The Loners

Every night on my stroll home from nowhere I pass a warm-looking farm-to-table restaurant. It's new. Or new to me, anyway. When I lived here last, nearly two decades ago, it was an art studio. It sits on a corner, across from a 14-room pied-à-terre. The front door opens to a narrow, one-way street that leads to downtown proper. A wrap-around window effuses haute hospitality onto an otherwise dark side street that looks every bit Tim Burton's Gotham on the two nights a week when the restaurant'

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16 thoughts on “The Loners

      1. Sir, this was your best piece ever. It was a wonderful piece of research. I would have added one other observation. Not only is college attendance shrinking, but in some areas only around thirty percent of the students are men. What are the rest going to do?

        I don’t do social media to speak of. I have only two real friends, one of whom is my daughter, who doesn’t actually like me right now. My definition of a true friend is someone that will show up in your hospital room, when you are at your worst, ignore all that and just have a really nice chat. My wife was my absolutely best friend for more than 53 years, even though her Alzheimer’s prevented her from knowing me or speaking with me for the last five years of her life. My daughter didn’t show up in my hospital room when I was there for a really big moment, my second brush with death. In that moment she took the phone call from my surgeon asking what items of my critical body parts he should try to save and what he could let go. She told him to save them all and he did. It took three more hours and I did die briefly during those hours, but I did come back and got to keep all the most important bits. As soon as the surgery was done and I was conscious, my daughter said goodbye, turned on her heel and drove five hours back to her home. I didn’t see her again for eight months.

        Incidentally, as to that book, the key is the set up (you know that, I’m sure). When you get the front part the way you want it — it could take months (I know how hard you worked to get this piece right; thanks for that) — the rest of the book will just pour out. After I got the first two chapters of my dissertation right, I wrote the next 150 pages in three contiguous 18 hour days, by hand on foolscap. I couldn’t tell my committee because they wouldn’t have believed me. I did my first actual book in 13 weekends, one chapter each weekend, also by hand. In both cases, the last page caused something like an orgasm. BTW, I want to be the first to read that book of yours. Robert Waller, my late friend and boss, wrote the Bridges of Madison County in six days and I was the first to read it. He only had to change material on six pages. It’s crazy how this works. Take care sir. Be careful in that city.

        1. Mr. Lucky, you have disclosed little pieces of the haunting story of you and your daughter here, in these pages, over the years. I hope you and your daughter find a way to put the past behind you. She may not fully realize this- but she probably needs you more than you need her.
          You have so much to say- and if I were your daughter, I would be checking my mailbox daily with the hope that dad had sent me another letter, in a series that is telling me a really long and a really important story. 🙂

  1. The digital anthology of the monthlies is a worthy substitute to a book. They are all really well written, and cover a lot of topics that have a number of common threads. They provide a thoughtful interlude to the daily onslaught of news (macro, geopolitical, markets or other trivial pursuits we entertain).

  2. These monthly missives have become my favorite read on the H Report, and this one in particular might be the one I have enjoyed reading the most, well worth the price of admission.

  3. Worth the wait from the Travis Kelce of the online reporting world (from the standpoint of wardrobe) 🙂
    There is actually scientific evidence that supports the importance of positive, meaningful human connections on overall health. In studies on the physiological effects of loneliness, the level of cortisol (stress hormone) has been found to be significantly higher in persons who say they are lonely compared to persons who do not describe themselves as lonely. Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to higher levels of chronic stress/health problems and one study equated the impact of loneliness on the human body to smoking 15 cigarettes/day.
    Positive, genuine human relationships require effort and prioritization- hard to do with so many online distractions. If we think things are bad now, just wait until AI begins to interject itself into human relationships.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Judging by a lot of e-mail feedback, this one seems to have resonated most out of all the monthlies so far. Next one’s in progress. Should be pretty compelling too.

  4. Great piece. Thanks.

    Echoing calls for a book. I hope you share a deep look at the cosmic shift(s) you experienced and are experiencing…since you made the turn away from self-destruction. Research is done.

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