This morning I went for a run.
I decided to run as far as I could and then run back, knowing I would be forcing myself to run further than usual just to get home. All was going well until my ankle gave out about two miles in and I was left to hobble home.
As I was wandering the suburban nightmare that makes up my running track I had a good chance to think. I need time like this. There is always so much going on and so many people around I struggle to put things in order in my head.
It turns out, having thought about it at great length I very much enjoy my own company. There was a time when I wanted people around me constantly but I grew beyond it. Others haven’t, or won’t.
My thoughts are it says a lot about a person if they are happy to go somewhere alone. I once worried what people would make of me but it really is none of their business.
As a rule my friends run late. I don’t think they ever consider how that changes things for others, those obliged to turn up for everything annoyingly early…me. There was a time when I couldn’t stand being kept waiting, when I was self conscious and worried they would never turn up, that I was a joke in some way. It turns out they just can’t keep to time and I needed to chill out a bit.
I never would have wandered into a cafe solo and sat and had a coffee a couple of years ago. A part of the problem is my hometown. Anyone sat by themselves reading is obviously an asylum-seeking paedophile witch and should be burnt at the stake.
Working up in London has made me realise how satisfying it can be to just lose an hour somewhere different. It does wonders for the internal feng shui.
My freelance work has also led me to embrace a social taboo, going to the cinema alone. The first time I wandered around Soho until I found the screening rooms I didn’t know what to expect, or how I would feel to be alone in a cinema.
When you rationalise it, there’s no real difference between going to the cinema with twenty people and going there alone.
It’s not like you sit chatting, unless you’re an erstwhile cunt.
I’m not saying I will be rocking up to the Empire in Basildon on my jack jones anytime soon but it wouldn’t be too much of an effort to do it if there was something I really wanted to see and couldn’t wangle a free screening or my girlfriend into accompanying me (like The Muppets).
I’ve got to the point where I could quite happily go travelling alone. If anyone wanted to send me on an assignment to New York or India I would be totally down with that.
I think everyone should just take some time to free themselves from everyone else and just listen to themselves. You might learn something.