October 18, 2020:

I should underscore: I was never a loner.

I have always been gregarious. Happy to talk with people, easy to get along with. That never changed, even with depression.

My point is that in my gregariousness I was false. In each of my circles I presented fictional personas, outgoing but fake, and the different circles were unaware I moved easily between them.

It was all about maximizing my freedom, which is to say, minimizing potential control over me by others. If people lacked accurate information they were unable to intervene, even if "intervene" merely meant pass on accurate information.

That, and the fact that much of what I was doing was illegal. I was habitually truant, frequently high, most definitely scornful of rules. Rules were corrupt, the people who enforced them arbitrarily authoritarian, and I realized as early as fourth grade my best chance of minimizing their input was to prevent them understanding what I was up to, or where.

Consequently I had many acquaintances. The acquaintances perhaps thought we were friends, but they were mistaken. More accurately, deceived. In truth I had just one real friend, Craig, my neighborhood bestie. He was the only person to whom I did not lie, or present a false identity. All others encountered fraudulent images of myself which I had no trouble sustaining. I could talk with anyone, so long as it was nearly all invented.