Alone again, naturally.

The title refers to a song I remember from my youth by Gilbert O Sullivan, something to do with a mother dying with the refrain “alone again, naturally” sprinkled throughout the song. This would’ve been the mid to late 60’s, well on my way to being “alone again, naturally”.

Let me elaborate: When I was about 4, my mother locked me out of the house because I was jealous of my newly arrived baby brother. While this may have been true, all I recall is mom telling me to “go find new friends” and locking the door behind me. She didn’t even let our dog “Holly” out to keep me company/protect me. Then again, Holly thought the new born was her responsibility and never left the kids side. Even when my mother pushed the tot in a stroller, Holly would walk along side with her nose in the carriage. Luckily I was allowed to bring my “army men” with me on my quest to find “new friends” in a neighborhood we’d only moved into a couple of months before.

My banishment was to last until my dad returned home from school (dad was a school teacher) with my older sister and brother, who attended the same school my dad taught at (as would my little brother and I), a school district that we did not live in, but dad was friends with the Superintendent of schools and did pretty much what he wanted.

It was a warm day, which I spent in the newly planted bushes in front of the house, playing with the army men and drinking out of the outside faucet when I got thirsty and eating a sandwich that mom left outside the front door after yelling “lunch” and before she relocked the door.

I don’t recall if I felt relief when dad and the other sibs came home, I do recall being happy to be leaving the bushes and going into the house. Perhaps this was the beginning of my life as a loner, perhaps I would’ve been a loner regardless. I did eventually make friends with some kids my age in the new neighborhood, as well as “school friends” when I began my formal education in kindergarten the next year.

Whatever the reason for being a loner, that is what I am, almost always happier with my own company than I am in a crowd (and now with Corona, I have an excellent reason to avoid large (or small) groups of humans, happiness is…) There are exceptions, having “Dunch” with one or both of my kids, and golfing with my son are two of the very few. I rarely attend family gatherings and while I spent ten years attending a “steak dinner” fund raiser at the local firehouse the first Thursday of the month with old friends, Covid cancelled that nearly two years ago and even though the dinners have begun again, the idea of spending an hour and a half in a room chock full of people, none wearing masks because we’re all eating, is not an attractive evening out. Besides, I was looking for a reason to blow the dinners off even before Covid. No offense guys (almost all the steak diners are men) but being jammed into a large room full of people after working in the food and beverage business for the previous 9 – 10 hours was not nearly as attractive as sitting on my recliner watching TV….alone.

Back to the title: Since my separation in 2006 (and subsequent divorce), I’ve spent all but one Christmas alone, the one I did spend with others was about 5 years ago when I flew to South Carolina to visit my son.

Thinking that there wouldn’t be many people flying on Christmas, especially at 6am, I was shocked to find the airport packed, the flights delayed because of a little snow and being 5 hours late to Myrtle Beach. My son missed me at the airport, I was not carrying a cellphone, couldn’t find a payphone and spent $50.00 for the taxi ride to my hotel, upon arrival at which I was told that A) the pool was closed because of the acidity of the water, B) room service was closed because of the holiday and C) no area restaurants were open for the same reason. I spent Christmas eating crackers and cheese from the vending machine, while watching “The witch, the lion and the wardrobe” (or something like that) on TV, “alone again, naturally”.

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