Pondering a life of pure solitude


A conversation came up the other night that seemed harmless enough at the time, but has been bouncing around my brain quite a bit ever since.
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The question was posed: Would you be able to live on a deserted island by yourself for an undetermined amount of time?

Of course, images of Gilligan riding around on a bamboo bicycle and Tom Hanks pondering the great questions of the universe to a volleyball come to mind immediately. You start to daydream about building a little colony of sorts out of the natural surroundings, lounging about an unspoiled beach during the day and drifting off to a sweet slumber at night, buoyed by the gentle rocking of your hammock being moved softly by island breezes.

Romantic notion? Certainly. Unrealistic? Oh, I’d suppose. A more realistic image would probably be of a bald columnist covered in strange bug bites, suffering a fever from an unknown island malady and falling out of his raggedy hammock because he has no handy skills whatsoever.

The deeper part of this question, however, is to look inside one’s self and discover whether or not one could happily live without any kind of human contact. That’s what all this boils down to, right? Would a person go absolutely stir-crazy without some form of interaction?

My immediate answer to the question was that, yes, I think I could do that — with the caveat that I had at least 20 of my favorite books to read over and over again. I instantly began to fantasize over the peace and quiet, the clock that would no longer be able to team with my cell phone to control every aspect of my life, the ability to wear my favorite T-shirt every day without getting looks of disgust and the fact that, yeah, I would be the best-looking and most powerful man on the island. There would be no disputing my greatness as I decided each morning if I would play the role of benevolent dictator crushing ...

But I digress.

My point was that, at first blush, this seemed like a great life. There would be no more being chained to a desk, sifting through e-mails. No more driving behind people on Route 26 who firmly believe the posted speed limit is 6. No more Lohan or Spears or Hilton boring me to death with their every move.

Peace. Quiet.

But the conversation nagged at me a little bit. I kept going back to the question, and wondering if a life with no other people would indeed be as fulfilling as my imagination cracked it up to be in my mind’s eye. I began to think about those people close to me, and how much I would miss them. It made me sad just to think about being away from some people in my life. Oh, I’d do just fine without random strangers and those who seem to find their purpose in life by complaining about everything in the sun, but I’d miss those who have touched my life. I’d miss laughing with friends. I’d miss sharing moments with loved ones.

Heck, I’d miss those two dogs of mine who seem to alternate between being best friends and heated enemies on an hour-to-hour basis.

It was about at that point when I realized that a few weeks on a deserted island would probably satisfy my yearnings for peace and solitude, but I’d have to know that there was an exit plan for me to truly appreciate my surroundings and situation. Satisfied with that conclusion, albeit several days after the question was originally posed, I happily went back to my regular routine — which often includes surfing about a million newspaper Web sites.

I came across an Associated Press story out of Daytona Beach, Fla. Apaprently, a woman was upset about her order from a drive-thru the other day, got out of her car, went inside the Wendy’s restaurant and began chasing the employee who took her order with a stun gun. A pink stun gun, mind you. All of this took place as the woman’s friend apparently cheered her on as the employee ran for her safety.

I was wrong. Where’s that island?