Tag Archives: being alone

Alone in a Crowded Room

alone in a crowded room

Most days, it takes a lot to blast me out of my cave. Family events will do it because they’re few and far between; running out of coffee will do it (that’s a given!); a new movie will do it if the movie falls within a finite range of interest (sci-fi, zombies, super heroes, and Tom Hanks); and benefits (or favors) for friends. That’s about it.

A Gathering of Angels: Sunday Funday for Annette!

This past weekend, after the Big Reveal, after the Ocean Pond Clubhouse adventure, I attended a cancer-fund-raising-event for a friend. Annette is an awesome woman, a fighter, a kick-ass warrior who normally plows right through life with a vengeance. Several months ago, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Calling in the angels, her friends and family began working together to raise money to help pay for Annette’s medical treatment. As a waitress, Annette works without the handy perk of medical insurance, much like everyone else I know in this part of the country. To add insult to injury, her treatment involves the need for a shot, one shot, that costs $6,000 per injection. I can’t even begin to imagine what miracle drug must be in that syringe that would warrant a $6,000 price tag, but the doctors say that this is her chance for recovery. Annette’s tumors are shrinking. She looks great despite everything she’s going through, and she has the support of friends and family and a community that has accepted her with open arms.

I stood on the periphery during the event, wandering from the bar inside to the patio out back trying to engage in conversation with people I see at my brother’s gigs, friends of Annette’s, friends of friends, acquaintances, even strangers who have gathered for a common cause. I’m not good at small talk. I’m not really comfortable in crowds. I can’t say that I’d rather I’d stayed home because I wanted to be there for Annette, for my brother who’d helped organize the event and was playing under a leaky tent in pouring rain through thunder and lightning, for his girlfriend Barb (Annette’s sister and a longtime family friend). I wanted to be there in the mix, adding my positive energy to the flowing glow of love that swirled around me. But I still felt like an interloper standing on the fringe of the party not knowing how to engage.

Why is that? I often wonder what it is that makes me so uncomfortable. Have I spent so much time alone that I’ve lost my social skills? I don’t think so. I’ve never had the desire to hang out with the crowd, to be one of the guys, to join the team. Even as a child, I was a loner. I had friends but I was happier one-on-one. My brothers are the same way. We are quiet, introspective people, alone but never lonely. I think it runs in the family.

Family–when you least expect it!

After forty years, I reconnected with a cousin at the event. He’d made contact with my brother a couple of years ago and come up from south Florida to support Annette. He immediately reminded me of my brothers with his calm, happy demeanor. He is gentle and kind and quiet. I watched him move through the crowd like me, a part of it but separate. I admit, I don’t really know my cousin well after our short time together but I felt a kindred spirit gazing back at me, a person happy to observe, to support, and to stand on the sidelines, happy to be alone in a crowded room. Maybe he’s even a cave dweller like me. I hope to get to know him better and find out.

 Just for Fun!

A black labrador dog is decorated for a Fourth of July Picnic

There is no way in the world I would be able to get my look-alike black lab Bella to stand still long enough to attach a holiday bow but I thought this photo (from Pinterest) was appropriate for how I’ll be spending my 4th of July. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday! See you soon!

A Cave After My Own Heart

Being away from the cave is usually an interesting event for me. Putting on my social face and going out into the world is definitely not stepping into my happy place, but occasionally, I have to just suck it up and do it. This past weekend, it was for a good cause. Well, two good causes actually. I had fun but I’m happy to be home.

Ocean Pond 02

My daughter and her family are house-sitting at a beautiful old fishing camp not far from their home. The house, built in 1904, is as Walton-esque as it gets with a wide wrap-around, screened-in front porch lined with rocking chairs facing a huge three-pronged lake and a rabbit hutch cozied into a corner.

Ocean Pond: The End of the Road

Just driving down the single-lane dirt road with over-arching pin and water oaks laden with Spanish moss transported me to a state of quietude and peace–once I’d gotten over my wariness of entering this respite from home with its real threat of alligators, rattlesnakes, and snapping turtles. (And it is a real threat. People have gone missing in this lake, fishermen stepping onto the shore at the wrong time and at the wrong place.)

OP trees 02

Inside, the first floor of the house is set up for entertaining. There are two industrial strength kitchens with massive gas ranges and restaurant-ready refrigerators. Four dining rooms hold massive wooden tables and enough chairs to seat a small army. Typical lodge artifacts line the walls: fish, alligator skulls, lures, nets, paintings and posters and newspaper articles about adventures long forgotten. I could imagine this place in its heyday filled with fishermen lounging by the fireplaces (of which there are many), drinks in hand, telling fish stories while waiting for the evening meal to be served.

The house was built as a bed and breakfast for camp members, and was, according to the articles on the walls, a good place for a Saturday night dinner out on the town with friends from New York, or LA, or Savannah. I admit I couldn’t quite picture that scenario given that this place is situated precisely at the end of the road less traveled but I suppose these members must have been hearty folk to begin with to spend their days on waters infested with every manner of dangerous critter. And it must have been a hoot to drag their guests, willing or unwilling, out into the swamps for a meal.

The second floor is the caretaker’s home, a four bedroom, three bath apartment with tall windows (with original glass) and thick carpet over creaking hardwood floors. There are cabinets and closets galore, a central dining room, and a living room on the north end overlooking the lake. It’s homey and comfortable and “creepy as all get out” in the words of my grandson.

Rocking chairs 02

It was a little creepy but it’s a cave dweller’s dream, nestled far away from the hustle of life. I drank my morning coffee while I lounged in a rocking chair older than me on a porch built before my grandfather was born. I felt at peace while I rocked and dreamed and realized that this was a cave after my own heart.

I am Driftwood…

It’s not often that I feel totally cut off from the world or really mind if I am. But there are times when it’s quite disconcerting to find myself adrift in a quiet world.

Lightning

Thunder storms are common this time of year in Florida. Lightning struck last night wiping out cable, wifi, and telephone service. Although I still had lights, I found myself without my normal means of connection to the outside world. Cell service was still up and running and I suppose I could have reached out through my limited and precious 3G data plan, but after making the rounds again and again, confirming that, yes, the cable was still out, I finally settled down with a glass of wine and an old familiar friend: William Gibson.

So, what to do when there’s nothing to do? Read, read, read!

It’s a sad state of affairs in my cave that I have read every book I own at least once and in some cases, many times more than once. It is also sad that when I pulled Spook Country off the shelf, I couldn’t immediately remember the plot which made it a good choice for a rainy night alone but a sad choice because I can clearly remember the story lines of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Burning Chrome, Mona Lisa Overdrive. I wasn’t sure if this was a statement about my functional memory or the book itself.  Twenty minutes later, I decided it had to do with the book as my mind wandered away from the story and back to the video I had been working on when lightning struck.

My mind was still on angels and healing and the power we each hold within ourselves. The video is a very short introduction to A Gathering of Angels. I was in the process of posting it on YouTube when my computer freaked out and I suddenly lost all control. I couldn’t move forward, I couldn’t shut down, I couldn’t refresh or even minimize. I sat waiting for a resurge of energy to kick start my programs but nothing happened.

I sat bobbing in the water, waiting for another wave to carry me to shore. I am driftwoodWashed upon the shore. Once a lover of the tides but I don’t think I can take that anymore. I am becalmed by too many years of dissonance and solitude, but harmony and love can move my soul. It moves my soul. (Paul Williams, of course. If you haven’t heard Driftwood, find it if you can. I hesitate to point you to a download site that may or may not be a bootleg.)

So, I’m back at work this morning after a very quiet night, connected, becalmed, harmonious. My wine glass, still full, was sitting on the table with my unread book this morning. I went to bed early, a rare event for me.

I am still adrift in my thoughts today, wondering if I should attempt, once again, to upload that video. For now, I’ll post it on this page and see where we go from here.  A Gathering of Angels

Just for Fun.

elephant and kitten

When you find yourself in a river of doubt, help can show up in the most unexpected ways.

Welcome!

Living as a non-social being in a social world can be very uncomfortable–and frustrating. My name is Colleen and I am a Cave Dweller. 

What?!?

What is a Cave Dweller? I define myself as a person who is caring, giving, loving, open, kind, and generous but who does not view being social as a just-for-fun activity or a contact sport. It’s as simple as that. I am an introvert, which does not mean that I am shy or socially inept. It simply means that given the opportunity to get out of the house to go a movie with a group of people, 9.75 times out of 10, I will choose to stay home. In my sweats. With a good book. It also means that I don’t mind being alone, eating alone, or living alone–even within the structure of a relationship.

I don’t like to get dressed up and go out. I don’t like to shop in malls or outlet stores. I have to psyche myself up to go to the grocery store and even after changing out of my sweats and into my jeans (and one of six brown t-shirts), it is incredibly easy for me to talk myself out of actually getting into my car and pulling out of the garage–unless I need coffee or coffee creamer or coffee filters. In that case, I’m willing to brave the waving neighbors and the friendly clerk so that I can buy my supplies and hurry back to my cave. 

Cave Dwellers on the Internet

I am a homebody at heart–even on the internet. I’m happy just to hang around my old familiar browser, haunt my favorite websites, check out movies and my horoscope and email my family and friends. Everywhere I turn, I see invitations/demands to like me, tweet me, post a comment, be my friend when all I really want to do is read and play and laugh at funny videos without the pressure of having to be social or share my online experience.

Does this sound familiar?  Are you a Cave Dweller, too?

  • Do you feel like you don’t fit in at gatherings?
  • Do you find yourself alone in your own thoughts in the middle of a crowd?
  • Do you surf the internet, read blogs, or visit social gaming sites but never post?
  • When forced to leave the house, do you find yourself anxious to just get home so you can get into your favorite sweats and shake off the social-interaction requirements of the day?

Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to click on anything or actually answer these questions but I think we might have a lot in common. In fact, I believe that there are many, many people out there just like me for whom cave dwelling is perfectly fine as a way of life. And it is for those people like me that I’d like to create a no-pressure zone, a place where Cave Dwellers can gather and point to things of interest. Funny things. Geeky things. (Although not all Cave Dwellers are geeks and not all geeks are Cave Dwellers.) This is NOT a site for explicit adult material or rude behavior. It is my intention to create a safe zone free of pressure to be liked, where anyone and everyone who feels like they are “other” can find a place to just be. So, take a breath, feel free not to comment, and come back often. I’ll be here, snug in my cave.

Next post: The challenge of finding success from inside the cave. (Yikes)