I think that's what I'm feeling these last few days.
Which is funny, really, since classes have started, so I'm on campus every day, surrounded by people, and I talk to three classes worth of people seven times over the course of a week.
But I also find myself listening to all sorts of conversations going on around me (it's hard to avoid it from my office, as there is for all intents and purposes no sound insulation on our floor - especially between me and my office neighbor to the right, who was joking the other day that we should just switch offices and see how our students reacted). And when I hear people I know talking, I feel left out. Which is absolutely silly - people are allowed to talk to each other with having to include me! - but there is that little part of me that feels like things are going on around me that I'm not part of, and I'm not part of them because people don't like me, I'm tedious, no - I'm invisible...
And this is especially silly because if there is any isolation going on, it's of my own making. I don't get a lot of research work done in my office, so I try to minimize my time spent there (obviously, I'm happy to meet with students whenever they need it, but otherwise I want to be elsewhere, especially at home, where I did get into some habit of working, over the summer, when it was too hot to go anywhere). The majority of my time on campus is spent teaching. I hate going over to our dining hall unless I've already wrangled a lunch partner, because I'm too chicken to go over there without knowing I'll have someone to eat with, but two of the colleagues I used to eat with are gone, one of my colleagues that I would happily eat with usually goes home for lunch, and everyone else has a teaching schedule opposite mine, so they eat earlier or later. And the truth is that yes, I know there are lots of people over there eating, and plenty of them are even nice people, and I'm sure I could find someone I know to sit with, and if worse came to worst, I could just plop myself down with strangers and introduce myself. Or even (horrors), eat by myself, which actually I don't mind at all, but no one seems to eat by themselves here, so I feel conspicuous when I do, and worry that I look anti-social and unfriendly, since other people tend to plop themselves down with strangers and introduce themselves...
Hmmmm, neurotic much?
Anyhoo, the point I was trying to make before I revealed all my mealtime social insecurities, is that I'm the one isolating myself. The long-distance marriage thing exacerbates this, I think, because it makes socializing a little complicated. LDH likes the colleagues/friends (because let's face it, the only people I know here are colleagues) of mine that he's met very much, but when we only get to see each other on the weekends, it's easy to get into the habit of hoarding that time to ourselves. When he's driven seven hours at the end of his work week to get home to see me and the cats, he doesn't always have a lot of energy available to get to know new people. And since I'm too chicken even to go to the dining hall without having a lunch buddy lined up, you can imagine that I'm ready to eschew meeting new people, too. I'm really bad at taking up social opportunities at the best of times.
It doesn't help much that our apartment, while large for a 1-BR, and lovely in many ways, isn't well-suited to hosting anything ourselves at this point - it's suffering from the effects of squishing the contents of a 3-BR house (and three cats!) into a smaller space. We still have some boxes from moving in two years ago (how pathetic is that?), the bathroom's a little icky because of the two litter boxes, and we just have stuff everywhere (LDH's biggest peeve! poor boy).
Though really, what I have to do is either to clean the place up, or get over what it looks like, and have some folks over here...
So yet again, this is a phenomenon of knowing what I need to do, but somehow not really doing it.
I am trying - I had lunch with a new faculty member recently (and she was very nice!), and I've e-mailed a couple of people about doing lunch. I do have a standing weekly lunch with the person who's probably my closest friend here, and we're starting an exercise class next week.
But isolation is just so easy.