On Being a Shut-in

Each of us knows at least one person who is a shut-in. There are different reasons for being a shut-in. If one is infirm, disabled, or functionally incompetent, obviously one has no choice but to live in the small, contained space of their home, which may be limited to one small room.

Another reason to become a shut-in is fear; the outside world has become too onerous. One fears one’s own incompetence. The home is a safe haven requiring no responsibility or accountability to the outside world.

Another reason, the reason mariner chose, is disgust and helplessness. It’s not so much he chose to become physically contained but that he has shut off news of the world – entirely. Not even reading websites of excellent repute. Mariner subscribes to a few top-tier magazines that lie on the table largely unread.

Mariner has lamented countless times about an electorate he perceives to be absent of any intellect whatsoever, any tiniest bit of compassion or integrity, and chooses to dwell in a land of misinformation, prejudice based on nothing, and accepts as true only those opinions and facts that fit the needs of one’s personal hippocampus.

Then there is the feeling of helplessness. Mariner is an old sailor that has lived a lifetime tilting at windmills no one else felt were important. The presence of Donald and dysfunctional legislatures across the land have induced great frustration and anger in mariner. He lives in a nation that shot dead the leaders of unified government, the Great Society and Civil Rights yet today would rather believe religiously in unfounded, false information and support only the most base interpretation of human rights and dignity. All the while, a kleptocratic President feeds the oligarchical power of an economy that does not include 99% of the electorate.

Having become a shut-in is clearly a different experience. The days are pleasant and mild; one notices how well the lilies bloomed this year; one putters in the workshop learning new woodworking techniques; one follows with little interruption the progress of tennis tournaments.

True, a feeling of uselessness pops up once in a while. In a relatively short amount of time mariner has retired from his job, divested real estate holdings, sold the farm, and is aware that grandparenthood, however pleasant, means one is not on the first team anymore. But mariner’s frustration and anger subside. It is possible to feel ‘normal.’

Do not feel obligated to draw mariner back into the real world run by the electorate; no matter the result of any election or legislative act, it still will be the world that frustrates and angers mariner. Being a shut-in can be quite palliative.

Ancient Mariner



3 thoughts on “On Being a Shut-in

  1. I am so sorry that Trump has beaten us into the ground, aided and abetted by his base, and the Republican Party that goes along with his repugnant personality and policies in order to get whatever it is they want. Power, I guess. It is a long, strange time in this country. It is no wonder Mariner wants to secede. We used to take cookies to the shut ins at Christmas time, because we thought the cookies would help to make their day a little brighter. I would bring cookies to Mariner’s door, but alas, he is on a carb restricted diet. Maybe that is part of the problem!

  2. Very, very sad. Almost like our friend Robert Barnes who has chosen to “live”in a nursing home where he has access to cable TV and the internet rather than actually work with a real doctor to regain the ability to get out of a chair or bed and be able to go home. I understand your malaise and feeling of hopelessness. I guess I’m almost with you in staying aloof from politics and preferring to work on language dictionaries and aged records than take part in protests or hand out flyers. I still vote, write scathing comments on Facebook, and sign petitions and occasionally write to Congress people, but that’s about it. But I still can see glimmers of hope and I’ll hang on to these faint hopes until Trump has been re-elected, then I’m pulling the covers over my head.

  3. Maybe instead of thinking of yourself as a “shut-in” you should use the term “shut-off”. You have shut-off the outside world in order to save your sanity and to better find your inner peace. The chaos and confusion will take care of itself just as you should maybe take the time now to take care of yourself. Focus inward to find the answers, the peace, love and joy that are in your life and get to know “thyself”.

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