Billy No-mates Speaks Out

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.”

– Albert Einstein.

“I sit here by myself and you know I love it…”

– Joan Armatrading, Me Myself and I.

You know, people often say to me “Don’t you feel weird sitting on your own so often? Living on your own?” And such questions, however well meant, still surprise me.

Ok, I could be accurately described as a loner. But you should also add to the mix that I am a perfectly normal (whatever that concept is nowadays), human being. I am still perfectly able to mix socially, and I don’t feel uneasy about the general scheme of things. Unfortunately, loners are still regarded as being a little different.

Words like insular, alone and apart have taken on a nasty tinge in common parlance. In the case of “insular”, its root is in the Latin insula meaning “island”. Well, I quite like islands, especially the warm, sunny ones with great sea views and attendant staff who are very tolerant of you after too many mojitos. So that’s cool, and I still don’t think that socially, I am unduly aloof, standoffish or rude.

Any more contention?  Well, it is still held that we loners make people uneasy. Look at him over there, reading a book. Billy no-mates. He’s a little crazy; what the Marseillais call fada. Really? Some of the most lonerish loners are resonantly sound of mind, despite prevailing logic that I and other loners “had a chance” to grow up sociable, but blew it.

Well, for anyone who feels that way, I have bad news for you. Isolation is in the eye of the beholder, and it definitely doesn’t apply to me. So, if you do see me in a restaurant or a bar, nose deep in a book, feel free to come over and say hi. I don’t mind, and I always enjoy intelligent conversation…

-But don’t ever come over and ask “Is that a good book?”




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