now 95% sane!

guard towerPart by circumstance, part by design, I'm leading a more and more solitary lifestyle. It is not, as so many inquire, all that lonely. When I want companionship, I venture out. It's that simple. Look ma, no loneliness. It takes a lot to make me lonely nowadays, though. During my break from work, I decided to see how long I could go with minimal human interaction (read: paying grocery clerks). I made it nearly four weeks before I started getting squirrely. And then I visited Katrina and Dorkass, and I was reminded why I avoid humanity, and I was ready for another 17 weeks alone.

No, loneliness is not the problem. Spoiledness is.

I noticed it this weekend when I ventured to Port Townsend to shop for Even More Useless-But-Cute Household Crap I Don't Need. I used to make this trip with AW all the time, and I noticed her absence. Specifically, I noticed how bloody wonderful it was to go just to the stores I liked, to leave as soon as I was done, to not have anyone telling me that the vase I liked was ugly. Yes, I missed the interactivity of shopping together ("Get a picture phone," Dorkass suggests), and I missed having someone to blather to at lunch. But these are trifling cons compared to the pros. I love being in complete control of my environment.

By "control" I mean this: dictating what we do, where we do it, and with whom. Most of life is a tug-of-war between the parts we control (home, entertainment, friends) and the parts we don't (work, S.O., family). A few years ago, I controlled maybe 50% of my life. Now that number's more like 95%. My working from home 4 days a week has much to do with that achievement, as do my singleness and my willingness to be alone. Cut off most human contact, and you too can control your environment. 95% of the time, I don't do what I don't want to do, and I don't suffer fools. It's addictive.

At this point, some readers are thinking this sounds awful; others think it sounds like bliss. Only you know if your insides are wired such that hitting 95% is desirable. It is for me. No one who knows this particular duck is surprised to see him happily wallowing in these particular waters, but what has surprised me is my greed for it. I want more control. I resent the hell out of that remaining 5%. 95% of my life is idyllic, mellow, devoid of conflict and rancor and pettiness. If someone or something brings negativity, they're gone. Poof. No debate. My life is governed by an electorate of one. The remaining 5% of my life? It drives me mad. I want it eradicated. It can't be, of course. For as long as some degree of human contact is necessary, that 5% I can't control will be there. What's surprising, and more than a little alarming, is that I'm less and less capable of dealing with the 5%. When that portion of my life was 50%, I dealt with it far more easily. It was just my everyday crap, same as yours. But now when I have to drive the 10 minutes to Albertsons and wait in line for five minutes, I'm irritated beyond all reason. It's the worst part of my day. I can barely deal. This strikes me as slightly insane. What happens if, god forbid, I have to lead a normal life again someday? If I have to do something drastic like—gasp!—work in an office and actually interact with people I don't like? Or share in decisions with an S.O.? I think I'll implode.

I'm thinking 80% is probably a healthier number, lest my my social-coping muscles completely atrophy. Time to join some book clubs or somethin.' Just as long as I get to create the reading lists.