In English below!
Jag står i köket en dag och gör en äppelkaka för en då jag hör ett stillsamt skvalande från en granne, jag hoppas att det är från kranen i dennes kök, men nej – strax därpå följer det brusande ljudet från en toalett. Så lyhört är det här, men vem som kissade vet jag inte och grannen vet inte vem jag är om jag kissar och spolar i toaletten. Jag kommer hem och jag lämnar min lägenhet osedd och även om en toalett i någon av husets lägenheter inte skulle skvala och brusa i veckor, ingen skulle slå larm. Förr i tiden när folk bodde på landet var och en i sin lilla stuga och ganska långt från varandra, då hade folk koll på varandra. Om ingen rök hade synts i en stugas skorsten på två – tre dagar gick grannarna och kollade om det hade hänt något.
I was in the kitchen one day making an apple pie for one when I heard a quiet flowing sound in the pipes in the wall at my left and coming from a neighbor, upstairs so I believed. I hoped it was water flowing from the tap in they kitchen, but no – right after that followed the flushing sound from a toilet! So that’s how poorly sound-proofed it is in this house and my quiet new living, I noted while went on slicing the apple! But who tinkled, I don’t know – and the neighbor doesn’t know who I am either if they would hear me pee and flush my toilet.
It was no benefit for my cooking appetite, this. But I got the pie ready and brought it with my coffee to the living room. It didn’t taste so good though, but only because I had spiced with cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon. In the living room I often hear another neighbor cough and cough repeatedly on the other side of the wall. It sounds like she’s having a bad and long-lasting flu and I feel a bit guilty about watching TV after midnight, maybe disturbing the sick one.
I come home and leave my apartment unseen and even if my toilet would not flow and flash for weeks, no one would raise the alarm. In the old days when the most of the population lived at the countryside, each one family or loner in their cottage and a bit far from the others, people had a check on people around. If no smoke had was visible from a chimney cottage for two – three days, people made comments about it and neighbors went over to have a look if everything was okay or not.
Today, most of the western countries’ populations lives close to each other in cities (in Sweden almost 90%). We have what people didn’t have 75 years ago, a welfare state with social insurances providing the most basic needs for everyone. But you don’t know the neighbor next door, the one you incidentally may hear pee when you make an apple pie but still thereafter may die and stay undiscovered for months until the stench becomes unbearable in the stairwell; someone to call the landlord who call the police to break up the front door.
One reason a lonely death can be undiscovered for a longer time is “direct debit”. If you have a pension and a bank account with direct debit paying your rent and electricity and this can work long after you are dead. This kind circumstances around lonely death happens in Tokyo, New York, London and Stockholm.
This was what happened to young Joyce Carol Vincent, whom Carol Morley made a documentary about 2011. And it even happened in my earlier living in an apartment house in the same small town as now a few years ago.
(I wrote a poem about this shocking experience and a woman reading my text wrote me assuming it was fiction and I told her back it was not and she got upset because I had wrote about it. I didn’t understand why and I still don’t? Lonely people avoiding others becomes invisible, but I think even grumpy loners deserves to be seen, or not? I still remember him, his name was Petersen.)
Another reason to become isolated while still alive and breathing is the Internet. Yes, I know it is said the Internet combats isolation and connect people and it is true – to some extend. But nowadays you can do your daily errands on the Internet: buy groceries, clothes and everything else you need, like order a pizza and pay your bills. You can even see a doctor online!
Yes, you can do almost everything online, never forced to meet anyone but the deliveryman. But you cannot get pregnant. And the only good with a dentist is you can’t get a tooth fixed on internet. And so far you can’t vote to the parliament on Internet. If you have good teeth and cut off your society and real and loving relationships you never have to leave your flat and you never have to meet another human in flesh before you are carried out by the funeral conveyors. Thus internet is a double-edged sword.
With Internet no one can touch you, but the modern society in which you live gets too vulnerable. This latter worries me a lot. Yet banks and authorities stubborn impose on us their services the Internet and it is impossible to find an office in the city to get to talk to a real clerk about any errand of yours. Never in flesh, hardly by phone “visit our website with your personal in log”, you are told! And I hate the thought that my personal medical record is online and if the electric or broadband is off (and it actually happens all the time!) I can’t get my medication at the pharmacy.
(Society’s expanded dependence on the Internet and the rulers’ blind trust in it and nativity or nonchalance regarding security routines is simply a catastrophe in certain coming. And further, I am convinced that the Internet will not exist forever but have its timeframe – and then in a future, where is then all the documentation constituting our societies? Gone! Back to the trees or the narrow caves, everyone! Well, it will at least solve the loneliness issues among us!)
But when psychologists (those writing information to you online, I’m thinking of) declare that Internet combats isolation and connects people, they refer to peoples private lives, not to any big effects on the society any of us live in. And it is true: you can get friends online. My social life is certainly online!
But I meet too often two types of ”friends” on the internet: those who never can talk about sensitive and personal things but just claims that one should be ”positive” and ”happy” (and believe in God!) (and eat healthy) – and then those who just whine and whine about their lives as if they were the only ones having problems and shortcomings in life. And then there is the third type who writes nothing more “how are U” all the time. Therefore my friendships online are easy to make but never long lasting. Because even if I’m told I’m kind and tolerant and patient, I’m really not.
And on this personal level – it is the lack of to talk to another person in flesh that makes people sick. Internet can NEVER replace that! Oh, you can get an animal – it’s a good idea as by touching a pet you can get healthier and cure much sadness and sorrows. But humans needs the touch from another living and warm human body to stay alive and to not become unhappy. Not even my lovely cat can replace another human that I can correspond with. Nature made the humans like that so we would survive as a species! To collaborate and seek protection in each other.
Loneliness can be okay really, but to feel shame of being lonely is not okay. Unfortunately loneliness in the modern society is very much connected to feelings of shame – and it should not be! The lonely one is as good as anyone else and if lonely people only could realize this they could live a pretty good life and join in wanted activities without hesitate of shyness.
But to suffer from loneliness is maybe a kind of luxury, as it requires some developed welfare in a society for a single person to recognize this need of others and then to suffer the lack? So if you have your basic needs but yet suffer from loneliness, it’s just a symptom of the progress of your society? But I guess this statement by me gives no comfort to you? Well, it doesn’t make me happier either. But I’m a woman and as such I talk about phenomena with no aspirations of giving solutions. We just must talk to each other and never withdrawn from others in shame of what we experiences as shortcomings. It can be a suffering to be alone, but it is a concrete situation to deal with without negative and disease-causing feelings.
Around Christmas and New Year, it writes and talks about loneliness in magazines and on TV (in Sweden), as if it would be particularly more painful at these occasions to be alone at home! And “the society” (=people) seems to mean that loneliness is something that you must be cured of, like with head lice or something similar unpleasant! And it is also assumed easy done with right shampoo and to only join different social activities and events that’s around you, always are in the city.
I really don’t know if loneliness always needs to be ”cured”? I also don’t know why those better-knowing- for- others people believes that drinking coffee with someone you don’t have the least in common with, except loneliness, would be a pleasure? It is a pain, trust me on that! It’s just like going to a prostitute and then calling it a love affair, is it not? Well, that’s how I feel about it anyway! And those easy-fixers-better-knowing people, they forget you can feel extremely alone in a group of people!
Luckily we have in our societies something called ”culture”, those collected experiences from centuries back expressed in different forms, which can compensate you who lives today. You have books to read there to meet like-minded you maybe can’t find in your living context. You may find yourself fulfilled study art or ancient architecture or train history. Or something else similar that’s meaningful to you. It is in this framework you also have the Internet as a rescuer in need.
Simple apple cake: Button a form. Slice and apple and crush some hazelnuts. Put apple slices, hazelnuts, cinnamon and bread crumbs in a small plastic bag and shake it all together and pour into the cake tin. (You can of course also spread the ingredients by hand in the oven dish.) Add a table spoon water to the bottom. Cover with sliced butter or a piece of oven foil. I spare the sugar as I’m a diabetic. It becomes a habit, live without add sweetness to life.
(Serve with low carb ice cream or vanilla sauce.)