Sunday, October 08, 2006

On Solitude

Yesterday morning I got up and drove down to my parents' empty beach house, mostly because I needed my hair done and we've already established that A) my hairdresser is cool and B) I don't care enough about the planet to find a less cool hairdresser in Norfolk.

Aside from that, though, it's been a while since I spent some quality alone-time at the beach. I mean, sure, I was at the beach in Jacksonville with my best friend just last weekend, and she was totally cool with the fact that I spent most of our beach time wandering around on my own picking up shells and wading in tide pools. "I love the beach," she said as we were leaving, "but I don't have the same spiritual connection with it that you and Trey (her husband) do."

I do have a spiritual connection with the beach, but I also find a great deal of comfort in solitude. When I was a kid we had a forsythia bush growing against the side of our house like a mini weeping willow tree. I used to crawl under the branches and just sit there until my sister discovered me and said something like, "What are you DOING in there? Aren't you BORED?" As a teenager, I can remember being thrilled on Saturday mornings when the rest of my family went off to soccer games and I had the house to myself. In college, when solitude is nearly impossible to come by, I started spending occasional weekends alone at the beach just to maintain my sanity.

It's not that I'm antisocial, it's that sometimes I just need to be by myself. And yes, obviously I live by myself (well, aside from all those cats), but there's a big difference between not having anyone else around and actively experiencing solitude. For whatever reason, the beach has always been where I feel most alone and most at peace.

So last night I poured myself a glass of wine (okay, fine, I poured myself several glasses of wine in succession) and I sat on the deck under the full moon listening to the waves crash onshore and breathing in the scent of pine as the wind rustled through the trees. Not a particularly hip way to spend a Saturday night, but I loved every minute of it and today I feel completely relaxed and rejuvenated (plus my hair looks good).

The MS Word thesaurus lists "loneliness" as the closest synonym for "solitude," but it is precisely because I am NOT lonely that I so enjoy being alone. I don't know. This certainly helps to explain why I'm single: I imagine it's somewhat difficult to connect with a girl who often prefers pine trees to people. But does taking such pleasure in solitude make me a weirdo? I mean, I'm not the only one who enjoys sitting around on a Saturday night with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company, right?


Phil said...

Wrong. You are a weirdo.


I always like the solitude of walking through a heavy snow fall. Something about it insulates me from the rest of the world. Helps me think.

lulu said...

But who be feeding all those kittens while you were gone?

Brian said...

October and November are by far the best months for being at that particular beach. Something about growing up with it basically devoid of people except for us, the Flowers, and the Raes, and it now being flooded with northern tourons for the Spring and Summer months makes it especially gratifying during the winter.

Plus, you and I have that same I'm-just-fine-on-my-own-thanks thing going for us.

Megan said...

Phil: I guess you're a weirdo too then.

Lulu: I think you mean "while you WAS gone." Get it straight, girl!

Brian: There are few things better than October on the Outer Banks. It even SOUNDS different. And when the olive bushes bloom? Heaven.

Maritza said...

Sounds like heaven to me and my hair always looks better at the beach. Who could ask for more?

Chris said...

I can really relate to this post, Megan. I am the same way. I find that a lot of people think it's weird to actually want time to yourself. It is extremely important to me and a big part of why I moved to a rural area. It must be nice to have access to a place like that.

Melissa said...

I spent Saturday night alone in my house, with the Mets game on, sound muted, downloading French lesson podcasts onto my iPod. It was all I wanted to do.

Can't wait for Thanksgiving! Have you told Brian the big news?!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Before Spooney moved into my house, I spent many a Saturday night listening to radio drama and either working on scrapbooks or reorganizing drawers. And yes, there was some wine involved as well. I miss those days a little.

Neesh said...

Miss you...and...I am very happy you had a chance to experience a piece of your nirvana this past weekend.

Coaster Punchman said...

Great post.

I go out of my friggin mind when I can't have some alone time. I especially love being home alone. I have all my little projects I could be working on, but instead I ignore them in favor of watching TV and eating junk food. So I guess whereas you are spiritual and contemplative, I am just trying to hide from the world what a lazy fuck I really am.

Megan said...

Maritza: Beach hair is not a good look for me. You know Slash of Guns n' Roses? Yeah, that's me in the humidity.

Chris: It IS nice. I am a very lucky girl.

Melissa: As long as it wasn't the Yankees, I'm cool with that. I did mention our Thanksgiving date to Brian. He wanted to know what I was doing emailing his girlfriend.

Vikki: Couldn't you send Spooney out to a strip club or something every now and then?

Neesh: Thanks. I find I'm not as grumpy this week.

CP: Oh, I ate some potato chips while I chatted up the pine trees. And a few handfuls of peanut M&Ms, come to think of it.

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

i'm with you on the solitude. as my husband is a pilot, I get my fair share of it and then some.

even tho he's the one person on earth i could spend every waking moment with and be happier for it? i'm always ok with my alone time.

i have a spiritual connection with the planet, you might say. i need my time alone with it in order to feel fulfilled and at peace 'n shit. see? you're not the only weirdo. :)

Melissa said...

M - I fucking HATE the Yankees. I am a Mets girl all the way.

He called me his girlfriend?!

Megan said...

DGMGV: Welcome to our merry band of weirdos.

Melissa: Yeah, but then he said you might be an ax murderer, so I don't know what you should make of that. . .