Alone But Not Lonely: A Case Study


Meet James.


via #starttorun

James is a young adult in his mid-twenties. He usually wakes up early in the morning and goes for a bike ride. He loves riding on the sea shore during the time when the air is still cool and the road still empty. On occasion, he packs his swimsuit and takes a swim, simultaneously working on his cardio and toning his muscles.

By 9 am he’s at his favorite coffee shop. He orders his usual macchiato, black – no sugar, with a chocolate croissant. He pays, winks at the cute waitress and sits alone by the window listening to the music playing indoors. Today, it’s some smooth Acid Jazz. Lately, he’s been listening to this genre more, since his musician friend introduced him to it. Which happens to provide the perfect background noise for him to start planning his week, and especially, this very promising day. Today is Saturday.

He begins working on his stuff when some people start texting him and calling him. He pays little attention to his phone buzzing and puts it on silent. He doesn’t like to be bothered during his alone time. Anyways, they won’t take it badly if he replies later.

The day is supposed to be long, he’s gonna enjoy it fully. Maybe head to the gym, then catch some sun by the sea. A nice book will do. But before that, he has some work to finish. Since he began working on his business project with his best friend Brad, he doesn’t have much free time, but he likes the flexibility. It feels good.

Finally he decides to text Brad and Morgan. He knows he can count on these guys to come up with a plan for tonight. Some nighttime leisure/socializing after a long day would just be perfect. Plus, they were talking about hanging out at that new bar Brad’s friend has opened.

Oh! Before he forgets, he’s supposed to text Jenny. They’ve been seeing each other for a while now. Maybe he’ll see her in the evening or after his night out. Or perhaps he should tell her to join him and his friends and to bring some of her pals along.

Anyways, we’ll see how the day unfolds, he sends a quick text, takes a last sip of his macchiato and sits back to enjoy the voice out of the cafe window. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful.

He likes being alone.

Meet Dave.

slobbish man lounging on a settee watching television and eating junk food

via Great Ceasar’s Ghost

Dave is a young adult in his mid-twenties. He usually wakes up around noon and heads to his kitchen. In the process, he dodges some of his passed-out friends and random individuals snoring on the floor and the sofa. Yesterday was epic. Yesterday was Friday. Blazing and drinking the night away, like every Friday.

Dave can’t wait for the weekend, especially since he started working that grueling 9 to 5 job. No free time since damned graduation. All he thinks about is the next party with his friends, drinks and some mental relief. He grabs a pack of cereal and heads to the living room to eat it, grabbing his cellphone to text along the way. “So What’s the plan for tonight? The party aint over its a three day weekend! Woohoo!” A shout-out to everyone in his contact list. We’ll see who replies.

He starts to get nervous. His hands getting shaky. He needs to do something. Last night’s buzz is wearing off, and he hates the feeling of coming back to reality. Thank god, his girl Sandra is texting him. He didn’t get to see her last night because she couldn’t make it.

Why couldn’t she make it? He’s pondering this question now, and his mind begins to drift in weird directions. I guess that’s what you call paranoia. One night without seeing her and he’s almost nuts. He sends an angry message back, and here we go, a whirlwind of back and forth messages coupled with untamed emotions. Finally he throws his phone away. He got his daily dose of drama. She’s now mad at him, and won’t see him tonight either.

Finally he decides to head out with his pals and grab some lunch at a local pizza joint. There they are, a group of dudes shuffling about in the streets and being noisy, telling jokes. But Dave can barely smile. He’s thinking of Sandra. He’s thinking of his life and what he wants to do with it. “Who are these guys?” he wonders, apart from Brad, who he’s known for years, he barely knows any of these guys. Sure, they party a lot together, but who are they really? Suddenly an awful feeling grabs his stomach and he starts to feel sick.

Although he’s constantly surrounded of people, he feels really lonely.


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