Monday, March 12, 2018

The New Hermit

This is the legendary individual who lives in social and often physical isolation and today we often refer to these people as "off the grid" as it is an optional way of life that is not necessarily associated with a cult or some religious association.  You know Branch Davidian Amish only less with the crazy and the outfits.

But most are Misanthropes, people who don't like people and I fall fairly into that category.  I like to have limited conversations and a laugh and then go home and watch TV and cook or read or listen to music.  Anything that I find fulfills me intellectually or emotionally.  And yes I read the The New York Times daily and have it delivered and peruse The Guardian and The Washington Post, both of which I pay for the privilege. I read comment pages and even comment knowing that opens the door to the hate response and in turn may elect to simply block that person or respond in a snarky manner.  Twitter is where I simply pronounce, promote the blog and once in awhile talk about the current show on my TV.  Politics I may comment on but more just as a rant and nothing more.  It is cheaper than therapy.

As I went to my favorite coffee shop, Barista Parlor, to read my Sunday Times I realized that my once favorite section, the Opinion pages, have been relegated to the bottom of the pile of must read first.  This is due to the infusion of largely Libertarian and Conservative voices they have added to lend perspective and draw readers.  Guess what? Those idiots are not reading the Times regardless of Brett Stephens verbal rants and dismissive's (as that is what they are contemptuous, supercilious and punctilious (he is not the only one who can use multi syllabic words to be pretentious).  He reminds me of  Al Sharpton  only boring.

When I found out that Barri Weiss was not just a columnist but an Editor that explained the sudden onslaught of odd columnists and writers that frankly are not that interesting to be included in said pages to the point I simply no longer even read them.  I have long been dismissive of a benign but boring read - Margaret Renkyl, from here in Nashville.  I am utterly mystified how this woman got a gig as an opinion writer in the beloved Times.  And while I am a great advocate of reading/hearing others perspectives I go to the source - The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, The Economist. They offer both Libertarian and Conservative perspectives and if I wanted to read them regularly I would subscribe.   I think Ms. Weiss is too young to be an Editor and I have no problem with her views but she is not experienced nor frankly old enough to be a name on the  masthead.

So now I read the Styles pages first (which lack of course the fine photo essays of Bill Cunningham and they have found no one to really replace that iconic portion.  Although oddly they have added Roxanne Gay as an advice columnist after a brief attempt at penning columns for the Opinion pages  which did not surprise me did not work out.  But she has lent a new voice although she is not a consistent presence, it seems that both sections are a work in progress.   But yesterday they had a fascinating portrait on a Gentleman who has moved back to his home state, Ohio, and in turn chosen to have a ban on all news and information.  He takes Curmudgeon and Hermit to new heights -  a Curmit -  although he does have interactions with others much like I do; He goes to the local coffee shop, speaks to his family and is working on restoring a lake the result of an abandoned mine..  This is the amazing part of his vision and his chosen life,  to find a project that brings meaning.  And that is what being a wealthy white male can do, the choice to live alone, in isolation with enough resources in which to live and in turn find a project, hobby or pursuit that requires a significant investment of both time and money. 

I would love to have that choice to decide how to spend my days with no worries or no reality interfering in my daily life.  It was part of the reason I moved to Nashville,  I thought it would be cheaper, enable me to get my teeth fixed, try something completely out of my comfort range and in turn find and restore my confidence and find my voice. Well we got one of those and in turn led me to find Ingram Publishing so I could self publish and do so with the source right in my back yard.  Now I just need to write pages versus blogs.  But I think I am a person lost in anonymity in a major city versus whatever this is and that with the many choices and options available I will have more things in which to fill my spirit and my head. There is something wrong with being utterly isolated but then again I can't say it is all that bad either but I need a healthy balance and Nashville ain't it.

I urge you to read the story "The Man Who Knew Too Little" and ask yourself if this is a choice you could make?  If this is the ideal life that Longfellow or Whitman waxed poetically about? And what is wrong with less is more and by less define what is less?

And on that subject of less, I was listening to BBC the other day about a woman and her deliberate pursuit of frugality and how that choice changed their way of living in more than just stuff.  And here is the article about the family in The Guardian.   The interviewer asked quite pointedly about race and how that those who struggle with image and the idea of looking and being 'poor' is perceived by those not white.   And she said that is about style and again a type of code switching that enables you to look one way in the professional and public sense while not leading you to have to sacrifice your inevitable decision to live a life that is about having less.   Ask if you could do such?

Fill your head, fill your heart and fill your spirit?  How do you do it and is it filling you? Life is like a fuel tank it needs to be filled and if you are running on empty what is the fuel of your choice and is the best one or the one you need?   I struggle with these questions and I am constantly seeking answers and I realize that part of what I need is information. I could not live without it. Feeding my head is my biggest demand it is just what I do with that that makes the difference.

Could I be a hermit? Yes, in the middle of New York City.  Diversity and inclusion matters.  I makes you informed and from that you grow.   Or you can go into a hiding.  Ignorance is bliss apparently when you are well enough off to make that a choice.   And that is the key - choice.  We all should be so fortunate.  (note the root of the word fortune - that has many meanings)

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