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I am a social animal

February 4, 2023

I do not thrive alone at the computer. I do not thrive in peace and quiet. I do not thrive with a well-defined problem in front of me, with my headphones on, and a whole day ahead of me before I have to interact with another human.

I cope with it.

I muster the energy I have for the day. I devise elaborate techniques to focus myself. I work pomodoros. I meditate. I put on white noise. I journal. I break the work down into little digestible steps.

And so I manage being alone.

Yet sometimes, all the efforts in the world are not enough. Sometimes, I require that precious fruit: Another human's attention.

I carefully leave the confines of my desk, and I slink around the office to see what I can scavenge. Could there be a quick little question somewhere? A second opinion? A clarification? Oh, lucky day, a full discussion!

On this morsel, I return to my seat-burrow and savor my prize. My back straightens. My mind clears. I have been sated enough to function, for now, until I next need to go foraging.

How I long for the revitalizing presence of another human's company.

Some days these little morsels are not enough. Some days, I am starved.

My eyes glaze over the monitor. My arms are heavy. My body cannot sustain itself on table scraps of human interaction. It howls for collaboration.

When I get up from my seat, and look around, I see other humans. Alone at their computer. In peace and quiet. Each with their own well-defined problem in front of them, with their headphones on, with no need to talk to another human.

The air in the office is still. And I would do well not to disturb it.

I sit back down in my seat. I look at the time.

It is winter, yet.