Thursday, August 8, 2013

Climbing Up The Walls

"I am the key to the lock in your house
That keeps your toys in the basement.
And if you get too far inside
You'll only see my reflection.

Do not cry out or hit the alarm,
You know we're friends 'til we die.

And either way you turn
I'll be there
Open up your skull
I'll be there
Climbing up the walls

It's always best when the light is off,
It's always better on the outside.

So lock the kids up safe tonight
And shut the eyes in the cupboard.
I've got the smell of a local man
Who's got the loneliest feeling.

That either way he turns - I'll be there
Open up your skull - I'll be there
Climbing up the walls.

(Radiohead - Climbing Up The Walls)

Note: I read a blog post recently which made me think of this song, which I used to think was about the lunatic in your head but have come to realize is about loneliness. 

I met a woman recently who, because of a confluence of events, lives alone in a small room because her house was totalled by Sandy.  She told me that living alone, in a confined space, has made her bonkers.

I read a blog post about a person who, through a confluence of events of their own making, also lives a very solitary life.  And also appears to be going bonkers.  Or as Roger Waters would say it - Over the rainbow.  Toys in the attic.  Crazy.

Hugh Grant's best role (not saying much, I know) was Will from About a Boy.  Great movie.  In it **MINOR SPOILER ALERT** Will learns that "no man is an island", a cosmic shift in his mindset.

No one is really meant to live alone.  No one is really supposed to face all their troubles and unwind their burdens without some aid.  A shoulder to cry on.  A rational mind to discuss things with. 

And the longer one lives alone, the deeper their problems root in their own minds.  Or:

And if you get too far inside
You'll only see my reflection

There are monsters all around.  Child molesters, murderers, people who just want to harm us for their own benefit.  Ofttimes we cannot protect ourselves against their randomness.  But can't we at least protect ourselves from...ourselves?

I've got the smell of a local man
Who's got the loneliest feeling

And no, I'm not talking down to people who aren't married.  I didn't suddenly find a way to be un-lonely.  Even in my darkest periods I had Tova and David as a friend and maybe one or two others if for no other reason but to shout "woe is me" to the heavens and have them look sympathetic.  (As an aside, why David still chose to marry me after this behavior is up their with those mysteries such as the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti and Bigfoot.)

You don't need to have a significant other to not be alone.  Friends, family.  They are there fore for you if you let them in. 

You choose to be alone on your own. 

Sometimes you do it because, deep down, you know you need to bottom out.  And you don't want your friends watching you disintegrate before their very eyes.  And honestly, that is noble (if not a bit dumb).  Tearing yourself apart, for whatever reason, is not a pretty scene.

But other times, and worse, you systematically shut off each and every relationship - close down to every hand offered in friendship or even love. And you don't even realize you are doing it.  And before you know it, the phone isn't ringing, the text isn't buzzing.  You truly are what you wished for - alone. 

And that's when the wheels start flying off.

Without sounding boards to bounce things off of, you start taking your own advice.  And you make stupid decisions.  And you start wallowing in self-pity.  And you develop body issues which you deflect by casually writing about how everyone is always telling you how mad hot you are - while bemoaning how un-hot you feel you are.

Mixed up, muddled up, stuck up.

And either way you turn
I'll be there
Open up your skull
I'll be there
Climbing up the walls

But it's not their fault.  It isn't that "all people besides me are dumb" or "the real one for me will fight their way through all my defenses". It doesn't work that way.  That's the attitude of a person who takes only their own advice.  Who has lost a grip on reality.  Who is sinking deeper and deeper into the types of despair that lead to very dark places.

Loneliness is a terrible thing.  I have many times in my life felt completely alone in the world.  But i wasn't, not really.  and that kept me out of the abyss  - which is truly bottomless.

I feel for the lonely.  But I also decry the ones who do it to themselves. 

For the deeper you root in your solitude, the harder it is to climb back up the walls.


  1. Yeti and Bigfoot are the same mystery...just a different region of the world.
    Same category as the Abominable Snowman.

    Thought you'd like to know :)

  2. As an adult, I continue to be astounded by the people who are there for me even when I am so blinded by emotions and circumstances that I cannot see them. I am truly blessed to have such people in my life.