Tuesday, 18 December 2012

London



One of my favourite things is to be alone. I like being alone in public, but a part of me is always afraid to be so. I like sitting alone in a café with a book and a coffee. I like sitting alone in a park, again with a book or a coffee. I like walks by myself. With a coffee. In fact, my favourite moments involve solitude, books and coffee.  I have always felt the need to hide when by myself, however. The thought of being alone in the open, of having my solitude interrupted scared me. Maybe this was due to being young, or the fact that Dublin is small, or just caring too much about what others think of me. Being put in a situation where the only option was to be by myself was liberating. There was something so nice about sitting on a bench in St James’s Park, watching the passers-by, reading, being completely and utterly by myself. I entertained brief fantasies about meeting the love of my life, but they remained nothing more than fantasies.  The fact that my friends were unable to answer my calls made me think about how our attachment to technology makes it difficult to be alone, and perhaps this is why I have always been so wary of sitting in a café by myself. We are always so accessible, a brief text of “hey, are you around at the moment? x” prevents us from having to be alone for too long, keeps the fear of other people’s opinions of our popularity at bay. During my five hours where the only people I knew in the city were uncontactable, I wandered around Westminster, The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square, catching glimpses of myself in my reflection in windows, and feeling happy and proud and wonderfully, blissfully alone.  At one point I wrote the two of them a letter, just because it felt like the only means of contacting them, and it was so nice and pleasant, to be away from technology, as I sat there with my day planner, wristwatch and pen, all remnants of another time that I sometimes desperately try to recapture. By the time the three of us met again, I had vowed to wander my own city by myself more often, and make use of the novels I always have in my bag in case of solitude. 

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