Sometimes I wonder if it's an actual problem that I enjoy being alone so much, or if it's just the society I live in telling me it's a problem.
I recently read an op-ed in the Seattle Times by this young woman talking about Facebook and basically how it sucks (and this hypocrite agrees) because, for example, when she imagines her dream-success, the first thing she can imagine herself doing is posting it on Facebook to let everyone know.
Sometimes I wonder how many people would do anything if they couldn't brag about it to their friends. Most people I know aren't very motivated by their own chutzpah. And I feel this to an extent, as well. I have a Facebook, and don't want to get rid of it because I have, for example, a good Taiwanese friend I can't contact any other way but snail mail, which is fine, but ungodly slow.
So I use it to post opinion essays, to inspire debate, I tell myself, and I post pictures of my mountain odysseys, to inspire friends to come with next time, I tell myself. But, admit it, I take a bit of an interest in seeing what people will say.
Nonetheless, I enjoy being by myself so much more. Just today, I got a haircut, but because I don't have a usable car for myself (it's a long story) my dad dropped me off there, and just for an excuse to be alone, I told him to go home and I'd walk home, about 4 miles, probably.
And after my haircut, I went to Starbucks, got a coffee and enjoyed it over the Economist.
Then I walked home through the dark, forested gulch, and that was the best part. The misty night gave it a romantic feeling of mystery, though the romance was spoiled by knowing that the light I walked by, the light reflecting off the clouds, was all just light pollution.
And I talked and gesticulated to myself. For some reason, talking to yourself is supposed to be such a bad thing, unhealthy or something. I love it.
Over the summer I relished the days when I could get up at 4:45, brew some coffee, grab my backpack and bop off, enjoying watching the alpenglow of first sunrise glinting on the mountaintops as I sipped my coffee and admired the mountains and the clouds, hoping the latter would clear up some.
Then they wouldn't clear much, but that was fine, a little drizzle honestly adds a brilliant ambiance, and I'd use my headlamp as I walked up through the trees, discarding both the light and the raincoat as the day lightened and cleared, then I found my way to interesting places unvisited by others of humanity that particular day.
Well, that particular thingy was one particular trip, when I did one of Washington's most vertically arduous trails, the Mount Pugh trail, that gains a vertical mile. See, if I was hiking with other people, I might tire of the several hours of brisk walking up the forested flanks of the mountain, but by myself I relished the time to think.
Then, later, in exposure and slick rock up top, I relished the challenge and my ability to overcome it by myself.
And the whole day, I talk to myself in terms of "you", explaining to myself the mysteries of the world as I understand them in my infinite wisdom.
And somehow, it seems perfectly healthy.
I'm thinking, probably, of spending some nights outside here by myself, just grab a sleeping bag, find a gulch, curl up with a book and a thermos of coffee and enjoy the night and solitude. Maybe next weekend, we're skiing for MLK weekend, I'll tell you all how that goes.
Because, honestly, a lot of my "friends", though by no means all, are just sorta people to hang out with. And just that. They're fun to hang out with, but they're the kind of people who are just unsure why they're alive.
People I sorta hang out with because they're there, because my books and Economists aren't enough to occupy me for all the hours of school all the time...
I dunno though, because I've never tried: how would I get along with a longer period spent alone? I'm thinking of this summer of doing something like this by myself:
And I've enjoyed it to no end when I spend a whole day by myself in a beautiful place. But what about a few days, or like Chris McCandless, months?
There are people who's company I truly enjoy in a deeper sense, such as the friends I'm thinking of taking along on the PCT this summer...
Time will tell.
On a slightly unrelated note, my life agonizes me sometimes. Sometimes I'm pretty happy, if still looking more forward to the future.
But sometimes I become miserable. Sometimes I look at the beautiful day outside and me sitting in the machine-ventilated box with artificial, nasty fluorescent lights, and become tortured.
People say "you have your whole life ahead of you", but who the fuck knows how long that is?
I take good care of my health, I think, I eat about as well as I can in a house that buys crappy food, and exercise just as much as I can working a job and with schoolwork.
But you never know. Though I feel great after exercising, I also have constant gut pain that gets worse especially when bike riding or worrying.
Sometimes I worry about the pain, which then just makes the pain worse, of course.
Just a few days ago, we watched our obligatory AIDS video from the 90's, you know, where they don't even mention gay people can get it despite gay men being at far the highest risk, then have stupid phrases like "get drunk, get stupid, get AIDS".
People laughed at that, but I have a hard time laughing at anything about AIDS, as much as I sometimes make irreverent jokes.
During the video I started worrying, what if I have HIV? After all, I let someone I didn't really know fuck me in the ass without a condom a year and a half ago.
Sure, I realize the chances are low. First of all, I believed him when he said he'd never had sex before, honestly, because he seemed awed by what just happened. And, of course, for me to have HIV, first he would've had to have sex with someone else without a condom, a person who had HIV, and, though most people don't know this, the risk of transmission for HIV, even for anal sex, is pretty low.
2%, they reckon, per ride, if you're taking it up the tailpipe without slipping on the glove first. So he had to be in the 2%.
Then, I had to be in that 2%.
And then, the test I took 3 months and 2 weeks later must have been one of the very rare false negatives seen after 3 months.
Nevertheless, I worried. I know that ~60% of your T cells, the kind HIV loves, are in your gut, which is part of the reason the thing is so hard to kill: it takes up residence in your gut and the drugs can't get it there effectively.
But one of the early symptoms of the thing is gastrointestinal distress, so isn't that suspicious? That just made me worry more, which, of course, made the pain worse.
Luckily, I'm not in the position I could've been in, when last summer he was fishing for sex again, and based on how he's acting, I'm guessing this would not be his second time, and based on how he's always been, definitely not just his second without a condom.
I was tempted, but remembering the months of torture, I resisted.
And yet still, when I haven't had sex to speak of since more than 3 months before my last negative test, I worry about the possibilities, just imagining, knowing, in my gut you might say, that I am that rare one who's facing a life of hopelessness.
Which is what tortures me: if I die before graduating high school, my life will have been nothing but just a wasted piece of shit, rotting in the soulless public school system.
I like learning stuff, I really do, just interesting stuff, and maybe after I've lived a little first.
And the yin-yang continues: I'm tired all the time, could that not be a symptom of something bad? (I worry about a lot more than HIV)
Or it could be because I really don't sleep nearly enough.
And also, my physical strength is pretty great. I can handle an hour and a half of balls-to-the-wall tough riding up and down steep hills and come out feeling great. I've never seen the slightest bit of evidence that my physical strength or endurance is the least bit negatively effected by any potential illness.
But then again, loss of strength is usually one of the latter symptoms, when the body can no longer adequately defend itself and starts to fail.
Sure, but wouldn't I notice something? And aren't I too young for something like rectal cancer? They don't even screen for that until you're 50.
Yeah, but you've heard of plenty of cases of people dying of it before they're 40. Sure, Wikipedia might tell you the number of cases under 50 in Norway can be counted on your fingers, but statistics are misleading. Only 1 reported case in an individual under 18 is one dead unfortunate, no one knows who it could be.