Being offshore is an excellent way of realizing precisely how much of your life has always been internal, because it forces you to think about just how little social contact you need. A rig is not necessarily a lonely place; it is, after all, full of people. But most of them come from very diverse backgrounds, with very different tastes, and you are not likely to have known/worked with more than the 1 or 2 people previously. You are required to either be indiscriminately pro-social, or to lead a mainly internal life. I am certainly not the former, so it is a relief to discover that I might be the latter.
My major method of coping- an entirely unoriginal one, of course- is to immerse myself in the consumption of whatever media I can get my hands on. A hard disk full of movies and TV shows is not essential, but it is a good fallback. The internet serves very well, although it would have been so much better if only it were just a little bit faster.
The biggest surprise, however, is that this has always been the case. It is amazing just how little difference sitting in a little metal box on a platform several miles from land makes to my major modes of relaxation. I surf the net. I check out what people are uploading on Facebook. I check out Twitter. I watch a TV show. I read a book. I chat with friends. I sleep.
And yet. The effects are cumulative. I might only spend a few hours every weekend “out on the town”, hanging out with friends or cousins or colleagues, but the absence of those few hours even for just a few weeks is massively erosive. And already, I am longing to be in a city again.
PS: The Matchbox 20 song is an inspiration- I am exploring the forgotten depths of my music collection, and heard it last night- but deals with an entirely different issue, as far as I can tell.