Saw an interesting film this evening up at the old Shepherdstown Opera House-- Get Low, with the always witty Bill Murray, and Robert Duvall at his curmudgeonly best playing a backwoods hermit named Felix Bush. After 40 years of isolation, Felix determines that it's time to "get low" and sets out to arrange his own funeral, but with a twist. Assisted by the town funeral home director (Murray), he plans a pre-death shindig to which he invites everyone within four counties who has a story, real or gossip-fueled, to tell about him. As it turns out, though, the story to be told is his own-- the explanation for his self-exile. There are some laugh out loud moments (with Murray and Duvall, how could there not be), yet in the end the film left me shaken. I managed to hold back the tears until I got into the car, but they flowed freely as I drove out of Shep'town and into the moonlit backroads of West Va.
The thing that got to me was that I saw myself in Felix, though my story has none of the drama of his. And, obviously, I'm nowhere near as isolated in location-- I live in the midst of the suburbs, go to work in a major metropolitan city, and get out every chance I can to do my favorite things in my favorite places. Yet, in many ways, I'm as imprisoned as Felix. Life has become a perpetual loop of solitude and routine.
Since reaching adulthood, I've spent more years alone than I have in relationships, and friendships have been just as sparse. Much as I've tried to dismantle it in recent years, there's some sort of wall between me and the rest of society that I just can't overcome. I feel like I'm in the world, but not a part of it. Everyone-- family, friends, and acquaintances alike-- is held at arm's length for some reason I can't make out.
What I don't understand about this is that I'm not a complete misfit. Introverted, yes, but I do have the ability to connect with people. I just can't seem to deepen and sustain those connections. I can connect with faraway people via the internet in the blink of an eye but, like every physical friendship I've ever had, those connections end up fading as my interests change and I migrate to other areas of the web. Even now, I'm in a transitional phase in which I can feel certain connections seeming to dissolve as I develop new ones relating to newer obsessions. I've lived in the same area my entire life, but when it comes to people I'm decidedly nomadic. Why?
Most of the time this doesn't bother me. I've written before about how often I'm more content by myself. But then something like this movie will come along and hit me in the gut and get me wondering-- what the hell is wrong with me? Why is it so hard to find people within close proximity with whom I can connect, and why can't I make it last when I do? Am I broken in some way? In moments like this, I'm just so fucking tired of being alone.
Coupled with this is a frustrating inability to decide what the hell to do with my life. The routine is to go to work at a job that I'm thankful to have but that's shrinking my brain, come home and explore the web, then spend days off out and about doing familiar things in familiar places because they bring me comfort from the increasing stagnation. Of course it's entirely possible to break out of this-- Go back to school, challenge myself in a new line of work, move to a new area... if I could just make up my damned mind as to what, where, and how. I've lots of interests but no single overriding passion to compel me in a new direction. And, at my age, dramatic life changes are challenging enough even when you have a plan and course of action. The result is that I remain flummoxed and stuck in this prison of my own making. So I turn to the internet and whine, whine, whine...
I've no idea what this song has to do with any of the drivel I've babbled here, aside from the fact that I set it on repeat and listened to it over and over and over on the drive home through the dark from West Va. Somehow, it seemed to fit the mood--