A year alone

It’s been just over a year since I left the office to work from home. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of buying my home. I have spent every day here for 51 weeks since I moved in usually all day every day. Except for store trips the only times I’ve been away for more than a couple hours have been five times working at the office because of power or internet failures at home and a day trip 200 miles away last summer for a wedding, the only time I’ve left the county in 15 months.

It has been a very trying year. I’ve talked to very few people this year. Over the past four or so months we’ve had thanksgiving and Christmas and I had a birthday. For each occasion I received four or maybe five texts. But nothing more than merry Christmas or happy birthday. No calls. No inquiry about how I’m doing. I don’t remember the last time I had a phone conversation that wasn’t work related, and there aren’t many of those.

There’s a lot I think about. I so wish there was someone to talk to but what would I say? There are so many out there in the same situation. Why would my issues be any more pressing than anyone else’s?

It is embarrassing that loneliness has such a hold on me. In general I’m in decent health. I have a job. I have a home. There are so many people over the past year who have lost those things; are mourning the loss of family or friends. So many are struggling and I’m crying because no one wants to talk to me. But I can’t even tell anyone I miss conversation, touch, the chance at love. No one has time to listen to someone whining, and I’d never subject anyone to it anyway. I leave that for here.

I noticed something recently while watching a video of a quarantine show David Gilmour and family have been doing. He is the Pink Floyd guitarist. His wife is a successful writer. They’ve been married 25 or so years and she still looks at him like they have just started dating. I wish I had something like that. But I can’t even draw a single look. My time for love seems to have passed. Friendship too maybe.

I have thoughts, frequently common thoughts. Thoughts that I will never be anything but alone the rest of my life. What do I have to offer anyone? I’m just an old man. While I am in decent health right now I do have some issues. No one deserves to be saddled with taking care of me down the road. I don’t expect that anyway.

I’ll go back to my alone thoughts and my alone time. I’ve gotten good at it. It’s all I have.

Long-haul quarantine

Well, close to it. It actually will be next week for the one-year anniversary. I brought my computer home with me when I left work last March 19. I’ve been back four times since (once when I lost electricity at home, three times when internet was down). It was one year ago yesterday when I last got my hair cut. Three days later was my last time to eat in a restaurant. I’ve had some drive-thru burgers occasionally since but no sit-down-in-a-restaurant meals. I shaved clean the first week of April and have only trimmed once. My beard isn’t ZZ Top length but it is longer and fuller than anything I’ve ever had before. I’m looking like a mountain man of sorts, but it’s not like anyone sees me. Even on the rare occasions I’m out since I’m masked up then. I’m sure it will be awhile before I can get vaccinated either.

But other things haven’t changed. I spend nearly all of my time alone. I don’t go anywhere except the store once or twice a week, amounting to 60-90 minutes total. I talk to no one and see no one. My only “conversations” are with my cat or Siri. Neither are two-way though. I rarely if ever hear from anyone anymore. Christmas? A couple of texts but nothing much to them. Birthday? The same. Not even a phone call from anyone. For that matter I don’t remember the last time I had a phone call that wasn’t work related or spam. Seeing anyone? Not a chance.

Maybe alone is what I’m meant to be. I’m slowly getting used to it. It’s not like anyone is burning up my phone to see or talk to me. I don’t bother anyone either. That’s the way others want it it seems. I think a lot about where I am, where I’m going, all the while knowing the journey will be solo. A quarantine for the long haul.

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Shocked and saddened

I was working tonight when the phone rang. A rare occurrence. It was a co-worker. ‘Me and [the supervisor] are trying to call everyone before the boss sends an email later.” Uh,oh. That can only mean bad news. Layoffs, firings, who knows. “C died this afternoon.” WTH? C is a co-worker in our department. She is not the one I’d have expected to get that news about. 23, maybe 24. Petite girl who seemed healthy. Happy, kind, hard worker. Well-liked and respected by co-workers and supervisors. Such sad news.

I don’t know the cause. It wasn’t COVID but it was a health condition, he said. But the circumstances is what struck me. She didn’t clock in or log on for work Monday. After awhile people started checking on her but couldn’t reach her. One of the top bosses found a number for her parents in a town a few hours away. They got in touch with a friend, maybe roommate or former one, who went to check on her and found her unresponsive.

I’ve often thought that will be my fate. Finish work Friday night, something happens over the weekend, no one knows until I don’t log in Monday. Some conversations on slack at the end of the night had the supervisor proposing we provide a friend or neighbor they could call in an emergency. I have no one. I’ve met a couple of my neighbors but don’t see them. I’ve talked to the guy across the street, a roofer, about maybe getting gutters on my house. I’ve never once seen his wife although he has talked about her before. I’ve never seen the woman next door to me. I met her sons, ages about 8-12, about a month ago when they were out raking and I brought out my leaf blower to help them a bit. I met a couple who live down the hill behind me about 10 days or so ago. They drove past when I was at the mailbox. As they turned onto their street he stopped and hollered “welcome to the neighborhood.” I told him I’ve been here since April. He didn’t realize anyone was living here since the house had been vacant for so long (years, I found out a few months ago). He thought I was just working on it.

So yeah, this aloneness and loneliness can weigh on me. my youngest sibling called me on thanksgiving. I never heard from anyone at Christmas or any other time. The times these past few months I’ve reached out to people I’ve been ignored mostly. So I don’t bother people. But I miss contact. So many nights I sit here thinking I wish there was someone to talk to about even how my day went, or what’s going on in the world, sports, music, tv shows, whatever. Instead I talk to my cat. She warbles and grunts back.

It was a sad night. Just another thing to process on my own.

The stolen year

I have never gone through a year quite like last year. Not only the pandemic, but what it has done to us. I have never experienced such loneliness. It’s bad when the only conversations you have are with Siri and your cat, neither of which provide much feedback.

I came to realize alone is how my life is and likely is going to be. I see no one because no one wants to see me. I talk to no one because no one wants to talk to me. The call list on my phone is almost exclusively work-related and short, someone needing to inform me about something or me needing to find out something. Personal calls? Very few. My youngest brother called me on Thanksgiving. I don’t hear from anyone else. I spent Thanksgiving alone, without hearing from anyone. I spent Christmas alone, hearing from no one. I sent some friends birthday greetings during the year. I would either get a one-word “Thanks” in reply or, in a couple cases, no acknowledgement at all. So I no longer bother people. That includes here, where I no longer comment on people’s posts because they aren’t welcome. I finally learned after several years of rejection that I’m probably not going to find love again. So sadly I have dying alone to look forward to. Maybe it will be soon. I don’t welcome 20 or 30 more years like this. Whenever it is, it won’t make a ripple.

This year is killing me

I’m living the life I deserve but I wish it would just get over with. I’m tired, depressed, lonely, hopeless. I don’t see or talk to anyone. I accept that’s probably my fault. Sad to realize my being will have no effect on anyone and no one will even notice when I’m no longer around. Such a waste.

Everything seems so much harder. Work is just so draining. I shut down the computer at midnight but I can’t do the same with my mind. Most nights I take a midnight walk of about two miles, but it’s just another opportunity to think about what’s going on — or more precisely not — in my life. And there’s no way to let it out. I’m just some old man of no importance. My thoughts, worries, fears, dreams matter not. After my walk I may watch a little tv but lots of times I just sit here feeling the weight crushing me. I wish there was someone to talk to, but then I think, What would I even talk about? My life is void of any substance.

I have changed these past few years and it’s not for the better. I don’t know how to fix it or even if it can be. Perpetual loneliness has made me believe this is all I can expect the rest of my life. And maybe it is. With the present state of the world chances are next to nil of even meeting anyone.

Maybe I’m not supposed to.

My exciting staycation

I’m finishing up an 11-day break from work. I return Monday afternoon, and by return I mean I turn on the work computer again. I wish I could have gone somewhere, done something meaningful, preferably with someone special. Instead I was home. Alone. Every day. I’d maybe go to the store. A couple times I Went out just driving around, but that really wasn’t much pleasure since temps were in mid-90s and the AC in my car is broken. I took care of a few thingS around the house but maybe not all I could have or should have. I walked the neighborhood, every day. I closed my rings every day which isn’t really something I’m good at doing. And I watched a lot of baseball, since mlb has cranked up its season, even if some of the new rules make it a clown show at times.

But I didn’t see anyone. I’m still missing that immensely. And I’m starting to believe I never will have anyone around again. Why should i? What do I have that anyone wants? I did get a phone call the other day from a co-worker. He has been one of my best friends for nearly 20 years, but job changes don’t allow us to talk much anymore. We hadn’t since early March. I was able to catch up with some stuff he’s got going on in his life, including a blossoming possibly romantic friendship with an old high school classmate. I hope it works out for him. He’s nearing 50 and has always been single because he’s such a workaholic. Or maybe he’s that because he’s single. But I think he’s realizing he’s been missing out. Just as I have. But he has someone apparently interested. I don’t have anyone even willing to talk to me.

I spent so much time cooped up alone with nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to do it with I started doing a lot of thinking. Again. What’s the point of even being here? No one finds me important or useful. I just take up space. My heart is empty. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Staycation

I wish I had the money and a safe destination to get away. I have 11 days off coming up beginning later this week. It originally was going to be about six, but when my days off changed recently some vacation days I had marked suddenly became my weekend so I had to make changes. And as luck had it some other days around it were available. I’ve actually had some rare extended time off the past couple years to get away. This year I’ll be staying home, doing about the same thing I do every day except not turning on the work computer. I’m considering installing a rail that some hooks will fasten to so I can hang some things on the garage wall — rake, shovels, broom, weed eater. A place for them instead of stacked in a corner. But it doesn’t take a vacation to do that.

I did have to work from the office one day last week. A storm knocked out power at my house — and about 4,000 others nearby. It happened about 1;30 pm. I loaded up my computer and a frozen dinner about 4:05 and headed to the office. Naturally power was restored about 4:45. But me and a co-worker who also was affected spent the night in the office, my first since March 19. We’re still in no rush to return there as a group. It was weird talking to someone — actually speaking, not slack messages or emails.

I’m still just as alone as always. Last week I went to the store on Sunday and never got in the car again until stormy Thursday. I do some late-night walking in the neighborhood, usually about 1.2-1.5 miles after I finish work about midnight. I miss having someone to walk with. But I miss having someone to do anything with. I have no one calling, even just to make sure I’m still alive. I can only imagine about my 11 days away. I won’t be thought of I’m sure. I almost broke down and got back on a dating site, but I know how that would go and don’t need to pile on needlessly. They have let me know for 5 years I’m unworthy of being with someone.

I was thinking about how my life has changed these past couple years. I look back at some photos — me with some people or me alone 2-3 years ago vs. me alone now (because there is no one with me ever now). I really see the transformation of what this depression and isolation have done to me. And I honestly can’t blame anyone for ignoring me. There’s no joy, no happiness. I’m right where I belong and deserve to be. I need to learn to accept it and quit chasing this ridiculous fantasy.

New weekend, same result

So for the first time in my adult life I have a weekend. The same one most people have. Starting last week my off days became Saturday and Sunday. I have been Tuesday and Wednesday since I transferred to this position in late summer 2015. But what has changed? Nothing really. I just don’t turn my work computer on a couple different days than I used to. But I’m still stuck here at home alone, no one to see, or talk to, or hang out with. Just me inside my house, doing the same nothing I do every day.

Well I’m changing it up a little tonight, writing this while sitting on my deck. I did some garage organizing yesterday and found my bag chairs. This I s something I’ve not done in more than five years, dating back to the last time I owned a house and we’d sometimes sit out on the deck late at night, talking, taking in the sounds. So far it’s still some explosions, though not nearly as many as the past two nights. Maybe everyone has finally exhausted their fireworks supplies. I can also tell if I’m going to do this very much I’ll need to get some sort of insect repellent or I’m going to get eaten up.

I was thinking about this constant state of aloneness. I was recalling how one of the girls who used to work at the Watering Hole messaged me a couple months ago to inform me she was serving at a different restaurant these days. I’m not really comfortable yet going to a sit-down place. I see how people act these days (no mask, no distancing) and I don’t want to get caught up in getting or giving a fatal disease. It’s expanding again in my area because people aren’t taking things seriously. I haven’t been to the Watering Hole since mid-February. I was boycotting for awhile because I felt my service wasn’t very good. When I was about ready to return, when big NCAA basketball stuff was about to kick in, everything shut down. They are open, at least for pickup, maybe more. But I haven’t considered a dine-in place since this kicked in. I’ve picked up a pizza a couple times, gone through some burger drive-thrus occasionally. I’m cooking at home more, really for the first time. It may be some frozen stuff, like some burritos or pizza or corn dogs. I have started cooking more though. Making soft tacos, spaghetti, grilled cheese-egg sandwich, other things. I’m no chef, and do miss going out to eat, but I’ve also been glad to do some of this more. Still, it’s hard to cook for one. If I make something like spaghetti or tacos, it’s guaranteed to be worth about four meals.

Anyway, before I got sidetracked with cooking and stuff, I’d mentioned the girl who contacted me. I thought about contacting her recently, but then I got to thinking about things. The fact she contacted me to tell me where she’s working and to come see her and hasn’t tried again in two months tells me it probably wasn’t me she was interested in seeing, but my tip. I backed away from initiating anything because, when I first knew her a year ago, she had a boyfriend. She doesn’t need some old man bugging her if that’s still the case, which it probably is. I’ve thought about that a lot, how nearly every woman I know is involved. They don’t need me bugging them. So I don’t initiate things with people, instead waiting for the call that will never come.

But I see things, things that infuriate me. I was leaving the store yesterday. I was about to back out of my space when another car barreled in to park on the row behind me. A guy gets out, goes to the passenger door, flings it open and tells his companion to “get out of the f*ing car.” She delayed and he told her again, more forcefully. Then they walk up to the store. Besides the display I’d just seen from him I got another clue about how much of an asshole he is. She was wearing a mask; he wasn’t. Yet that is the kind of guy women gravitate to, not the responsible one who wouldn’t dream of treating her that way.

So here I sit on my deck, listening to the neighborhood explosion rate increase, wondering why life has to be so lonely. Is it really a life that way? There is so much I want to talk about, to hear about, hold someone, be held, but no one is interested in my company. I’m certainly not important. So I sit alone. Every night. With only the demons in my head talking , reinforcing my worth. They aren’t good conversation though.

New beginnings, wishful thinking

It has been longer since I’ve left town than I realized. I thought it had been January or February. It actually was November, when my sister took me to see my old eye doctor three hours away to get my cataracts cleaned up. I now see his sister, who has a practice in town. I mention that because I left town Saturday for the first time since November. I made that same three-hour drive for my nephew’s wedding.

They’ve been dating about seven years and are calling this the new beginning. It was a nice, if smaller-than-planned ceremony. Much of her family was kept away because of virus travel restrictions. Some of our family had the same issue. It was nice seeing love, but I felt so lonely. I was definitely in the minority of someone who has no one. I just sat there quietly. I thought about how I would love to have a companion but realize it’s just wishful thinking. A woman looks at me and doesn’t picture the man of her dreams. I actually have seen the disappointment register upon seeing me for the first time. I don’t know why I even went through with the dinner. I knew it was going to end terribly.

I was also thinking about how I’m the family loser at love. My parents were coming up on 56 years of marriage when my father died. My first sister, the mother of Saturday’s groom, last month celebrated 35 years. My other sister I think is at 28 years. My first brother is at 20 or 21 years. My youngest brother just celebrated 15 this month. I’m the one who broke up the perfect run. It was no guarantee I’d even have the opportunity. My entire life I’ve been much more likely to be rejected for a date rather than accepted. That is certainly the case now.

I’m learning though. Quit telling myself that someone will be interested in me. That’s just fantasy. Fantasy is the best I can ever hope for. The reality is I’m always alone and I have no prospect of it ever changing. The time we’re living in doesn’t make it any easier. And every rejection over the past few years has sapped what little hope I had.

I hope my nephew and his wife experience the long-life love of his parents and both sets of grandparents (his paternal are somewhere around 60 years). That’s not wishful thinking.

Later that day

They’re all the same. I looked it up and figured out March 19, a Thursday, was the last time I worked in the office, only because that started my work week and my computer was still there. I loaded it up when I left that night. I’ve been back only once since, about 10days later to replace a faulty keyboard. I’ve been home alone for three months. I go to the grocery or Walmart a couple times a week — masked. Only other times I leave the house are for walks around the neighborhood, alone and more frequently lately late at night, unwinding after my work shift. I see no one. I talk to no one. I am invisible and forgotten. No calls. No texts. No visits. My sister who lives about 90 miles away has been by twice when in town for a combined 90 minutes or so. I had to pick up something from a co-worker a couple weeks ago and we visited about two hours or so. That’s really a rarity these days.

I recently saw a post from a divorced woman who has found her person. It was great to see something like that happen for someone who appears to be a good and deserving person. But at the same time I felt a bit sad. Why doesn’t something like that happen to me? Why do I not meet anyone? Actually I understand it right now. I’m not going anywhere a killer disease can be spread. But there was nearly five years before this quarantine where I met rejection after rejection. I feel like I’m a good person, kind, encouraging. But I’ve had women tell me that’s not the kind of guy women want. Too boring. They want exciting, rugged, a challenge. Anyone but a guy who is going to respect her, won’t beat her up physically, emotionally, etc., is mostly stable, doesn’t live like a pig, pays his bills. In other words, boring. I’m pretty sure there is no person for me. There was one once. I didn’t value it. Now I’m paying the price, a life sentence alone. Just another of the unnoticed, unworthy, invisible masses trying to figure out how and why to plow through each day.

I’m tired. Time for bed, where sleep again will elude me while I beat myself up some more over my pathetic existence.