Losing Another Community§

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: June 4, 2007; revised: April 24, 2018; readers in past month: 558

MySQL Meeting
Prague, May 2004

When the hurricane hit New Orleans about two years ago, my community was dispersed. When I left the U.S. and came to Italy, I lost more connections to my community, to my communities. One community I took with me, though, was that of my co-workers at MySQL. We interact primarily through IRC (Internet Relay Chat) — it’s similar to Yahoo Messenger, but for large group chats. Wherever I go in the world, all I need to do is to connect to the internet and start my IRC client program and my work community is there. It’s like a portable community of co-workers and friends. It’s not the same as an in-person community, but it’s a good substitute, especially since I see many of these people at conferences and at other times. It can be quite a comfort to me.

Soon I may be leaving MySQL. I’m in talks with someone about a new writing and editing project that may start at the end of this Summer. When that happens, I will be severed from the MySQL internal IRC and that community. Yet another community of mine will be lost. That will basically be my last community to lose and I really haven’t replaced any of my communities yet. I’m starting to create new communities for myself, but there’s not much depth to them yet.

So I will spend my days in Milan in further isolation. It’s a sad thought to be sure. I’m getting used to working and living alone, but it’s hard. It’s depressing at times and not altogether mentally healthy. In some ways it’s making me stronger, but in others it’s not good. I can fall into emotional slumps and take days, weeks to come out of them.

There are times when I consider the idea of living with someone else, either another guy as a roommate, or a woman in a romantic relationship. Just this past week one of my co-workers from MySQL came to town and spent a few days at my apartment. He was very nice and considerate, but me having to be considerate of him was difficult. I’m so used to sleeping and working when I want, of going places when I want. Having to coordinate with him was irritating. I’ve spoiled myself. I’m having a hard time trying to imagine living permanently with someone again. I know it’s possible, but it’s going to take some major adjustments.