“alone doesn’t mean lonely. It just means alone. It just means that for now, you’re on your own, and that’s not a terrible thing.”

Somewhere off in the far distance, I can hear a dog bark, barely hear that dog bark, but Gracie feels it is her responsibility to respond. That she is standing on the deck directly under my window is of little importance. A dog does what a dog wants to do.

Last night was so chilly I shut my downstairs windows. My feet were even cold. Yesterday was fall. I don’t care that it is still August. Fall drops in now and then to get the lay of the land and last night was one of those visits. Today isn’t much better. It’s still chilly and damp. School should start on a day like today.

My friends are leaving for Ireland on Tuesday. My other friends are going to Ghana in the middle of September. I feel like the poor relation. I haven’t even been to Hyannis lately.

I called Rose Atiah, one of my students, this morning. I needed a Ghana fix, and Rose is always good for a conversation. She said it was getting ready to rain, and I could picture exactly what Bolga looks like with an impending storm. Rose said she was doing nothing, and I told her I was doing nothing as well. We chatted a bit more, and Rose said she would pass along my greetings to Agatha, Francisca and Bea. Hearing a Ghanaian accent always gives me a bit of a lift, and I love that Ghanaians pass along greetings.

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a hermit. With no reason to go out, I don’t bother to get dressed. I make my bed, brush my teeth, do a cursory wash of hands and face and then let the day while by me. Today could easily be one of those days, but I have no choice but to go out to the pharmacy. Gracie gets to come because it will be cool enough in the car for her.

When I finally got to my house in Ghana, I was living alone for the first time in my life, and it was a difficult transition. During Peace Corps training, we had been herded and kept in large groups, and we had each other, but now I had no one to talk to about how I felt, no one who understood what I was going through. I was homesick, doing a rotten job in the classroom and an object of curiosity for my students and just about everyone in town. I fled to books and checked for mail every day at least a couple of times. I was starved for conversation and companionship. I was miserable. I don’t know when that began to change, when I knew I was home, but change it did. I loved living alone. It was fun going into town and to the market. People greeted me all the time, and I returned their greetings. I was madam, a teacher at the school, and that was all.

Talking to Rose today brought a lot of that back. She still calls me madam.

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8 Comments on ““alone doesn’t mean lonely. It just means alone. It just means that for now, you’re on your own, and that’s not a terrible thing.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Sometimes I have days when I don’t really bother to dress for the outside. Usually I do get dressed, though, because if I don’t, it’s most likely that I won’t go out at all. Too many days of that in a row is not good.
    Today was Rocky’s day for the dog groomer. Not his favorite thing. Now he’s sleeping off the trauma of soap and water. 🙂

    I have spent most of my life sharing my space with someone or several someones. Those times I was able to be alone were welcomed ones.
    Now I’m the only human in the house and it’s wonderful. I don’t miss having people and conversation around at all. My neighbors are always happy to chat when we’re outside. I have friends who are happy to chat but are happy not to chat for long stretches, too. Perfect.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Gracie and i just got back from the dump. I was going to leave her home as I have a couple of other stops but she was so excited when I put my sandals on and knew I was going out that I couldn’t disappoint her. I still have to out a bit later.

      In the winter, I often don’t go out. It is just too cold, and I haven’t any reason. I don’t ever mind not getting dressed. My around the house clothes look a bit like outside clothes and are perfect deck wear.

      I have lived alone in this house for 33 years and find it difficult to adjust to anyone being here too long. I’m good for about a week of sharing my space. I talk to Gracie a lot and to the Red Sox but neither listen.

      Sometimes I find the phone intrusive while other times I’m happy to chat. I meet my friend for breakfast every week and people I worked with once a month, also for breakfast. I did see friends for the plays but now they’re done. Winter is quiet!

  2. Birgit Says:

    No hermit this evening, I left my internet connected cave for another free open-air worldmusic and street theater festival which started today in the neighboring city. We listened and danced on a downtown market square. It was fun, especially this group from Poland:

    • katry Says:

      Great music! I actually like accordion music of a certain sort, no, not lady of Spain, and this is wonderful. I would have guessed more Serbian or even Romany than Polish but I guess they’re neighbors who share more than a part of the world.

  3. Bob Says:

    Today the outside temperature on my car dashboard read 104 degrees at four thirty when I left work. No chance of anyone feeling cold unless the thermostat is turned way down and the AC is pumping warp factor 10 🙂

    I enjoy being a hermit sometimes but with two kids a dog and a spouse I don’t get much of an opportunity at home. One of the pleasures of traveling is to sit in a hotel room by myself and watching what I like on the TV with no interruptions or complaints.

    It’s a three day holiday weekend so I am going to have to come up with something for us to do other than veg at home.

    • katry Says:

      I am so sorry so see how high the temperatures are and have been all summer. My sister in Colorado isn’t as high but is in the mid 90’s and has been for a while.

      I enjoy the hermit life but sometimes would love company. I wish sometimes Gracie could talk but only sometimes.

      This will be a huge weekend and the line over the bridges to get off cape will be so many miles long on Monday it will take hours to get across. This is the weekend to stay home if you live here.

      Have a great weekend!!

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