to keep moving forward instead of holding onto people from the past?

If I had to guess, I'd say that I haven't been looking for friends lately so much as a family—the kind of people who won't go away, no matter what. Of course, then again, half of my family died in my teens anyway, so maybe even family isn't that permanent. But it should be, right? I don't want to be demanding, or to expect the impossible. Just as long as I don't have to sit inside the house by myself anymore.


As I decided on a title for this blog post ("Home Alone"—look at me, everybody, I'm clever...), I fell across the words "lost" and "wandering" (no doubt because of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York), and the Tolkien part of my brain remembered the line "not all who wander are lost." I googled it to remember the full context, and realized that it's actually part of a larger poem that refers to Aragorn and his destiny:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king
Well. Isn't that nice.

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