“More loneliness than any man could bear/Rescue me before I fall into despair.” – Message in a Bottle by The Police

A new issue of The Tides of Time, the fanzine of the Oxford University Doctor Who Society is out online.  It looks interesting, but I’m not sure how much I’ll read, as it has already provoked mixed feelings.  Partly this is from feeling that my time in the society has long gone.  The new issue, although containing many articles from people who have left or were never even there has little from people who were there when I was there.  Even the nickname of the society has changed from the Doc Soc (my generation) to Who Soc.  I’m very much out of the fandom loop, which is why (I assume) I missed the call for articles on Twitter.  Fandom today, as far as I can tell, largely takes place on Twitter and big, multi-fandom super-conventions like Comic-Con, neither of which are good environments for me, for different reasons.  Plus, modern fandom is so political, and these days I keep my politics to myself to keep myself safe, but it’s often different from (stereotypical) fan politics.  Add in that I didn’t much like the last series of Doctor Who, unlike the reviewers in the fanzine, and it’s hard to find common ground, and when I fail to find common ground with people, I read that, perhaps wrongly, as implicit criticism of my positions, and run off before people can attack me.  I feel like if I could have stayed in the loop, I could have promoted my book more (not in the fanzine, but online or in person), or would have had more friends to promote it to, but it’s rather pointless to go down that route now.  But there is a feeling of loneliness from having lost (or never had) these kinds of friendship networks.

Speaking of which, after I posted on Thursday, before Yom Tov, I realised what the nagging sense of melancholy was that I was experiencing: loneliness.  I feel that today, the feeling that I can’t connect with people.  That the attempt to live two lives, one religious (Orthodox Judaism) and one secular (Doctor Who fandom, and secular life in general) has failed, and that neither appreciates or respects the other.  E. has remarked that Orthodox society is often uncultured, which I can’t deny is true, to some extent at least.  It can be rather bourgeois.  I try to put up with it, but I worry that she won’t be able to.  I worry that I will just drive myself crazy trying to find people I can connect with, then running away from them when I find them because I think they must hate me really.  Hiding parts of my personality all the time.  This is basically what I have done for the last twenty years or so, since I went to university.  Kafka writes somewhere about someone chained with one chain to Heaven and with another to earth, so that he can’t move in either direction.  I feel a bit like that.

All that said, I have opted to renew the subscription on my Doctor Who blog for another year.  Just in case.  Now I need to find something to write on it, and the time to write it.

I am feeling lonely today though, ill at ease with myself and the world(s) around me, the one world I see on the news and in the papers and the other world I see on Jewish blogs.  I also feel depressed, which I suppose ties in with the loneliness and also with the world I see around me.  It’s scary to think that I could potentially be living in the USA in a few years time, looking at the stuff on the news.

I’m trying to practice “radical acceptance” of my parents’ quirks and foibles, accepting things that I can’t change.  It’s difficult.  It’s even harder to apply it to my neighbours’ behaviour.  The latter is very hard, because, as well as lockdown-breaching minyanim (prayer meetings), they had a noisy garden party with I think more than six guests (possibly six adult guests, but a load of children too), and not at all socially distanced.  From the conversation that drifted up, it sounded like one of the guests was trying to convince our neighbour to keep his minyan going after lockdown.  If they did that, I think I would alert the council to an unauthorised change of house use.  This has happened before with shtiebels (tiny synagogues in houses or above shops) that have been started without the necessary permissions.


I applied for a job a while back that was rather rashly advertised in lockdown.  They have now cancelled or possibly just postponed the interview stage, but have sent me a cataloguing exercise to complete.  I’ve glanced at it and gone into panic mode.  I have rather lost confidence in my cataloguing abilities, although they used to be good.  I feel like the gunslinger who has lost his nerve and with it his ability to sling guns quicker than other gunslingers, or at all.  I suppose failing at this at least avoids the face-to-face nature of the interview fail.


Other than that, it was a fairly ordinary locked-down day.  I spent about two hours working on my novel, writing just over 1,000 words and struggling against the noise from next door.  I went for a half hour walk and had my Skype Torah study session with E.

Mum cut my hair.  Most of it, anyway; I trimmed the sideburns.  I don’t think it had been cut since February (February 6, according to my private journal posts).  Mum did a good job, but I had to trim my sideburns, which I’d left long when I shaved off my omer beard, as they looked silly with shorter hair.  This is a shame, as I like having longish sideburns.


Towards evening, depression set in, and guilt.  I felt bad that I ate dinner separately to my parents so that I could watch TV.  I felt bad over something I had done repeatedly in the past, something forbidden by Judaism and sometimes seen negatively more widely.  Although maybe this guilt is a good thing, as I’ve been going back and forth in my mind about including this in my novel.  It probably is an issue worth bringing up (in the secular world, even more so the religious one), but I’m scared of how people will respond, whether they will judge me, boycott my book or ignore the other messages in it, about autism, mental health and abuse.

11 thoughts on ““Rescue me before I fall into despair”

  1. I am sorry you’re feeling low again. Some people might judge you for your book, but some people will admire you and think you’re doing a good thing.

    I feel sad to have missed the whole Doctor Who club (club because I don’t know the word–interest? bandwagon? Nothing sounds right). I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV growing up or go to movies, so I never had a chance to get into it. Is it the older Doctor Who or the newer one that you prefer? I wonder if it would appeal to someone who has never seen it before? I’m afraid it might be like Star Wars that I never got to see at the time and now don’t “get” because I missed that window of time when it was really cutting edge. Many of the people I’ve met and liked have been big fans of Doctor Who, so I know it’s probably something I would have enjoyed.

    Yes, the US is an absolute mess right now. I can only hope that we get a new President with a good (or at least better!) heart in November who will help bring people together rather than divide them. It’s a big country, though, and what we see on the news isn’t happening, at least to this degree, in the suburbs. And this is such a weird time with the pandemic preceding the racial tensions that it just makes things worse.


    1. I prefer the older Doctor Who although I do watch, and usually enjoy, the new one, although I found the series on a couple of months ago disappointing. I don’t know if you would enjoy it; I feel like I’m not the best person to ask, as it’s too bound up with emotions for me.

      The US is a mess. Sadly, I think Trump is going to win the election in November, as I think Biden, although the better candidate, is not going to be inspiring to most people, plus Trump has a degree of low cunning that lets him manipulate people into doing what he wants.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If it feels like people don’t accept you, hate you, etc., even though you’re putting in all of the effort to hide half of yourself, is it worth revisiting the idea of hiding half of yourself? If the consequence of being open is that people don’t accept, hate you, etc., perhaps you’d be no worse off, but spared the effort of hiding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is kind of the $6,000,000 question. I think the consequences of revealing my true self with frum people are too big, and too likely to be negative, to risk. I did try it a little bit on Purim when I dressed up like the Doctor from Doctor Who and no one really noticed, which is kind of good and kind of… almost disappointing, in a way. I don’t think I could get the courage to do more, even with the few people at shul I feel somewhat safe with.

      As for revealing my religious self Doctor Who fans, I do it a bit, inasmuch as I wear my kippah (skullcap), but I try not to make a big thing out of it. No one really says anything, but I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. But I don’t really move in fan circles any more.

      I don’t know, maybe this whole issue is completely, or at least mainly, in my head, but I’m scared to confront it and don’t know how.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I didn’t mean to complain. I know I’m not on Twitter and Facebook, and that I miss out on a lot of stuff that way as people don’t remember that I’m not there, but the cost of those sites is still far greater than the potential benefits.

      Thanks, I would be grateful for the review!


  3. Accepting others’ foibles is a difficult undertaking, but then I remember how people have to deal with mine. I talk too much, and am way too cheery in the morning! I’ve never gotten into several series, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Outlander to name a few. I think it’s too late for me to go back and start them, especially WD because I consider zombies silly. Can E. move to where you live because the U.S. is a real mess right now?


  4. I don’t have the problem of being cheery in the morning, far from it!

    It’s unlikely that E. could move here for various reasons that I don’t want to go into publicly.


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