I'm at that point when I really need to sit in my quiet house when I'm not at work and do some work, you know, writing, editing, going through piles of papers I should probably throw out, but now that our house guests have gone, all my friends want to catch up with me. They've asked me to
- go to the movies
- get pedicures together
- have lunch
- meet for coffee
- get together and talk about books
That sounds fun, right?
I'm trying not to be crabby about it, but lately I've been dreaming that cretins have been breaking into my house and wrecking my stuff. I've been dreaming of people who walk around behind me and never stop talking. Whenever I need time alone, I always dream that people are running rampant through my house.
So, even with my best friends, doing stuff I love, I'm not quite enthusiastic yet.
I need a retreat. I need a week off from work, a week off from obligations, a week off from talking and from listening.
Finally, I got a job that features my best characteristic, talking with people, and now all I want to do is crawl into a hole and stay quiet for a long while.
It's solitude that I needed but didn't get during my vacation. I knew I needed it. I wanted it. I had planned that whole week as a chance to sit in front of the computer while Mike and Nick played video games. I didn't ask our friends to come visit. It turns out that Mike didn't even ask our friends to come visit. They just announced their visit. They weren't bad house guests. We just weren't in a good position to host.
When we first moved to the Pacific Northwest, a raft of friends came to stay at our house. A week after I moved here, our best friends Jim and Caroline arrived. I was still living out of a suitcase. The movers hadn't delivered my stuff yet. Still, we all explored Seattle and the mountains as if we were tourists. I was a such a new transplant that I was a tourist. I had no idea where I had moved, really, what the place was like. Besides Mike, I only knew one person and I really didn't like that guy. I knew it would be a while until I connected the way I did with Jim and Caroline. So, we had a great time with them, an incredible time.
After that, more people came to visit. For every friend that came, it became a little less fun. I didn't know exactly why at first. It was supposed to be fun. We were missed by our friends. We were not alone out here. Five, six, seven groups of people came to visit within the first year.
Then, a guy called and said he was coming out, Lyle. Mike wasn't good at saying no. We knew Lyle from GE, where we used to work together two years before we moved. And so Lyle showed up. We picked him up from the airport. Lyle was picky. He didn't like what we cooked for him. He was snarky. I felt insulted. He complained about our guest room. He expected us to take off from our jobs during difficult projects. He complained about the car we loaned him for those couple of days we couldn't possibly take off from our jobs. We carpooled together so he could drive the car. He brought it back with a new scar on the bumper. He said nothing about what happened. He stayed for ten days. Ten. The night before he left, he talked about coming back for a second trip. Mike and I whispered in the kitchen over a raft of dirty dishes while Lyle sat in front of the TV in the living room. How could we discourage him from coming back?
Early the next morning, we finally brought Lyle back to the airport. As we watched him walk down to the terminal, we waved at him, then both of us sighed at the same time. I looked at Mike. He looked at me.
Mike said, "Thank God he's gone. It didn't seem like you and Lyle were all that good friends. You were about to take his head off there at the end."
"What do you mean, friends?"
"I didn't know you were friends with him at GE."
"Me? I wasn't friends with him. I thought you were friends with him."
"I was never friends with that jackass."
Yeah, I need a retreat. But I'm willing to pay for it.
Thank you for listening, jules