And then I mean not being alone behind that desk at the place of work my employer gave me.
There I’m never alone. Anyone can come in by just knocking the door. And it happens.
And often there are more people in that same room working on their own desks. But even when they are not there, and when doors are not knocked, I’m not alone. There is an agenda looming. Requesting me to be present at one or the other meeting that same day. The days are constantly broken. I’m never alone there. I like my colleagues and my students, but often i would like to be alone.
It sounds crazy but i feel more alone in a morning or evening train. Disregarding the discomforts of travelling piled up with 15 people in one compartiment. There is more freedom than being at work.
I’m even more alone in a subway. In the morning train i recognize many faces and they recognize mine. No such thing in the subway.
The subway is also better than most walks through nature. On a walk I sometimes feel obliged to say hello to other people who want to be alone. And when i want to be alone, i don’t want to say hello. I want nature completely for myself. This is not too difficult. I know many places where nobody ever comes.
The freedom of being alone in my own house, of course, tops everything. But that freedom is rare. Only during working hours on schooldays this happens. I love my wife and my children, but often I want to be alone.
I see now that the semantics om my being alone come close to being anonymous and close to being absolutely free. It also means no surveillance, even if unintended.
In the subway, there are many many other people, but they are anonymous, there is no obligation to respond – and if there is contact, that contact is often very warm and surprising, and not intrusive. (where do i take the subway i hear you – but when i really think about those moments (rare they are) of contact, it is really like that)
I really hate it when people ask me what I’m doing. I don’t have any problem telling them what i have done, what i intend to do next and how i think that i will do it. But I don’t like to let them inside the process of ‘doing’.
Their past comments have … made me very aware that they don’t understand my way of doing things. They don’t even want to know my way of doing things. When they ask me what i’m doing, the next phrase is usually how they would do it, and how they disapprove of the way i do it. There are 100 ways of doing the dishes. I will get the work done, and in time, trust me!!! And now, please leave me alone!
Contact at work is never warm and seldom surprising. Most of the time it is obligatory and intrusive (warm: wow, we made contact / surpising: I love your creative angle on this matter / intrusive = what are you doing / obligatory: i pay you, you owe me to rapport on how you are spending your time).
Contact at home is often only lukewarm and rarely surprising. It is often intrusive.
Yes, people are interested in me, and show their interest often in a positive way.
But when they are around me I can barely write things like this short text.
The slightest expression of disapprovement, touches my antennae and gone is the creative focus!
Then there is no time to figure out things, to analyze things, to analyze self, to be with self and to be with Self, to be Self, or just TO BE!
There is no time for concentration. No time for logical analysis. There is no time for freedom of deep thought. There is no creativity. There is no time for silence and intuition. There is no peace.
So – really – maybe i don’t need to be alone, but i need to feel a complete freedom of expression in my heart, the freedom not to be disapproved of, the freedom to let me make my own mistakes, so i can learn from them in a proper way.
I need small pieces daily, and big chunks weekly. But big chunks daily would be better 🙂
The small pieces can be found in nature, or in the subway, or walking anonymously through town.
But the big chunks often require a computer inside a building closed off from rain, snow or heat. So that the creative process has more than only memory to build upon. And yes, then i can also think outloud and listen to my thoughts with my own ears, without anybody looking at me and thinking ‘what a weirdo’.
Photo Credit: Galio Flickr – No real name given – some rights reserved, creative commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic