My Hermit Neighbor

I have a neighbor who calls herself a hermit. She doesn’t fit the classic definition[i]A hermit, also known as an eremite or solitary, is a person who lives in seclusion. Eremitism plays a role in a variety of religions. but, she displays many of the same attributes. She is a bit younger than I – maybe 70 or so. She has lived next door for almost as long as I can remember – 25 or 30 years or more. I have known her that long but never really gotten to know her well. We engage occasionally on some neighborhood issue but otherwise, she is mostly out of sight. She is personally pleasant and easy on the eyes. I suppose I have always found her attractive because of her self-styled TomBoy persona.[ii]She owns a horse, rides an ATV, and packs a 38.

She apparently entertains a man visitor from time to time but it appears that her best friend might be her horse. She says her husband left her 35 years ago but I don’t know any of those details. She doesn’t like resorts and goes to the beach alone. She claims to not be bothered by crowds as long as she doesn’t need to interact with them. She values peace & quiet and hates small talk – the interaction is stressful for her.

So what does all this have to do with me? I wonder if I should have become a hermit. I do my best thinking in the dark of night – no barking dogs, horns, or sirens – only stars shining down on me and my farm. I can enjoy clarity of thought and solve problems in bed that I could never sort through in the daytime with people around.  In contrast, I actually enjoy being around other people, as long as they are well-behaved, emotionally controlled, and reasonably intelligent,[iii]I must confess that I am deeply annoyed by people who believe in homeopathy, that vaccinations cause autism, that buying an electric car will slow climate change, or other similarly stupid things. but if I find myself in a crowded room of competitive talkers, I can sometimes barely recite the alphabet – not even the Latin one, and certainly not the Greek one.[iv]BTW, Joe, it is Omicron, not Omnichron.

When I was a business leader, I often noticed that I was not able to easily analyze problems in the normal business setting and I gradually became comfortable with simply taking a problem home to “sleep on” and magically the answer would pot out the next day.

Today when I have a difficult choice to make, I often go off to a quiet place and relax for a bit – sometimes even doze off for a few minutes – and my newly cleared mind seems to work better.

Maybe I am a hermit and didn’t know it until now.

By: Jim
Written: July 2022
Published: July 2022
Revised: 
Reader feedback always appreciated
footnotes
footnotes
i A hermit, also known as an eremite or solitary, is a person who lives in seclusion. Eremitism plays a role in a variety of religions.
ii She owns a horse, rides an ATV, and packs a 38.
iii I must confess that I am deeply annoyed by people who believe in homeopathy, that vaccinations cause autism, that buying an electric car will slow climate change, or other similarly stupid things.
iv BTW, Joe, it is Omicron, not Omnichron.