I is for Isolation

One of my favorite movies of all-time is Cool Hand Luke, as well as the novel by the same title. I used to quote lines from the movie during an argument, especially Strother Martin’s famous “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

But one of the haunting memories I can’t shake is the count at the end of the day. The second boss, or whatever he’s called, calls out the count, and at the conclusion, he says, ” . . .and one in ‘the box.'” The box was short for icebox, or a form of isolation, a punishment. It sat away from the the prison barracks, and was barely large enough to fit the prisoner standing and sitting, along with a bucket for him to relieve himself.

The sun beat down during the day, heating up the box so that it would have been much hotter even than it was outside.

Alcatraz, the famous prison now closed in California, had prisoners sent to “the hole”, a sensory-deprivation chamber located on D-Block. In psychiatric hospitals, when a patient is considered out of control, unsafe to himself or others, she is taken to a “quiet room.” It usually includes: a bed, padded walls, and absolutely nothing with which to harm oneself.

Why did I start the post this way? As a contrast I suppose. Some people practice self-imposed isolation. As a child, I practiced isolation as a matter of surviving a chaotic and unpredictable time.  I hid in my closet, or made myself scarce in other ways. Books, writing, and TV became my very best friends.

But as I grew up and got into high school and then college, this pull (and it’s . . . like a muscle memory, I really fight against it) toward isolation came at me again and again. It wouldn’t work if I wanted to make friends, even less if I wanted to keep them.

Just recently I read The Introverts Bill of Rights, and realized that’s TOTALLY me. So it makes sense that I’m wiped out after a social event. It’s OKAY that I need down time after I visit with a friend or after something particularly intense. There’s even a right in there about parking near the get-away, which I’ve always done, and I thought I was the only person who did that!! 😀 😀

So what about you? Have you discovered something about yourself that surprised you? Do you isolate, or are you a closet introvert? 😉

Go, seize the day.

Peace out.

4 thoughts on “I is for Isolation

  1. Oh, gosh, me too! I’ve done that. Though sometimes I do it unintentionally, and it’s called panic. lol I can be in a crowded room of people, listening to a conversation, and suddenly I’m just watching the person’s lips move and not hearing a word they’re saying. They don’t seem to notice because I still nod and smile, I just don’t say anything back. 🙂 The only person who used to know when I got in this mode was my sister. She’d come and rescue me during a family gathering by gently touching my arm and bringing me back to reality.


  2. I don’t need to retreat to a physical place, though sometimes that’s comforting. But I’m pretty good at disappearing into my head while it looks like I’m still sitting here.


  3. I used to hide in my closet. I’d be tempted to do it still, but the closets are too full for my adult-sized body. I do sometimes go sit on the stairs away from everyone else just for a bit of quiet, though.

    You know, I’ve never read the book or seen the movie? Philistine, I know!


    • Erin, you might have a bit of introvert in you! And – it’s okay if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie. You’re still young. 😛


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