On ‘Going Away’
Julieanne Smolinski

To disappear is to renounce all social connections, whether you’re retreating to a hermit’s cave, running away to a Caribbean beach, or abandoning your social media connections. It’s never been more or less anti-social than it is today.

If you want to disappear today, you become a Homeless Person. At times of particular stress, I think about it. Just walking away; discarding all possessions, even my name; staying anonymously in tents or shelters; not worrying about the job and the mortgage, but only about whether I’d panhandled enough to eat dinner at McDonald’s.

I would spend my days at the Library, staying indoors in the air conditioning, reading, using the Internet (though I don’t know what for). It’s a comfy hermit’s cave, with unlimited books. I might become very wise. But why?

I’m not really a people person, but I have discovered I need at least a few real, actual people. I dread the thought that my wife might die unexpectedly, because then I would need to date. It’s too horrible for words, but I think I’d do it, because the entropy of alone-ness is complete. If a hermit dies in his cave, and nobody knows, did he ever live? The risks inherent to dating are less horrible than this nullity.

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