Friday, May 21, 2010

the together people & the alone people

Maybe it’s part of what it means to be a writer—to be an observer more than a participant. (Not that I don't participate...just... indulge me in an unemotional sociological tangent for a moment [that's why I'm wearing my scientist glasses in the photo <--------]) But it seems to me, and always has, that there are the people who spend their whole lives in some form of together, and then there are the alone people. 

The together people are almost always together and the alone people are almost always alone—except for brief, exotic moments where the together people allow one of the alone people into their world temporarily. And for a glimpsing minute, the alone people have the anthropological experience of living the life of (or at least in the midst of) the together people.

Together people (this will come as no shock) stick together…with other together people. They’re the kind of people who are always in relationships, really put their family first and often adopt other people into their family of togetherness. But the only ones who stick, really stick are other together people. An alone person can be loved and even accepted as the fun, eccentric fill-in-the-blank relationship, but will never be included to the extent that the other together people will be included.

This is possibly because the alone people, of their own accord or compulsion, will need to remove themselves, if only for a bit, to go inward, to think about the events, maybe even to write about them. But in that moment, the one where they stop living the moment and pause to ponder it, record it, analyze it, describe it, the together people have already moved on with the living of it. And you're one step behind. 

I’ll let you guess which one of these 2 kinds of people I am. And which kinds of people I mostly admire. Maybe I am subject to my own hold-outs—the way I hold a part of myself back from being known too well. My life seems more like a press junket-- moving from one still moment of connection to the next. Meaningful, but fleeting, and very spaced out. A collection of moments in between work phone calls. Blips on the together ones' radars, but that add up to my life. I don’t doubt that I am loved. But even my own hopeful self has a hard time not believing that I am best loved in small doses. I can see that.

Loving someone in small doses will never make for them becoming a together person. I don’t know what actual qualities go towards making someone a together person (perhaps it’s really a gene or something) but I do know this much: If you’re best appreciated at alternating intervals and no one can handle you everyday, the alone life is where you’re headed.

Which might even be okay for me. You've read some of my thoughts on the mind-blowing hurt that people inflict on one another. Sometimes I really do think I'd rather be on my own-- I know how I'll treat myself. 

Oh, but I can spot a together person from a mile away. The serial monogamists, the family folks, the "Groups"...I've known them all and at certain times in my life, I've studied them thinking, "What is it that they do to always be so surrounded?" As though I could somehow turn into one. Is it like citizenship? Do the alone people need the legitimacy of a together person? Like a passport. If you can somehow attach yourself to one, you can can gain a kind of legal citizenship? Or can an alone person only seek to find some tentative arrangement with another alien? Maybe we'll never know. 


  1. so a lot of people have mentioned the introvert/extrovert thing in relation to this article...and I agree, but let's expound... if introvert/extrovert is where you get your energy, then let's call my alone people/together people theory how people react to that energy.

  2. I disagree with the introvert/extrovert thing in relation to alone people/together people. Not the same at all. If I am reading this correctly, I am a extrovert/together. On the other hand, my daughter is an introvert/alone. I think this could be very intersesting if expounded.


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