|A Room Of My Own (And Virginia's too!)|
At the beginning of September, the heat of Summer begins to dissipate in New York. But Summer leaves behind swabs of humidity, still clinging on as I impatiently wait for Autumn. To give context, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone. I’m an extrovert. So it’s an unusual feeling. I plan to spend September mostly alone, for my work is solitary, and it depends on me monetizing my solitude. I’ve lived in the same apartment for quite a long time, but lately, I have come to know my room. It’s probably because I spend more time in my room than I ever did before, and I will admit that is the prosaic reason. To quell my loneliness, I open my eyes, and light upon something beautiful. There are many rooms in one room. The room you wake up to in the morning, in the half-light, where the room is an exit from the dream you've just had, but can't quite remember. Or the room, as it appears when you first enter it, different from the room you sat in all day writing. For the room you share with another person, but you don't notice the room, or the opposite, where all you notice is the space filling up, but words cannot express how you feel. It’s loneliness. But you don’t say it that way because people cannot handle loneliness.
OK. This post is really about loneliness.
We live in a loneliness averse society. Did you read about the study where people chose to administer self-inflicted shocks rather than spend time alone with their thoughts? Albeit, I can be alone in a room — it's because I’m used to being alone and I do not have the gumption to call it solitude. I turned my desk to face the window because I realized how depressing it was to look at the closed door all day. The cars on the Gowanus Expressway never stop gliding past, and I get a faint pleasurable thrill, when I look up, and see the Staten Island Ferry. It’s not there every time I look, but when I have to write copy on a deadline — I’ve been freelancing all Summer — it calms my nerves to look up and see the Staten Island Ferry. In the last three weeks, I have not had much reason to leave my house. I do. Of course. I’d go batty if I didn’t leave my room. But being in my room through this past season has made me feel like a Calmodolese monk, who spend lots of time in their cells, only to come out to pray inside of a stone cold church. I come out to ride the R train (because I have a thirty day Metrocard that I have to use) and to shop at the grocery store.
In the time it took to write about what I saw, what I saw is gone.
My favorite time of day is the gloaming, since my window faces West, looking out into the bay, the diminishing sunlight casting different shades of orange onto my empty walls. I look up, just now, to find it, but it is gone, and my room is another room, an emptier room. Being in a room, and seeing something beautiful, something you never noticed before, but since you've been spending so much time alone you notice it. But you think you’re crazy, not because it's something beautiful, but you've been spending so much time alone that any shimmer of beauty is acceptable. I'll accept that. And my apologies to Virginia Woolf for copying her writing style. Thanks, Virginia. For everything.
Image Source: Greig Roselli