Friday, August 26, 2005

Six Rules of Hermithood

First of all, I want everyone to know that I adjusted the comments setting to require the "word verification" for comments. Of course I really don't want to do this, but the number of recent spam comments was getting quite out of hand. I may change it back sooner or later, but for now I'm going to use this feature.

So it's Friday evening and I'm being a total hermit. A few friends mentioned going out for drinks or just hanging out, but I declined. Just not in the mood for socialization beyond the barest minimum tonight. It was a long, long day at work and I have research tomorrow and Sunday, so I'm just in the mood to do my own thing tonight, to enjoy my own company.

Based on documented habitual behaviours, I have discovered several cardinal rules one must follow if they wish to progress along the path to Hermithood. I've practiced these for many years and will now share the Ancient Secrets:

1. You don't open your apartment door when someone knocks because you're not expecting company and don't want to be bothered. I'm rather bad about this most of the time and it's something to which new friends always have to adjust. I'm certainly not being rude (OK, maybe a little rude) it's just that I'm not fond of people dropping by unannounced. A simple call beforehand is sufficient. It's a courtesy thing, mind you.

2. You don't pick up the phone when people call. OK, I'm bad about this too and it kinda defeats the purpose of the "courtesy call" in #1. But then again, if I'm not answering the door OR picking up cell phone calls it means that I want to be left alone. And the home phone? Pfffffffft. Try to call that one. I never pick up anyway. Damn telemarketers.

3. Even if a friend offers to buy the alcoholic refreshments, you decline to go out because you'd rather stay home and read. This doesn't happen all that much, but there is historic precedent for this phenomenon.

4. It's late in the evening and you're sitting in the living room listening to music or watching a move. You hear someone coming up the stairs of the apartment building. As you live on the top floor, it's someone for either you or your neighbor across the hall and she's almost as much of a hermit as you are. A 50:50 chance someone is going to bother you. So you hit "pause" or turn the volume waaaaayyyy down in hopes that they'll think you're not home and go away. You listen to the steps as they climb the final flight to the landing. Are they heavy or light? If keys jingle, it's just the Hermitess across the hall. If they knock, see Rule #1.

5. You've managed to evade calls and people knocking on your door. You sign on to AOL to check email or catch up on the news. As soon as you hear "Welcome" and "You've got mail," you instantly enable your "away" message to avoid unwanted IMs. It's a competition really, as some friend familiar with this phenomenon will try to to beat you to the punch, to squeak a message in before the "Be Right Back," "I am away from the computer," or "Go away!" messages pop up.

And lastly....

6. It's Friday evening and you're sharing online the Great Mysteries of Hermithood.

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