March 2nd, 2004

fiber_optic

loners

Isaac Newton. Michelangelo. Anne Rice. Barry Bonds. Haruki Murakami. They and countless others belong to a subculture that will never join hands, a group whose voices, by nature, will never form a chorus. They are loners—and they have at least one thing in common: They keep to themselves. And they like it that way.

Self-reliant, each loner swims alone through a social world—a world of teams, troops and groups—that scorns and misunderstands those who stand apart. Everywhere from newspapers to playgrounds, loners are accused of being crazy, cold, stuck-up, standoffish, selfish, sad, bad, secretive and lonely—and, of course, serial killers. Loners, however, know better than anyone how to entertain themselves—and how to contemplate and to create. They have a knack for imagination, concentration, inner discipline, and invention—a talent for not being bored.

Too often, loners buy into society’s messages and strive to change, making themselves miserable in the process by hiding their true nature—and hiding from it.

-- anneli rufus from "Party of One: A Loners' Manifesto"
  • Current Music
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fiber_optic

On Friendship

Nonloners have a set of rules by which friendship is played. Dry your tears. End your fears. Give you hope. Help you cope. Loners play by a different set of rules. Ours is a smaller set. A simpler set. A purer set. Critics would call it rudimentary, unreasonable, skewed. The do not understand that what we have to give is not what always what others have to give.

We care. We feel. We think. We do not always miss the absent one. We cannot always come when called. Being friends with a loner requires patience and wisdom that distance does not mean dislike.

Troubles always ensue when assumptions clash, when expectations do not match. Nonloners who wish to be our friends --- and they do, it happens all the time --- arrive assuming that their rule book is the only rule book. We are aware of their rules, just as immigrants come to recognize words in the languages of their adopted nations, yet speak their own languages at home. We are aware of their needs. Their idea of fun, their entreaties, their sense of time and how much is enough --- these are all to familiar. Not sharing them makes us outlaws and , before we know it, we are being callled bad friends.

...

For loners, friends are all the more essential because in many cases they are our sole conduits to the outside world. They are channels, filters, valves, rivers from the outback to the sea. When we find good ones, we pour ourselves into them.

...

It is all too easy for loners to forget how many of us there are, out there, somewhere. We generally will not meet each other, will not recognize each other and rush over, bubbling, urging each other to meet all of our other friends. Friends do not come easily to us. Too often we can be fooled into believing we do not have "enough" of them: that this reflects, as the outside world would have it, harshly on us. Or we can be fooled into believing that if we are too picky, we do not deserve for our search to end. It does. Or we can be misled into thinking that company, just a bit, betrays our true identitiy as loners. It does not. Not if she makes you laugh. Not if she always know when it is time to go.


--- Anneli Rufus from "Party Of One: The Loners' Manifesto"
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