Hello, my name is Kenechi and I am a hermit. Okay, that’s not true at all (although some people will argue differently). Hermit is too strong a word to use to describe my existence. So why make that statement? The busy festive season is upon us and I was forced to review my social calendar to ensure I don’t get caught out on stuff – making out time to shop for presents, catching up with friends over a glass of mulled wine or egg nog (neither of which I like so excuse me if I hug my drink for an hour), attending other non-festive events like baby shower et al. It occurred to me that I might not have a lot of time to sit around and do nothing. Yes, nothing. That’s my favourite part of the day. Doing nothing. Well, not nothing, more like resting after a busy day at the office. My free time on a weekday, after you deduct work related hours (preparation, commuting, actual work), is about three to four hours. Resting equates to reading a novel or watching telly as I eat dinner in my thick hoodie, jogging bottoms and slipper socks. Don’t get me wrong, I like being out and about, but I l-u-u-rve the warmth of my flat on winter evenings. Summer is for prancing around and getting into trouble, but winter, not so much. The problem is, sometimes, as I watch the many TV programmes which revolve around groups of friends (Girlfriends, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Happy Endings, etc) I wonder if I should go out more.
Yes, I know these characters are fictional but, surely, they are based on real people, even if loosely. I’m always tempted to ask, “Who lives like that?”, but people must do. The worrying thing for me is that these ‘friends’ aren’t just depicted as occasional social beings; they appear to be in each other’s business ALL THE TIME – yep, even in winter. They often live together, attend university together, work together, date each other, marry each other, holiday with each other – name it, they’ll do it as a group. In some cases, characters get told they’ve ‘changed’ when they finally break free of this mad cycle and try hanging out with or seeing someone totally different from the norm. Show writers (bless them) sometimes attempt to take the piss out of these relationships by throwing in scenes where characters try (but fails) to avoid the rest of the group. We laugh, but if you think about it, it’s not funny. Not funny at all.
These telly people also seem to have jobs which do not reflect real life as we know it. The writers attempt to give them jobs which span a good range of professions – chefs, doctors, teachers, architects, masseuses, bankers, journalists, actors. Great. But that’s where realism ends. No one ever works late hours (except to progress a dramatic plot line) and they can all somehow afford the same holidays. They can also get permission to take a day off with hardly any notice if they feel the need to be with one of their crew in the event of a (usually boyfriend/girlfriend related) crisis. All their spare time outside of work (or their communal flat) is spent in the same local café, bar or pub. The only time spent on their own are those brief moments when they are recovering from a heartbreak. Of course their friends never let this solace last as they feel it is their duty to interrupt and drag them back to the flock. I could go on but I’m exhausted just thinking about how involved these people are.
So, in comparison, my life of occasional evening outings (twice a week is surely healthy enough) and frequent duvet hugging is actually hermit-like. You know what? I’ll take back what I said earlier and make that declaration again – my name is Kenechi and I am a hermit. And I think I like it. Now where are my slipper socks?