Miss Havisham Impersonation

VinothChandar / Foter

I’m not Garbo, but still.

I’m talking about the urge I get every so often to lock up my house and retreat to its recesses, snail in a shell, turtle hunching down. Not go out unless it’s absolutely unavoidable (and with the Internet, why bother to leave at all?) and to withdraw from even written interaction for a while. To take a bath in solitude.

Well, except for the cat. And the dog. And the kids. Pure solitude’s impossible to find unless one retreats to a mountaintop or something.

I read Anthony Storr’s Solitude a while ago, during the fallout from the divorce. It was good to see, in print, a discussion and celebration of being alone that didn’t presuppose one’s crazy to want to immure oneself behind a wall or two for a while.

I wonder, when this mood strikes me, if it’s somehow part of the constellation of weirdness that makes me, or just that I can indulge it because I have the luxury of working from home.

Anyway…I suppose I’m asking: what do you do, dear Reader, when you “just vant to be alone”?

  • Mara

    Very generically, I suppose, I retreat to my room, make a nest out of blankets, and read until I fall asleep. Or not so generically, I go and climb a tree and read until I fall asleep.

  • Denise

    I’m retired so I’m already home too. I just don’t go out when I feel that way. I try and do things differently like making homemade pizza.

  • ellen

    Curl up in my chair or my bed with a laptop, where I am generally considered part of the furniture by cats–somehow the furballs don’t trigger my “go away and leave me alone” issues. If it’s really really bad a motel room, but that’s… I actually have to deal with more people do to that than I do hiding at home.

    My sweetie usually hides out upstairs in his room after work, so I generally have the bottom half of the house to myself. It works.

  • BassoonBob

    For a short time of absolute alone-ness, there’s the bathroom.

  • Rachel

    I go into the bathroom. No one wants anything from you in the bathroom.

  • martianmooncrab

    dont answer the phones.

  • I also work at home, but when I’m feeling pressured or tired, I just want to hide in the haven of my bedroom as much as possible. It feels safe and comforting.

  • Jacey

    As creepy as this sounds, I go to a cemetery at dusk. I live in the middle of Seattle; it’s damn near impossible to escape all human interaction, even living alone. I can still hear the cars, my neighbors TV, the dog in the next building over….. When I lived in BFE, I could just wander out into the woods for some solitude. Not so much anymore. Cemeteries are generally pretty big, and by dusk all other visitors have usually moved on to home and bed or nights out with the living. I can wander into the silence of those at rest and get lost in the possibilities. Think about what this person might have been like, or what that persons grandkids are doing right now. It is very morbidly peaceful.

  • I live in a house with three other adults; my husband and our two adult daughters. I am the sole caregiver of my 85 year old mother. My need to be alone can be hurtful to the three people I love so I carved out a time from 3 and 5 a.m. to rise and write and read. It is as close to heaven as I’ll probably ever come.

  • Man I am struggling with this a lot right now. I lived alone for a long time and I absolutely loved it. I’ve now been married for ten years and we’ve been living together for almost twelve. I tend to command the extra room that is the office for alone time but sometimes that isn’t quite enough. I go to a women’s retreat once or twice a year it’s only a weekend but I don’t really participate in the retreat activities I just stay in my lovely little room by myself and read and write and sink into the solitude.

  • My alone time used to come in the form of a car ride to and from work. as it says in the Supertramp song, I’d often take the long way home. This week I find myself suddenly and unintentionally unemployed,dap in addition to many other things I have to figure out where my alone time will come into the new picture.

  • Colleen

    I am just the opposite. For the past 6 months I have been living alone, for the first time in my life. It is very difficult to get used to being alone, just me. On the other hand I thought I knew myself pretty well but being alone is a new journey and one that I didn’t expect. I find I now have to seek out “not alone” time or I turn into the crazy animal lady who has long converstations with her dog.

  • I read to be alone. When involved in a book, I shut out the rest of the world. If that doesn’t work, I go for a drive in the countryside. Last resort (or if on a short-time frame) I go hide in the bathroom (with a book and a drink) and take a bath until the water is cold.

    I prefer being alone. I love my husband and kids, and I know they love me, but they are always there, expecting things of me, expecting my attention and wanting to share things with me. And I love being with them and talking with them, but having people around all the time is draining and exhausting. Solitude is a blessed relief and I relish it.

  • sunnynikki

    I camp. I head into the mountains to hike and sleep in a tent. I avoid people as much as I can and just enjoy the solitude of nature.