Keeping The Distance
I'm Not Positive, But I'm Fairly Certain I invented Social Distancing…
How my transition from Type A Personality to Modern Mountain Loner prepared me for the current state of affairs
By twenty-seven, I had all the human interaction I could handle. I decided to take a leave of absence and seek to become a modern-day Loner. Let me preface this by saying, I generally believe there are good people in this world who live by sound morals and values. I've seen it first-hand. However, a couple of foggy decades on the other side of the railroad tracks provided me a broader section of our census. What does this mean exactly? Let's just say my road less traveled provides me insights most people never experience. I have a Masters Degree in each of our socio-economic classes, minus the 1%.
I'm fortunate to have so many great friends in my life despite vanishing for large chunks of time. During those absent periods, I was hanging out with people you would never want to meet, ever! I'll give you a quick example. Last year I stumbled upon someone who was down on his luck and didn't have anywhere to live. I gave him a place to stay periodically when the weather was less than formidable. I gave him food, a place to shower and do laundry, etc.
Eventually, the drop overs turned into hanging out all-dayers, so I decided to put an end to the visits. We had a conversation, it went well, and it appeared as if we were going part ways on good terms. This ungrateful prick had taken a photo of my debit card and racked up over $1000 in 16 hours—my biggest problem, allowing high-risk people into my life when I know better. I will never say that some people are inherently evil because some never had a chance to see kindness. My old motto was "lower your expectations in others; the only person you can trust is you." I've since switched it to "Let's just be upfront here, was is your agenda, and what should I look to replace." Why beat around the bush?
A MINI RANT APPETIZER:
If the government had hired me as a consultant in these matters, the bread and TP anomaly would never have occurred. Grocery stores are finally getting caught up on the missing inventory, but we had to clear-cut half of our forests to make up the deficiency. I think we can agree that TP and bread are not necessities when referring to survival. I'm still waiting to hear my first horror story from the communities deprived of these items.
I get it, we are creatures of habit, and if there is a shortage, our curiosity is provoked. It's a marketing tool for businesses. Create a deficiency, spike interest, sales grow, and when visible stock gets low, add it back into circulation when no one is around. Regardless, I'm grateful it was bread and TP this time around. It created a frenzy and an inconvenience, but that's all. I hope we don't see something like this ever again, but in the chance we do, I pray that it's soft and perishable goods folks squirrel away again. When everyone starts hoarding and stockpiling weaponry, we are in for a very rude awakening.
Investment Tip: Buy all the bidet stocks you can. The French were way ahead of us here.
Now, let's dig a little deeper into why I have been secluding myself from the world for over 20 years. I have always referred to the current terminology as "social isolation," and it was introduced to me in Jackson Hole, circa. 1996. Actually, I moved back there two more times during my, "well, I'll just pick up and move and start fresh" phase. Somehow, I missed the memo that your shit follows you wherever you go, so as you probably guessed, I moved a lot. Sorry, I got off track, back to Jackson.
I remember hearing someone on the Tram say 'No way brah, no friends on powder days," and it was a revelation. For the next couple years, I spent most of my time skiing alone and finding fresh tracks with me, myself, and I. I was really beginning to like this alone time, and I no longer had to listen to all those pompous assholes talk about how "sick" they were all the time.
After my 4-year stint in Jackson, I decided to follow a girl down to Boulder so that we could avoid the long-distance thing, brilliant! Two weeks later, we broke up, and I was back on my own again. At this point, I decided it was time to start my transition into a hermitism (def. below). I had never been more ready in my life. So, I began to do everything on my own, from climbing and backcountry skiing (neither of which I would recommend) to getting hammered. Ahhh, the isolation drinking, this was the beginning of the end for me, but again it's for the book.
Hermatism – My made-up word, meaning the act of willingly avoiding social interactions and using that elusiveness as a built-in excuse for being too busy.
I've compiled a list of things I have implemented into my life strategy to avoid people at all costs. I'm like the Tony Robbins of the Loner world, and I'm here to share some of my secrets. If you made it this far, you must stick around for these delectable insights. You never know, one of these may end up getting you out of a tough predicament someday: Here we go.
Be the first into the grocery store in the morning. Most of the time, it's only the staff, so the whole store is your oyster—no more playing bumper carts with the idiot who reads every label of every product. You can be in and out of the store in ten minutes, back to your place, and out of potential small talk in no time. The downside is that none of the registers are open, so you get to check yourself out. Still, a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.
Along the same lines, if you have a gym membership, be the first one there. Don't give me the old, "I have to work in the morning nonsense," not many people need to be at work by 7:30, so that's just an excuse to stay in bed longer. For those of you who do, my condolences and apologies. Get in, get out, avoid more small talk, and ride that endorphin buzz.
Never pick up your phone if you don't recognize the number, EVER! I don't think I need to explain. If you want to take it to my level, don't pick up your phone even if you know who it is. After you let it ring through, you now have a small window to come up for an excuse for why you didn't get to the phone. I'm a bit of a guru here, so you can't slide one past me.
We all have cell phones, correction smartphones at this point, and what are we doing all day long? We're staring at our phones. Try and be more creative, like, "sorry, man, I left my phone at the gym this morning, and I couldn't figure out what happened to it until now.' You can't argue that one unless you have been playing around on social media the whole time.
Never answer the door, EVER! The moment you give anyone the indication that you are home, your life is over. Grab all the sheets and blankets you have and cover all the windows. Then gather the provisions you need and sit quietly in a back room. Wait, scratch that, that was another phase of my life I'm leaving for the book.
I left the best one for last. However, to become a true isolationist, this one you need to get right. Stop accepting invitations to things like dinner, parties, movies, etc. There is no need to rush; you don't need to go "all in" right away. The goal here is to present the world with a busy schedule that doesn't exist. The next time you get an invite casually throw in, 'I'd love to but or I'm sorry but…" and eventually, the invites go away. Then the real miracle occurs, you are free to do what you want, when you want, with you and you alone.
These are just a few of the techniques I have adopted over the years to ensure that I can avoid small talk and social interactions. I could never understand how anyone could tolerate having the same conversation 20 times a day with a smile on their face. After two, I start looking for the nearest bridge.
Things have become a bit more complicated now that I have my own business, but I'm working out the kinks. I have people telling me that I need to be out and about because I am the face of the organization, which I guess in some ways holds merit. The only solution I have come up with so far is to wear a mask around town. Technically, that would make me the Tony Robbins and Daft Punk of the Loners.
Anyway, I hope I have not offended anyone with this journal entry. I know I needed some humor and found myself laughing pretty hard as I went back through and read this nonsense. In all honesty, laughter is the one thing that keeps me level. Without it, I would be in big trouble.
For anyone having their first experience with CREAG, part of our message is to try and keep things lighthearted. We are atypically under a ton of stress, and with all of this other stuff going on, it can be easy to go into a dark place emotionally. I hope someday people understand what we are trying to do as a brand and decide to join the HERD." I think it's time for a change.
"I KNOW NOTHING"
"I know nothing" is one of my favorite sayings and one that always throws people off. At first glance, you probably assumed I was being self-deprecating. The less knowledge I have, the more opportunity there is to learn. For me, it's my way of letting someone know that I'm listening. Every interaction we share with someone else, good or bad, provides more insight into our mystery. So, instead of moving my mouth, I revel in the silence and soak everything in like a sponge.
These past few years, I have made a tremendous effort to change the way I view things. I enjoy this new outlook and try and see the best, even in the worst situations. All I can do is keep moving, and when I fall, get back up again. I've made it this far, why should I stop now.