Jim Morrison described the early stages reasonably well, but I don't think he ever did it for long enough that it became second nature. Jim was gregarious. For somebody as charismatic as that it must be relatively easy. Or maybe not.

After the first thirty years or so, being alone can be very pleasant. You find things to occupy your time, and then you realize that you love those things and you're very good at some of them, and that you really don't like people very much at all. For me at this point, having a "social life" would be a hardship. I don't have the time.

You begin to realize that you don't need people in constant high dosages: They're not just unpleasant, they're unnecessary. You can live without them for the most part. It's an ugly fact that you can't ever be perfectly sufficient unto yourself, but the good news is that you can get a lot closer than most of us realize. You can shed that "need" you think you have for other people.

The Internet is great because it allows a certain amount of tightly regulated human interaction, and it filters out most of the annoyances: You don't have to smell them or touch them. You don't have to listen to their voices or maintain eye contact. Manners change: Emails can go unanswered for a few days. You can log in here and neglect entirely to say hello to the noders you sometimes "talk" to. You don't have to pretend to pay attention to people. You can wait to "listen" to them until a time when you actually care. Interaction with people is faded and diffuse enough that it's tolerable.

The nicest part is being able to walk down the street like a tourist from another planet, if that makes any sense. All of those people there are like cardboard cutouts; you won't ever have to talk to them, interact with them, make a good impression on them... You're free.

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