Quiet Desperation

This is for all the lonely people


If you have in-home family or companionship, please shove off. I’ll see you next week. This is for the others who don’t.

My 80-year-old high school English teacher don’t.

She’d love that sentence.

She went 23 days without leaving the house and admitted it was getting to her.

I wrote something to her every day. It wasn’t much, but she said she looked forward to whatever it was.

Until she caught on, I intentionally made grammatical errors. It gave her something to do.

I split an infinitive. I misplaced a modifier.

I used “who” when the sentence called for “whom.”

Her instincts kicked in, and she corrected me every time.

Fortunately, she lives in a subdivision near families who know her, like her, and are checking in on her.

But what if someone lives in the middle of nowhere? What if someone lives in the middle of nowhere and isn’t on the internet?

That leaves the phone.

That leaves the daily newspaper.

That leaves Colorado Community Media. We’re here and that means I’m here. My email address follows, if there’s something you want to say, ask, get off your chest, or reveal.

I’d like to hear from you.

As for me: I have companionship in the form of a dachshund. Harry has no idea what is going on. He just knows that dad is home all day and all night and that’s fine with him.

He is getting more attention than ever.

The word “spoiled” has come up. When (if?) things normalize, he might question the cutback in our contact hours.

No one wants to face the disapproving eyes of a German scent dog.

I will be able to audition for “Hair” when this ends. I haven’t looked like this since “The Summer of Love.”

I was a college sophomore and grousing because I was missing out. I was missing out on love, but I wasn’t missing out on the music.

Yes, some of it was psychedelic and aimless, but a lot of it was highly creative and potent.

We no longer listened to three-minute pop songs on AM radio. No: We listened to five-, six- and seven-minute-long songs on FM.

The 1967 album version of The Doors’ “Light My Fire” was 7:02. FM stations played that and the AM stations played the truncated 2:52 single version.

I rarely have listened to AM radio since.

Honoré de Balzac said, “Solitude is fine but you need someone to tell that solitude is fine.”

Are you fine?

Charlotte Brontë said: “The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”

This virus has made some lonely people out of people who weren’t lonely before because they have lost their companions.

Now what? I don’t know. When it comes to social studies I don’t claim to be an “A” student.

Charles Bukowski, of all people, said, “being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.”

(Bukowski often wrote in lower case, like E. E. Cummings.)

I am never lonely because I have films, books, music and Harry. I take a least one film a day just like a vitamin. Often it’s a film I have seen before.

With films, books and music close by, I am never alone, as syrupy as that may sound.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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