In my tent, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the woods, in the middle of Indiana, I was awake and I was alone … not lonely, alone. Traveling across the US on a putt-putt scooter at 40 miles an hour was doing what I had intended to do and I was more than half-way. This was not a painful ‘alone’, rather than a sought-after, peaceful, contented ‘alone’. In the quiet and darkness of the mountain tent, my thoughts turned to a childhood throughout which I enjoyed the company of a large, diverse group of people, typical of gregarious Italian-American family settings, but where I could, at times, remain by myself without feeling the need for company. As a kid, I had learned the value of being by myself from time to time, sometimes for many hours at a time and not being a part of someone else’s doings. I knew how good it was to do as I pleased without having to consider reactions, feelings, or the emotions of some other person … to not seek approval nor fear disapproval of whatever it was I would be doing, whether it was singing off-key, reading, or making farting sounds with my mouth on the back of my hand. It seemed I had always been pretty good company for myself, and never experienced a deep ’lonely’, as I knew other people did at times. Liking the person, oneself, that you’re alone with, is the key to enjoying solitude. That’s my guess. And no outside person enjoyed my strange or illogical ideas or ridiculous little jokes more than I did. Being alone allowed time and space for dreaming. Vaguely, I remembered a day, perhaps at age five or six years, when I realized how ‘unlonely’ being by oneself could be, but could not remember the circumstances leading to that discovery. I do remember startling myself with the sound of my own voice and laughing at that. Being alone was a gift I gave myself from time to time. Occasionally, a friend or family member would become irritated at my self-containment, my not feeling the need for contact. And I might act slightly remorseful when that occurred, but it wouldn’t be a sincere reaction, since I so enjoyed mini-vacations from people. Now the question in my mind concerned those few people I had known who could not tolerate being alone, even for short periods of time. If they found themselves in that situation, they would start the radio, and sometimes also turn on TV to produce the illusion of there being company. A few past friends had that trait, which I had found so peculiar, a little pathetic in fact. Those friendships had fast faded, probably because of my need to seek some distance from their neediness wondering what kind of mental quirk had driven it. Was that somehow similar to or related to the incessant need to talk? This was getting too deep for me, not being a particularly sensitive person, and not wishing to delve deeper, I’d have to summarize my thoughts: Constant talking was far worse than silence and being in poor company was far worse than being alone. I’d just let that stand on its own, alone.