The Lonely Island

So, either last night or this morning before I came to work (which would have been very early), all of my neighbors’ computers and desks were moved, leaving me by myself in the island of desks where I happen to sit. This had been discussed for a few days, but it was still a bit of a shock to see everyone’s computers and stuff moved, with no one else particularly close to where I am. Needless to say, this particular situation inspired a lot of commentary, including questions about whether I had been the ax man of the other people there, or whether I had said something to offend them, and other jokes like that. Naturally, I sought to be as good-humored about being all by myself all day, because there was little else to be done since just about everyone who passed by felt it necessary to comment on it.

One of the more humorous bits of conversation was related to singing. One of the managers asked if I was going to sing now that I had the whole area to myself. I’m not someone who likes to sing to myself in public or talk to myself. That said, there were plenty of songs that one can think of when it comes to being alone for as long as I was. Thinking about it later, I thought of songs like “Message In A Bottle,” “Alone Again (Naturally),” and so on. However, during the course of my work day there was one song that kept on popping up, largely because it was based on a melody I had talked about yesterday, and because the lyrics were mentioned by one of my coworkers who noted that I was “All By Myself.” It was a suitably melodramatic song.

Of course, I know that I am not alone in being alone. Besides thinking about music, I thought a lot about the lonely islands around the world that I happen to write about often. For example, there is the lonely cop in Tristan Da Cunha [1], the lonely islands whose residents were all removed for an American military base to be built [2], the lonely islands fought over between Argentina and Great Britain [3], the lonely island that is basically an ice sheet with some scattered fragments of coastal area with small settlements [4], or other small and scattered settler colonies [5]. When I thought about it, I realized I wrote a lot about lonely islands, at least in part because I can strongly identify with it. Sometimes this ability to identify can lead to suffering, but sometimes it can lead to a great deal of encouragement as well.

After all, our experiences allow us to relate to others. According to the author of the book I read today, a curious fear of the 21st century American is solitude. Why is this the case? Do we fear loneliness because it leads to boredom and we cannot amuse ourselves easily by pondering what a trip would be like from one isolated island settler colony to another? If no man is an island, how is it that we find islands so appealing as areas of study as well as places to live and vacation? Yet if we like the isolation of islands, how come we do not handle solitude well when our outside environment is not surrounding us with the beauty that distracts us from the voices inside our hearts and minds? If we cannot learn to deal with those voices, how will we ever feel comfortable in our own skin, whatever lonely islands we might find ourselves on.


[2] See, for example:


[4] See, for example:


About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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7 Responses to The Lonely Island

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