Thursday, August 29, 2002


Tripp has been harping on "community" and how A) it's impossible to live outside one's social milieu, and B) despite this fact, too many people do (?!?), and this is a problem.

Community, in terms of a group of people who appreciate, welcome and support you, can be a wonderful thing. The friendly group of bloggers that I've discovered over the past month or so has been very good for me, and if I'm not careful, I may find the seedlings of some lifelong friendships there.

However (and I'm NOT referring to my online group of friends here, I'm back in the realm of theory), in the immortal words of Ben Franklin, guests, like fish, stink after three days. Community is frequently a pain in the ass. There are many times when the ability to shut the world the hell out and be alone is a useful and healing thing, too.

Personally, I know I spend far too much time alone, but everyone has to come to terms with their own level of "gregarity." Mine happens to be low compared to the norm. I don't crave the company of people for its own sake; I am frequently lonesome, but that's for one-on-one company: I seldom enjoy groups comprising more than, say, ten people (I tend to withdraw into myself and just watch if I'm not engaged with a smaller subgroup), and I certainly don't miss such groups enough to seek them out on my own. Bars? Clubs? Sure, with a group I like and that wants to go, perhaps, but just for meeting people? No way. Ditto for churches, concerts, classes, etc. I'll go for the material, but in terms of belonging to a big theoretical group of people, who have an investment and say in how my life is going, I don't like it.

If some "community" of which Jennifer and I had been a part had seen that we were in trouble, burst in and started helping us "fix" things, I'm pretty sure both of us would have politely told the community to get bent, and oh yes mind its own business too. Being private people is one of the things we had in common.

Where do people like me go for the panacea of community, Tripp? If I was going to discover some great need for groups in which to immerse myself, I would have by now. Invasive, busybodying, "guardrailing" community of the type you describe is not at all a welcoming idea for me; in fact, it's faintly creepy in a spidery, "resistance is futile" way. I have no basis for it, and no wish to acquire one.

Please, tell me what I'm missing about this concept.


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