It was a particularly dirge-like morning recently when I was struck forcefully by the notion that I was destined to become a recluse; just like my parents. That maybe it was genetic and as inescapable a fate as my green eyes. I didn’t mind a bit.
I have no evidence to back this up except two parents who avoided people, individually and en masse, like battle weary men avoid the January sales. My father is from a long line of cattle station rugrats who wasn’t comfortable if there were more than two people within 100km of his position.
My mum married into the hermit-like nature that lifestyle brings with it. You went to town every three months maximum. If it weren’t for non-perishable foodstuffs we would never have gone. The mail came once a week (bonus: reduced contact hours with people) and otherwise it’s just you and a vast expanse of nothingness and the the whistle of the wind.
You learn to love a gardening pitchfork and the pin prick mini details of all that simplicity. Fossicking about in gardens, contemplating this and that … self reflection. I have no doubt that when my sister leaves home at the end of this year my mother will gather her belongings in a trundle cart and dart off into the mountains where she can be left in peace with her animals and vegetable patch and her rudimentary humpy.
And I might not have many years left before I do the same.
My family are not the Amish but sometimes I felt like it as a kid. I wanted nothing more than to cast of the chains of my regional postcode and head to the bright lights of the cities. Which I did and have been doing now for the better part of seven years. I’ve lived on the 50th floor of a highrise, in resorts, in lofts, around people.
It’s all very lovely being young and full of vim and vigour, getting caught in the thrum of people who are just as happy as you to find themselves siphoning off the energy of all these urbanites living in close proximity. But it doesn’t last. Or at least, it didn’t for me. Lurking in the shadows of my debut performance around throngs of people was this unsettled social anxiety.