I spent a good chunk of the morning and afternoon soaked in brake fluid, gear oil, and sweat. I wanted to tell you about that mainly because it makes me sound awesome. I’m not especially mechanically inclined, but I am fairly cheap, and I won’t deny that working on my motorcycle1 makes me feel like a stud.

No, actually it makes me feel like a petulant child about 80% of the time — please, please can’t you just work this time? Pretty please? — but the other 20% is great.

My neighbor, one of the frequent sunbathers I mentioned recently, happened by while I was working and introduced himself. Always nice to actually talk to a guy like that.2 I don’t mean because Golly gee, he’s talking to meeee!, but because any kind of human contact with The Envied tends to very quickly deflate the stories I sometimes tell myself about them. Later on I knocked on his door to ask for a quick hand with the job I was doing, so that makes a nice inroad to neighborliness.

Took the newly-functional bike to the Adoration chapel3 and then to Denny’s, where I sat for the next four hours doing some long-distance work for an old client from my freelancing days. Quickly came to the realization that I had no steam left for the bonfire I was invited to tonight.

Once I would have forced myself to go because (1) YOU HAVE TO BE SOCIAL and (2) WHAT ARE YOU, SCARED OF PEOPLE?, but between the physical and mental work of the day and the fact that I seem to have thrown my back out yet again, I just didn’t want to do anything besides go home and blog.

It’s much easier to be by yourself on a Saturday night if it’s by choice and not by accident. Otherwise the shadows start swarming: You have no friends, Nobody likes you anyway, You’re going to die alone surrounded by Taco Bell wrappers, etc., etc. None of those things are true, of course, but they sound true occasionally, if you give them an ear. The trick being never to give them an ear.

So, if you are alone tonight, cheers. If it’s by choice, good for you for not feeling like you have to do something just because you’re expected to. If it’s not, then you’re probably going to die alone, but maybe not for a few years yet!4 No, but seriously: don’t listen to the shadows. Just say some prayers and then go read a book, write a letter, call a friend, and try to remember that all of the fun times people look like they’re having on facebook account for about 1% of their weekends.

The other 99% are filled with Taco Bell and nameless angst.

1 See how I just worked that in like it weren’t nothin’? It’s a recent acquisition, my first bike, a little older than I am, and very wonderful all around, but it keeps breaking.
2 Where “like that” means “muscle-y and extremely good-looking.”
3 Who doesn’t think Catholics on bikes are doubly awesome?
4 Although you really should have a doctor take a look at that lump.

14 thoughts on “The Chalupa of Loneliness

  1. Kevin

    Long time reader, first time commenter (commentator?).

    Love your blog, dude. Have had it bookmarked since it went public, and it’s been the perfect blend of humor, Catholicism, and frankness that I need right now.

    Please keep it up for an indefinite period of time!

    Reply
  2. Hannah C.

    I love this post. Especially the part about the fun times on Facebook only accounting for 1% of people’s weekends. Your point about getting to know The Envied is so, so true as well – so far it’s always been my experience that the more I get to know a person, the more I see how they’re actually not nearly as (insert something I wish I was) here…

    Reply
  3. MhariDubh

    Oh Lord, how I relate to this. Except for me, it’s gonna be Diet Coke cans.

    I really enjoy the tone of your blog as well as the topics you write about.

    Reply
  4. Tony

    Went out to a social gathering tonight, but now I’m back at home working on massive amounts of homework for my summer classes (well right now reading your blog). But i totally understand the point here. I try to embrace my nights alone, even if they’re filled with Ramen and Family Guy re-runs.

    Reply
  5. Dante

    “…soaked in brake fluid, gear oil, and sweat…” geez bro you trying to turn me on? Ha ha. GREAT post as usual.

    Reply
  6. Boatman B.

    Steve — how do you know whether you’re talking to the muscle-y extremely good looking guy because he’s muscle-y and extremely good looking or because it’s nice to meet a neighbor?

    I’m always second-guessing myself about the men I choose for friends. When I look around myself, I notice that they’re all rather good looking, and most of them are pretty well-built. Am I just assembling a collection?

    Is this something you ever worry about, or am I just wool-gathering?

    Also, I really liked the language you used to talk about loneliness — the “shadows gathering” and what-not. It reminded me — in a good way — of the scene from the film “Ghost,” where the shadowy, demon-like things drag the soul of the bad guy to hell.

    Feel free to reply to my email address if you’d rather not post public responses here.

    Reply
    1. Steve Gershom

      Boatman,

      I don’t have any definite guidelines about it, I guess. I usually just do my best to keep that kind of thing from driving me crazy — I mean, it’s the kind of thing I could analyze to death and still not be any better for it at the end. Even if you do surround yourself with good-looking guys, I think the question is whether you enjoy their company and whether they enjoy yours.

      About my neighbor — since it was just a friendly exchange and nothing in particular “clicked”, I think I’d start to suspect my motives if I started pushing hard for a friendship. In the past I’ve found myself trying to sort of create a friendship ex nihilo even though I had nothing in common with the guy, just because I felt like I needed him somehow. Bad scene.

      Feel free to email me, too. I’m generally better about emails than about comments.

      SG

      Reply
  7. Gregg

    Dude, I came across your blog a few days ago and i’m in the process of reading it oldest to newest so this is currently where i’m at. I love it. I’m an Eastern Orthodox 20 something in the exact same boat as you and it’s so awesome to read this and see my own experiences just articulated in a cleverer manner. I particularly wanted to say the footnotes are awesome and that i totally can relate to getting to know a guy as one of the best ways of keeping/stopping them from being an object of desire. Some of my best friends are good looking guys who in other contexts i might be attracted to but since they’re just my bro’s that wedge of satan is kept at bay. Sometimes the guys who are the best for you as friends and confidence boosters are the guys satan wants to use unholy desire to distort, thank God we’ve got an awesome God. *Circular logic?* I’m so stoaked to keep reading! Thanks

    Reply

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