I have been thinking about other people, family, community, peoples’ needs, others with whom I am apparently “designed” to connect. I have been thinking that maybe these things are inescapable if I am to become a “real boy.”
But honestly, it seems like almost everything that I want drives me away from other people. A little peace and quiet, some privacy, time to paint, or read or write, or to go for a walk in the woods. I don’t really want other people to bother me, to start talking to me, to impose their thoughts upon my quiet moments. I watched a documentary recently about an old guy who loved living alone up in Alaska, keeping himself busy building a log cabin, hunting, fishing, gardening, and avoiding getting consumed by grizzlies. It looked good. Simple. A little scary, but simple.
Our neighbor is putting up a fence around her yard, and I get that. She wants to provide a safe place for her little dog to run about, and she hates us, because I sunbathe in the nude*. So I got to thinking about how nice it might be to hem in my own space, close the gate, and keep the weirdies from passing judgment on my personal mess. But I guess I surprised myself when my first reaction to her fence was, “Oh no. We won’t be able to share the big backyard space like we used to.”
I’m conflicted. My brain seems to think life would be a whole lot easier if I kept people from infiltrating my personal perimeter. Fewer fights, fewer distractions when I have 9 things to do, minimal interactions about meaningless crap. But my heart, somewhere down deep in there, seems to squeak out, “Hey, where is everybody?”
I really do love some other people. There is nothing like sitting around a table drinking a bit of wine, laughing and telling embarrassing stories. And most recently, when I’ve gone fishing around the corner at the Little Black Poison Ivy Pond, I have thought about how much more fun it is when someone else shares the moment. Not even just a fish-catching moment – ANY moment.
So I think I am starting to accept the idea that I may be “wired” to have relationships with other people; maybe God designed it that way. And that maybe the independence I want isn’t always what I need – or even what the people around me need. I do live in a family after all. And they drive me nuts. A lot. But the other day I had to drop my daughter off at her soccer game. She was only going to be gone a couple of hours, but I missed her as soon as I said good-bye. And my son made me laugh so hard the other night I almost peed in my pants.
Some friends were over here last night, and we started talking about what it means to be honest with each other. Among the laughter, we talked about our fears and grudges and insecurities. I found myself wishing it were simpler. But people are complicated. Including me. I guess it’s a little dangerous to be a real boy.
We all concluded, though, that sometimes just knowing that someone understands that they drive you crazy is enough to continue the friendship.
*No, I don’t. Ew.