Damn I wish I could write as well as Roger Ebert.and he writes about loneliness better than me and I'm one of the lonely people he writes about. Dam. I was reading John Elder Robison's book about his life with Asperger's and I was struck by a comment he made.
"Many descriptions of autism and Asperger’s describe people like me as “not wanting contact with others” or “preferring to play alone.” I can’t speak for other kids, but I’d like to be very clear about my own feelings: I did not ever want to to be alone . And all those child psychologists who said ”John prefers to play by himself” were dead wrong. I played by myself because I was a failure at playing with with others."
That pretty much describes me as well. To put it in a nutshell people with Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD) are smart people with the social skills of a ten year old. It's frustrating, even heartbreaking when you know you lack the ability to connect with others. Everyone wants to be noticed, to count, to have meaning.
I live alone. I'm not married, don't have kids. I have three siblings, few relatives and only a handful of friends. The only legacy I have is more than 35 years of diary writing. What is their value? I have been journaling as a way to vent the emotions and desires I am unable to communicate to others because they don't understand where I'm coming from. Imagine being trapped in the hellish angst of a teenager and you have a fair idea of how I feel every time I go to a social gathering even at fifty.
Primitive societies have found the harshest punishment they can mete out to criminals in their tribe is to ostracize them. Banished from the people they have grown up with, they wither and die within months. Everyone wants to be wanted, loved and acknowledged. It's just harder for some than others. Remember that the next time you meet someone.