the lost man chronicles
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mary poppins was lonely too

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?
~ Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles

Yesterday I stopped by to see my new friend Camila, the 80-year-old Bossa Nova bombshell.

She greeted me with a casual smile and a welcoming, “Ei belo, como elegante olha hoje!” Her age was glowing, for few other people I knew could be as gracefully aggrandizing as she.

We leisurely sauntered into a conversation which lithely and languidly touched upon a little of everything.

She shared a letter with me which I had noticed she was touting about, an invitation to sing for the honorable governor of New York, George Pataki, at an event that was scheduled tomorrow, that is, today.

She beamed about it with pride and read an excerpt to further impress me with. I smiled in reply presuming that her boast was a warm mixture of self-expression, amicable predilection, genuine glee and a tad of what all we lonely people are apt to do when we have something new to vaunt about.

The blathering that ensued all but confirmed my intuitive inductions. At one point she invited me to stay at the dream ranch she was planning to build alongside the Mississippi River, “Oje, belo! I’m going to have horses and lots of snakes—I love snakes! E minha pistola, my gun, because you have to have a gun in the wild, my friend!”

She commented that she felt easy with me, because she “knew.” She explained that she was “..uma mediúnica. How do you say it…psychic” and so she could tell right off the bat that I was an agreeable person and deserving of the same intimacy she shared with her family back in Brazil.

Zany as she was, she was making it quite difficult for me not to take a strong liking to her.

And so, it was also getting harder minute by minute for me to pull away so that I could return to the office. For I was not only paying her a friendly visit in earnest, but I was also there to conduct business as well, looking to get her to sign a contract ensuring her performance at the company holiday party I was ushering along.

Toward the end of our time together she imparted a loosely woven anecdote about how one of her fellow residents once almost-accosted her with an almost-angry query concerning her signature smile and her trademark glee—“Camila, don’t you ever get sad? Why can’t you feel anything? Don’t you get lonely?”

Camila conveyed to me with a grave tone, “Can you believe that? Of course, I get sad every once in a while. I’m as human as anyone else. Look,” she pleaded, as she pinched the skin on her arm. “If anything, I feel more than others, more because I am an artist and I need to understand how we feel more than others in order for me to convey real emotion in my music.”

“And yes, I get lonely too now and then. But when that happens—you know what? I rather just pick up my guitar, chant a little swoon and forget all about it, so that I might be harmonious and happy.”

“Belo, we always have a choice. And thank the gods that I still have my voice so that my preference might be heard! We alone can make a difference in our lives. We alone can realize whether we are happy or sad. Even when we are alone.”

“Besides, I have had many years of solitude to learn how to live fruitfully, joyfully on my own. And you know what? Over the years I’ve met many-many married people who were much lonelier than me!”


In grad school I once participated in our annual follies show, performing a parody of Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

Gads, what a shameless and aureate cad I was back then. (Uh, helllloooo! Back then?)

I had sung and danced a number of times before in both high school and college, but this was the first time I was neither part of the chorus line or as a faux diva lip-synching my way through. No, I actually sang solo this time around. And, supposedly, as some allayed, I wasn’t half-bad either.

Anyway, I think I had mustered enough courage because I was both bored and lonesome. But not in a sad, sulking way, but, much as Camila conveyed, in an Oy vey, what the hell, celebratory banter with onself that acknowledges that we all get lonely sometimes and we can either waste our time wallowing or we can swallow our pride and have some fun. For ultimately, we are all merely human and afraid to stand alone before the crowd, to express ourselves out loud, and we are all equally apt to feel the miles blues every now and then as well.

I believe this is what a lot of passions are really about. We take some activity of interest, blend it with some talent, a lot of perseverance and an arduous effort, and combined it makes the means by which we escape the ennui.

Some do it by making the office their second home, others take an avocation or a dream and provoke it into an all-consuming preoccupation. Some like to dance and sing—all the time; inclined to tip and tap and do re mi fa lo where ever they swagger, signing and dancing and gracefully staggering with broomsticks, coat racks, umbrellas, and penguins even, but most often simply alone and happy in the rain.

Many more people make relationships their thing, the long-term fling that defies reality and reason, and futilely attempts to mold someone else into a custom-fit fashion for all seasons, a ready-to-wear make-over elixir, the attentive and affectionate boredom fixer, that will always and forever be there to help us forget the loneliness we all will always feel, as all humans do once we leave the womb.

In sum, I’d dare contend that albeit we are all always lonely, some of us deal with it better by simply deciding to be more often happy than we are designed to be blue. For it is hard to feel otherwise if you realize how fortunate we are just to be alive, to vibrate and shine under the sun; to be one with everything and everyone who we might have a chance to love and laugh and sing and dance with if we just take one step at a time with a little bit of supercalifraglistic grace.

I wonder if you’re lonesome tonight
You know someone said that the world’s a stage
And each must play a part.

Fate had me playing in love you as my sweet heart.

Act one was when we met, I loved you at first glance
You read your line so cleverly and never missed a cue

Then came act two, you seemed to change and you acted strange
And why I’ll never know.

Honey, you lied when you said you loved me
And I had no cause to doubt you.
But I’d rather go on hearing your lies
Than go on living without you.

Now the stage is bare and I’m standing there
With emptiness all around
And if you won’t come back to me
Then make them bring the curtain down.

~ Are You Lonesome Tonight?
made popular by Elvis,
written and composed by
Roy Turk and Lou Handman

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