On Loneliness

There’s an interesting moment that comes along once in a while, when you’re sitting alone, huddled in blankets, while your family’s in the next room, when a random noise will come through in the movie you’re watching (be it a car honking or someone swearing, or an elevator dinging, or whatever). The thing is, you have earphones/headphones on, so you can’t really tell whether the sounds are coming from the movie or not. Your window’s open, and your apartment’s on a busy street, so it’s totally possible that you’re hearing sounds from the street below. But at the same time, the sound seems so real that going to the trouble of pausing the movie, taking off your earphones, and listening, even for a second, seems absurd. After a moment’s hesitation you do it anyway, and you discover that the sound was, in fact, coming from the movie. And then you feel ashamed, neurotic even, because you had to take time out of your busy viewing experience to make sure of what was real. As if feeling neurotic were embarrassing or unusual somehow. Which it can’t be, because in order to be neurotic, somebody else has to judge you as such, and the only people that are around are all in the next room, watching TV or a movie or something, together, without you.


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