My father told me during my rebellious teenage years, “Just please go to college.” After a few scrapes with boys and drugs and sex, I did. I went to UCLA and studied English, where I was introduced to Jean Rhys, the Caribbean-British writer whose turbulent life was filled with lovers and failed marriages, alcoholism and poverty, trips across the continent and even a stint at Holloway Prison.
As a junior I read Good Morning Midnight, a 1938 novel in which an aging beauty named Sasha wanders Paris after an attempted suicide in a London hotel room. In one scene, she daydreams:
Perhaps one day I’ll live again around the corner [...]
Forever alone. Go, wallow. We'll wait here for you to get back.
Or will we? The wind blows a leaf past your bench. When did it get so cold?
We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.
Another day, another popular piece about the lonely sterility of the internet versus the good old days. This one's by Sherry Turkle for the New York Times, and she ends it with a half-hearted call for "conversational Thursdays" (casual Fridays' socially inept little sister), among other proposed solutions. It's a nice piece, like the Atlantic one [...]
Now that you've gotten rid of your two best friends, pillows and cocaine, what's left? Nothing, only hot water.
The greater the feeling of loneliness, the more baths or showers a person is likely to have, the longer they stay in and the hotter the temperature. Warm physical experiences were found to significantly reduce the distress of social exclusion.
Moreover, "The lonelier we get, the more we substitute the missing social warmth with physical warmth," says one of the study's researchers. Imagine if Sex and the City were one woman and three bathtubs!