I've very little to blog about lately (though I suspect there is a book review and a couple movie reviews percolating). So here's something horribly self-absorbed and non-topical.
Today as I was out for a walk in L.A. I thought about how small my social circle has become. As I passed thru the lobby of the hotel I saw a number of other pilots (some of whom I knew) chatting socially as a group before heading out to eat together. Seems innocent and normal enough. But though I'm on friendly terms with at least one of them (and he almost surely would have invited me along) I kind of instinctively slunk past without attracting notice and headed off for a walk and lunch on my own.
Part of this is pilots generally. I spend enough time around them to know that I'm almost certainly not going to find myself in agreement with any of them in regards to politics or religion or education or the media or the environment or marriage or movies or books or music or much of anything, really--except maybe some isolated topics of a flying nature (which I get quite enough of at work without spending my lunch talking about it). And I'm virtually guaranteed to take umbrage to the tenor of conversation among a group of them over a meal in a restaurant--in much the same way as I know in advance that I cannot bear to be in a room where Fox "News" is prattling on the TV. So I avoid most pilots actively except in specific circumstances.
(A standard disclaimer for my standard rant: I try not to apply an automatic value judgment to this situation [hey, how am I doing?]; I know that many of the guys I work with are smart, capable people who are living good lives by their own yardsticks. I certainly can't claim to have accomplished anything more than this myself. But I can count on the fingers of one hand or so the number of pilots I've met in 15 years in this industry that I call close friends. From the outset in this career I did not expect to find myself in philosophical agreement with my coworkers, and that has proven largely true. So be it.)
But there's something more than this at work here. It's not only because I don't care for the company that I spend so much time alone. Over time I find that my circle of friends has gradually diminished until I find myself now spending my non-working time about 49% with my wife and 49% alone. I've lived in Appleton now for eight years, but if my wife is working I basically hang out at the house by myself. I wouldn't even know who to call to do something socially. This is certainly odd.
Even in high school I was much more of a few-close-personal-friends kind of guy rather than a million-acquaintances one. And when I got to college I established a different, but similarly small, set of friends. But for whatever reason I find these isolationist tendencies increasing, and I seem to become more and more reclusive as the years go by, even to the point of actively avoiding circumstances where I might meet people I actually like. My schedule contributes something to this, I know, as I am quite unreliable for scheduling much of anything; but it's all fertilizing the same trend. I honestly think that if I worked for Pixar or as a staffer for Mythbusters or as an editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune I would find my coworkers much more stimulating--or at least not so oppressive that I'd want to slash my wrists the way I would now if I payed attention to them. And I might even have a social life, perhaps even a vibrant one.
Is that something I want? I don't even know, really.
I don't mean to complain; life is really, really good and I'm very happy. I don't know that there's any problem here that needs solving.
But I couldn't help thinking that my reclusiveness has become a bit conspicuous.