I am surrounded by people, but I am always alone. I have a roommate, who is rarely here. My family is near, but they have lives. My closest friends are very far-flung. I like my coworkers well enough, but that's work. I interact with children on a daily basis, but I wouldn't choose to be in the company of children if my paycheck didn't depend on it. I have a dog and a cat who are comforting, but don't really speak English that well.
I am lonely most of the time.
My life is not set up to interact. I do not have social hobbies. I don't go out. My animals only get me 8 out of every 24 hours, so I often feel guilty about going out and leaving them at home. I don't make friends easily. Dating has been an unmitigated disaster.
I check Facebook obsessively in the hopes that the little red notification button will be lit up, telling me that some sort of social interaction (however artificial and contrived it may be) has occurred. Someone in the vast world has noticed me, and thought fit to acknowledge my existence. The slow decline of FB is causing me panic, as it is my only source of friendly contact with others. My Google+ page is empty. I have no idea if it's a good platform or not, because I have precisely zero connections.
Perhaps it is the lot of adults to be alone. Perhaps this is why people have children. I'm not doing that, so I am more aware of the vast space between myself and other people. I have no play dates, no screeching toddlers, no mommy's groups to blur the void.
Abalones reproduce by flinging huge quantities of eggs and sperm into the ocean. These cells collide with one another, and another generation of abalones is born.
Abalones are essentially extinct in Southern California. There are individuals out there, to be sure, but they cannot reproduce. No matter how many eggs or sperm the individual abalone spills into the current, they will never be fertilized, because it will never encounter the eggs or sperm of another abalone. They are simply spaced too far apart from each other. They are alone.
I wonder if they are aware of their plight.
The irony in this little essay? It, too, is thrown up into the current of the Internet. It will probably never encounter another individual.
And yet I write. I hope it will make me feel better.