Monday, December 06, 2010


I've always been drawn to the life of a hermit. I used to fantasize about living in a cave or cabin in the mountains with just myself and the animals to keep me company. Living day to day, off the land, with no contact with another human being.

As I aged this fantasy moved into the background, especially as I attended college and began working in the corporate world. The idea of living a quiet and peaceful life away from other humans was always there but it became less important as I tried to fit into the world around me. When I met and married PeterC I thought I had finally left that childhood fantasy behind for good.

Many years and miles later, the fantasy is just a fond memory but the personality that spawned it is alive and well. I'm not into crowds and get stressed if I am in a group of more than one or two people, even if they are friends. This weekend really brought this fact home to me.

PeterC and I were entertaining a friend of his from the horse world. A fellow horse lover, a professional farm manager, and and up and coming horse trainer. He drove all the way from New England to visit us for the day. He is a nice young man and quite intelligent even if our, his and my own, interests are in different areas of life. By all accounts he is a pleasure to be around, for a little while.

We took him out for breakfast and I truly enjoyed chatting but after a hour I found myself fidgeting. Nothing unusual there as I usually start fidgeting when at a restaurant and our meal is finished. We chatted a little longer and I suggested we head out. We went home, fired up the wood stove, and chatted some more. The whole time I kept hoping PeterC would take him out to see the horses and show him some of the Parelli training he has been working with.

Being the polite host PeterC was waiting for our guest to indicate that he wanted to go see the horses, which he never did. So around supper time I suggested we go out to eat, as we had originally planned. We all agreed and headed into town for a nice sit down and eat meal where we enjoyed the food and the company for quite some time. As the restaurant got busier it became harder and harder to talk so I suggested we leave, and back home we went.

PeterC and his friend settled in to chat but I found myself getting more and more tense. I chewed all my fingernails down until they bled, something I haven't done since I became a stay at home wife and online business owner. The noise of the cats and dogs, the fans, and even the crackle of the wood stove irritated me tremendously. When the conversation reverted back to the horses and Parreli I told them to go to the barn and see the horses. Thankfully they did with no complaints.

My relief was almost immediate when they left. It was as if an enormous pressure had been lifted from my head and shoulders. Even my ears felt lighter and less tense. The cats and dogs seemed silent and I was able to relax in the peace and quiet of my arm chair. Eventually I turned on the boob tube, melted into the monotanous tones of the pablum they spill out on most TV shows, and began to think.

I came to realize that I am, and most likely will be for the rest of my life, a very solitary person. I enjoy being with other people only in controlled doses. Even PeterC, whom I consider my soul mate, can only be tolerated for a few hours at a time. With him though, working in my studio or on another floor of the house is enough to keep the stress and tenseness at bay. But I also know, from hard experience, that I don't like being completely human contact free for more than 2 or 3 days. Specifically I don't like being PeterC free for more than 2 or 3 days.

So instead of a hermit living alone I know I want to be more like Grizzly Adams, from the old 1970's TV series. I want a cabin in the woods with my animal companions, but a close friendship with one or two other people who are also of a solitary bent, and who don't over stay their welcome. Maybe I could attend the local fall festival for a few hours just to get any cabin fever under control, then happily retire to my cabin in the woods for another year.


Me said...

OMGosh, I could SO live without the noise and constant irritation of other people OR noise. There was a guy on tv who was trying to make it 50 days in the wilderness and totally cracked up, crying into his camera, etc. about how lonely he was (after about 10 days or less). I could not understand that at all. I believe I could be a hermit, no problem. I'm a librarian, and even sometimes that is too noisy!!

Felix said...

I can relate to your feelings. I still think of myeslf as mostly a hermit, i don't have friends and don't like to talk too much with people, most people aren't willing to carry an intelligent conversation anyways. cabin in the woods is defintely a dream of mine as well and i'm moving towards that, the day will come. thank you for the post.