100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #20.

I, Robert “The Hook” Hookey, am a people person.

I hope you weren’t drinking coffee, or anything else for that  matter, as you read that opening line – because now it’s no doubt all over your phone, screen or tablet. And you, most likely. But it’s true, after decades as a Niagara Falls bellman, a dad, a husband, a college student, a journalist for a time, and a devoted attendee of countless comic conventions, there’s no way I would’ve been able to survive if I didn’t have a few personal interaction skills.

But…

Just because I’m good at making with the talkie-talkie with my fellow human beings (my daughter loses her sheep when we’re out… anywhere, and I run into someone from some point in my life) doesn’t mean I like it. In fact, if there’s one thing I crave above all else (yes, even that) it’s…

#20: Solitude.

Yes, this entry flies in the face of everything I’ve been touching on so far in this series. Yes, I’ve been extolling the life-sustaining virtues of being a part of this world rather than pulling yourself away from it. Yes, I’m a complicated bellman. (Geez, I haven’t used the word “yes” this much since my honeymoon.)

But the truth is, I’m around people a lot. All. The. Time. In. Fact. With the exception of my walk to and from work, I’m surrounded by humans 99% of the time. I work with hundreds of people. I serve thousands of people every year. No  mater where The Hook turns, he sees people.

Don’t bet me wrong, my wife and daughter are amazing, and while our dog is nuttier than the proverbial fruitcake, she can lift your spirits just by being in your presence.

But as everyone I work with can attest, with the exception of punching the time clock at the end of the day, the best part of my day is when I’m sitting by myself at lunch, lost in thought. Even my dear departed brother-in-arms, Rockin’ Ronnie, understood how important a few minutes of solitude is to The Hook. In fact, check out this exchange between myself and an old hotel superior from just last week while I was enjoying a quiet evening supper break at the casino near the hotel:

JP:  Mr. Hookey, how are you!

THE HOOK:  Well, you know…

JP:  Don’t worry, I won’t keep you. I’m more than familiar with your “eccentricities”.

I’m not so sure I’d call my need for solitude an “eccentricity” but we never really know how our lives appear to others. Unless they’re brutally honest that is. But the truth is, a few minutes and even the all-too-rare day off from work while my family heads out to Toronto for a show, helps keep me sane.

Or as close to sane as I’ll ever get, that is.

Superman got it. We all need a Fortress of Solitude.

 

I’ve lost my father-in-law, Ronnie, my mother, and even a bit of my zest for life the last few years and it shows. I tear at the drop of a hat sometimes, which my daughter refers to as a result of my “dark and twisty” side. Being around friends and family and even some of the less wacky guests I serve helps remind me why life is worth living but being alone with my thoughts (and a newspaper or a movie on my phone) can be just as important.

There’s a fine line between measured solitude and becoming a loner, but you’ve gotta disconnect and recharge those batteries every once in awhile, kids. It could save your life.

See you in the lobby, friends…

(But if you spot me having a meal on my own at a food court somewhere, maybe just let me be, okay?)

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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30 Responses to 100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #20.

  1. susielindau says:

    I love this reflection, Hook! A long time ago, I worked retail and needed quiet time after long days yapping with strangers.

    I spend a lot of time alone even though I’m the kind of person who could talk to a deaf person for an hour and not realize it. I’ve immersed myself in writing novels and they take a ton of time. I’ve also become more selfish with whom I spend it with. I side-step soul suckers at all costs. 😂

  2. Mark Myers says:

    Excellent Hook! I love my alone time.

  3. We all like our Me time Robert. In the past, the only way I’d get it was to lock myself in the bathroom with the radio and a good book and have a good soak…………. for about 2 hours!
    Now I can walk the dog on my own again, I find it relaxing and my ‘chill’ time.

  4. After a career in human resource work, where I repeatedly told people they can’t do things (amazing how obtuse they can be), I delight in solitude. Since retirement, I ration my time with people. I am a much better companion to myself than most people (except the hubby of course). Sometimes I worry about that but not much.

  5. I cherish time alone. It’s when I can really get stuff done. Not necessarily from an output sense but from a creative sense. In my retirement, I get plenty of precious time alone which is a blessing. I spent over 45 years surrounded by my fellow workers and now there is just me. If I see you in contemplation, I’ll walk the other way.

  6. Doug in Sugar Pine says:

    Great post, Mr. Hook, as a musician, I find some solitude necessary to remain functional.
    And speaking of solitude, here is one of Canada’s highest quality exports, the New Pornographers, who within their ranks count two women I find reason enough to stick around this life, Neko Case and Kathryn Calder, singing a song they have donated performances of to various anti-suicide efforts, called “Adventures in Solitude”:

  7. I’m so with you on the need for solitude. I too need my “me time.” And especially the past few years, going through a crazy spiritual awakening, I can’t tell you how badly I’ve wanted to live in a cave of solitude with a sign on the door saying do not disturb for 4-5 years.

  8. Yup. I do like people (mostly). But I NEED solitude. I like the idea of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude – I could have used one for most of my life. Now I have one (it’s called home, lucky me!) and I adore it. I would never approach you sitting in a food court eating alone – I get it! I would probably nod at you and then head to my own table. 😁

    Deb

  9. Jennie says:

    As I type, hubby is in the back room, and all I can hear is the ticking of the clock. I hope this goes on and on for a long while. Solitude is good, happy, and peaceful for me. So, no way you’re alone or a bit off on this one, Hook. Happy weekend – hopefully filled with solitude.

  10. Well, that walk to work and back by yourself is more valuable than you know. Oh, OK there’s the ones you have to step over or avoid along the way, but it could be worse – you could be car pooling.
    Everyone needs solitude and a bit of being alone – to sort things out. Those that don’t take time to do that tend to be really nervous and jittery and never know why. As a society, we do need to teach the ones coming up how to be still, alone, and become grounded..just like you do, Hook.
    (The weight of realizing you are grown up, losing people, and realizing what the world is can steal that zest, but find some way to laugh and dance and sing and regain what you can – you can go back, Hook. You will..they may call it senility, but who cares? HaHa. Onward through the fog)

  11. I’ve also noticed that to some people being alone is considered eccentricity… [yep, personal experience!] but nothing more important than ‘solitude’, or as I call it: golden silence! 😉

  12. Dave Ply says:

    I’ve sometimes thought it ironic that many of the folks who post on WordPress avow to preferring solitude, or being introverts (myself included), but yet still toss out personal musings as if they were beads at a Mardi gras parade. And we don’t even expect folks to show us their boobs in return. (Although some folks demonstrate that they are boobs anyway.) I suppose this is a long winded way of saying most of us aren’t one dimensional, and the occasional trip to the “other side” helps create balance.

  13. Tara says:

    Solitude is my sanity. If I don’t get it at least one day a week, there’s going to be hell to pay. Grew up an only child, and lived in New York for three years. Only served to reinforce my solitary tendencies and I’m not sorry. 🙂

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