I need my solitude. Not like I have to climb to the top of a mountain and hide in a cave. Frankly the very idea is slightly repulsive. Not your average nature guy. Not me. But I still need to be alone. Away from the constant chatter of people. Okay, so there it is. Like most people I have a limited tolerance for my fellow man.
Oh, I love humanity well enough – you know the rest. What it comes down to is this. After a while the constant banal chatter becomes like the hum of traffic. Annoying and, when it comes too close, vaguely threatening.
I am particularly aware that I’ve had too much social contact, when I suddenly grow tired of the sound of my own voice. Here I am, droning on once again about this topic or another, sometimes important or mostly trivial, simply because I feel it is socially required of me to respond.
I talk well. Very articulate, me. And sometimes that means I talk a lot. Not my fault – no, really, if other people would shut up so would I. And sometimes I do, I sit and listen – which people really appreciate at first. But try doing it for an hour. Try not talking in a crowded room for an hour, just nod and smile and after a while people will start to think there is something odd. Projections are made – he’s angry, arrogant, crazy. No not actually, but sometimes the constant roar of voices, the endless games of ‘status monkey’ get a little tiresome.
I want my peace and quiet. If you see me at the end of a convention slipping away to find the quiet of my own room, it’s not you, it’s me. Well, it’s a little bit you – after all I have to be running away from someone.
Introvert is the word often applied to writers, especially science fiction writers it seems. I don’t imagine I really am one but after ten solid days of continuous social interaction, I want to scream sometimes SHUT UP! And as often as not I’m the one I’m screaming it at.
Nature abhors a vacuum and a social gathering abhors a silence. So if you see me standing in the corner all by myself, feel free to come up and chat. And if I smile and nod and have nothing to say, please know I’m not rejecting you, I’m not angry (I try to avoid being angry – I don’t like me when I’m angry), I’m mostly tired of the need to relate.
I’ll be quiet now, for a few minutes anyway. Then I’ll go back and join the crowd.
And that’s ten minutes.