Chief Inspector Lewis asks pathologist Dr Dobson what her specialist subject would be if she were to appear on Mastermind. ‘Corpses,’ she answers.
Lewis smiles, observing that the subject might not be a barrel of laughs.
Dobson then turns to Lewis. ‘What would your subject be?’
‘Apart from work and the kids, I haven’t got one’.
‘What about loneliness?’ asks Dobson.
He turns and looks at her. ‘Pass’.
Of course, Lewis is a fictional character, a spin off from Morse. Kevin Whately, the person behind the persona, is undoubtedly a person very different from Chief Inspector Lewis.
So, if Laura Dobson is correct and Robbie Lewis is in the Mastermind class for loneliness, then he is the one with whom I would identify.
My supervisor writes books on solitude, considers the advantages of times of solitariness, but there is a difference being solitary and being lonely.
Solitude is something chosen, it is presumably something enjoyed in some way. Loneliness is more to be endured than to be enjoyed. What enjoyment is there in being alone without an option to be otherwise?
Accused of being narcissistic in an exchange on a social media platform in the springtime, an online search for narcissistic personality traits produced a list with which I could identify.
The traits, though, were not marks of narcissism, but of echoism. When I pointed out that these were the traits with which I identified, I was told that it was simply my version of narcissism, that I was like an alcoholic who refused to admit that the problem lay with me.
The exchange proved to be the last I would have with the person who had spent the previous five years pointing out to me all of my obvious failings, together with some I had never even imagined. I was told that I lacked the emotional intelligence to recognize what was wrong with me.
Perhaps it is such interactions that have made the loneliness, no matter how unhappy it may be, a least worst option.
Perhaps Lee Marvin’s lines in Paint my wagon represent not misanthropic sentiments, but an accurate assessment of a situation:
Do I know where hell is?
Hell is in hello
Heaven is goodbye for ever, it’s time for me to go.
’Only people make you cry,’ captures a lived reality.
Perhaps loneliness is just something that you get used to, like grief it doesn’t go away, but changes.
Were it to be a Mastermind subject, I could do well.
A beautiful song about loneliness. Footsteps Fall sung by Eddi Reader.
Thank you, beautiful indeed.