Sunday, August 29, 2010

There's No Need To Sigh Heavily

“A lonely man is a lonesome thing, a stone, a bone, a stick, a receptacle for Gilbey's gin, a stooped figure sitting at the edge of a hotel bed, heaving copious sighs like the autumn wind”

--John Cheever

While I do enjoy the quote, I somewhat disagree with it. You see…

Saturday while I was working, I saw a guy walking along the street.

Cars were passing him by…back and forth with the rapidity and liquidity of the crests of a whitewater river.

In direct contrast with the blur of speeding, colorful cars in the background, his pallid, paraffin figure dripped along slowly through the late August heat.

Sure, he was the same lonely man that Cheever described in the quote…with one major difference…

This man was not a stolid, gasping for air, bound to the edge of the bed, figure.

This ragged clothed, wiry haired man was a moving, breathing human being. Just like you. Just like me.

It has often been said, “Many people are one paycheck away from catastrophe.”

When I saw this urban nomad cross my view, I thought to myself…

“I think some people are just one friend, one incident, or one whatever away from loneliness.”

And then I thought to myself…

Of all the ways I never wanted to die I have always thought a fire would be the worst and drowning a close second.

But then I proffered to my mind...

I think the worst way to die...worst than fire, worst than water, worse than whatever, would be…

To die lonely.

Of all the myriad of ways one can die, I don’t want to die lonely, and that shadow of a man who passed the Beer Mine was just that. Dying lonely, however…

He was not a bone, a stone, or a stick.

He may have been full of Gilbey’s but that was his dilaudid, his morphine, his vicodin.

He was a stooped figure but not on the edge of a bed grasping for air like the autumn wind. He was a man, gasping for the breath of life…but still, a lonely man.

One who was looking for someone to throw him a bone, a stone, or a stick.

One who in better days would prefer a nice glass of wine to Gilbey’s…

A man who instead of being stooped over, would prefer to stand up straight and given the chance, hug a friend, or a family member…or a lover.

No, I don’t want to die lonely. And I won’t…and there is no reason you should either.

Use today to take stock of your friends, your family, and those who may have one time been close to you, and bring them back.

You’ll be better off and so will they.

Being broke is a matter of complication and circumstance. Being sick is a matter of past choices and heredity.

Being lonely?

It’s a choice that we make everyday and one over which we easily have control, and unlike other human conditions, one which we can all change in a mere five minutes.

And? That’s all I got to say about that.



Mike said...

My kids are always one paycheck away from moving into my basement. Come ooooonnnn economy.

Jeff B said...

I really do enjoy when you wax poetic!

Being a natural born extrovert is a blessing for the very reason you speak of.

Jay said...

At the heart of most addictions, drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating etc, is loneliness. But, I disagree that loneliness is a choice. Or at least that it's easy to control or change.

Scott Oglesby said...

I loved this post. I was actually homeless for a horrendous two weeks at the end of my marriage. I mean, like, on the street, homeless. After all of my own family had passed away I found myself way too wrapped up in my wife’s family. We had moved away from my friends….the marriage was over, I had nobody.

Then I said fuck it, moved to Florida and started over.

Michele said...

I think there are times that you can be only in a crowd. By choice or not.

Very thoughtful post. I should try doing a thoughtful post someday. Nah...I think I'll stick with posting about getting my cat high on catnip. I'm profound like that :)

Beth said...

Beautiful Matthew, just beautiful.

Matt-Man said...

Mike: Ha. Good luck with avoiding new tenants. Cheers Mike!!

Jeff: I agree. It helps to be extroverted and naturally enjoy people. Cheers Jeff!!

Jay: I dunno...I mean if a person has no friends, go out and make some is how I see it. But you are correct in part about the results of loneliness. Cheers Jay!!

Matt-Man said...

Scott: I was there too in a sense. I allowed myself to ignore all of my ties with friends when I was married. I was alone while being married. Cheers Scott!!

Michele: I understand what you mean and everyone feels lonely at times as well, but I was talking about just passng through with absolutely no one. Now go get your cat high. Cheers Michele!!

Schmoop: Why thank ya dear!! Cheers and Zoooooves!!

Micky-T said...

That's all well said, but loneliness sometimes has very little to do with other people or lack of friends and family.
Not being able to (or lack of courage) share what you feel inside with others is a form of loneliness easily hidden.
My first adult male cry (we're talking like a baby here)was after the crew I was living, playing and working with on a 80' yacht all left to get pizza. I "needed" to stay back on the boat, I wasn't sure why, but I soon found out.
I felt the loneliest I have ever felt in my life and I was surrounded by friends.
Everyone of us are alone....inside!

Kimmeh said...

Lonliness is a tough thing, sometimes we feel lonely but in reality we just haven't opened ourselves up.

Great post today and damnit you made my eyes sting with tears.

Kimmeh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt-Man said...

Micky: Understandable and as related to Scott bove, I felt the same way. But I chose to do something about it and haven't felt that type of absolute loneliness in 10 years now. Cheers Mick!!

Kimmeh: I agree but I also know that even people who choose not to open themselves oft times have people to whom they could if they chose to. Cheers and can use my sleeve to wipe 'em off, Kimmeh!!

Dianne said...

this is a beautiful post Matty, and one I relate to - which made me a bit uncomfortable
but then from discomfort comes change

I got all set up to listen to and call in to your show yesterday morn and then we had a power outage at 10:58!

coincidence? or censorship?

Matt-Man said...

Dianne: Why thanks sexy. I appreciate that. And how odd...My internet crashed three times during the show. I feel something sinister afoot. Cheers Di!!

Phfrankie Bondo said...

...Breathe deep in the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day's useless energy's spent
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young
Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is gray and yellow white
And we decide which is right
And which is an illusion?...

David said...

I have had periods of lonliness - not from lack of friends or family...mostly depression which is fortunately now treated with meds.

This year has felt very lonely for me - my father died 4 years ago and my mother this year - as an adopted child they were my world of love and security. But I am blessed to have some great friends who care about me and my brother with his family whom I love very much.

Great and poignant post. God speed our Matt-Man

Dice Mardell said...

great post, M2.

lonliness truly is a bummer.

:' (

Dana said...

For me, dying lonely isn't the worse thing ... NOPE!

For me, it would be allowing someone else to die lonely because I didn't look them in the eye, smile and say "Hello!" - letting them know that at that moment, they mattered.

That would be far worse ...

Matt-Man said...

P-Man: I dig me some Blues. Cheers P-Man!!

David: Thak ya very much, and on the whole int sounds as though your life is pretty good. Cheers David!!

Dice: Thanks!! And you are correct. Cheers Dice!!

Matt-Man said...

Dana: Good point. That may be worse. Cheers Dana!!

Raquel's World said...

So Insightful...Matt Man are you becoming soft in your old age?

Matt-Man said...

Raquel: Not at all...I've always been like this. Ask anyone!! Cheers Roc!!