I LOVE Living Alone...Most of the Time
Late one night/very early one morning in July 2012, a derecho wreaked havoc on a vast swath of the US of A. Not feeling well early in the evening before, I skipped my plans and fell asleep reading. I woke up naturally at approximately 1:15a—the light was on and the book was still in my hands. After a quick trip to the bathroom, I climbed back in bed and felt myself drifting to sleep. Minutes later, there was a low rumble of thunder; I worried I might need to close my windows (it was the middle of yet another heat wave and I don’t. Have. Air conditioning). Then there were a few flashes of lightning, but still no rain. I figured that if the rain eventually got bad enough that I needed to close everything, the sound would be enough to wake me up to handle bid-ness; once again, I closed my eyes. Then a GIANT boom of thunder got my heart pounding. The cat sprang off my bed in terror like a punk bitch and dashed under it. An even bigger thunder crack followed, at which point I developed sympathy for the cat’s behavior. Then we lost power (I personally wouldn’t get it back for 72 hours; friends in nearby towns waited nearly a week); the lightning commenced. The only way I can describe what I saw reflected on the ceiling above the bed I found myself unable to move from, is this: there was a giant disco strobe light in the sky. This went on for so long that I lost track of time. The wind howled, thunder roared, rain fell in sheets, and lightning flashed as fast as this thing shoots (to be clear, I am not pro guni); for the first time in months I thought Wow, I’d actually prefer not to be alone right now.
Then I felt kinda p*ssed off about that.
For most of human history, people did not live alone by choice. Part of why we were able to climb down from the trees (if this doesn’t disturb you even a little, you’re probably not my target audience) and trample the entire world climb up the food chain, is that we stuck together. Whether in small bands of hunter-gatherers, large and complex pre-industrial communities, or all the different groups that have formed in the last 15,000 years, humans have always lived together because it works—to a degree. One of the many, many new concepts for humanity is that, in first-world developed nations at least, living alone is not necessarily a death sentence. In fact, solitary living can provide many benefits, such as:
______not having to compromise on anything (what to watch, what to listen to, where to put golf clubs, etc.)
______not having to wish your significant other didn’t insert annoying habit here
______what this woman says
Excluding a brief bout of post-breakup ennui, I have been an affirmed lover of solitary living for the last four years (actually, even before I technically lived alone I knew that I loved it—no offense, Dad! Lots of offense, ex-ex-boyfriend who shall remain nameless…for now!). That being said, I readily admit that there are times when living alone does suck. Aside from occasionally being terrified during super scary alien storms, I also regret not having anyone else here to handle spiders. I’m not afraid of bugs—I don’t like them or anything, but I’m not afraid—but I do have a sometimes-crippling arachnophobia thing happening. That does not surprise me since phobias are part of the panic/anxiety spectrum and, you guessed it, I’ve dealt with anxiety my whole life (if you have too, read this—seriously, this book is amazing and inspired me to write the author a—possibly deranged—personal letter); but it does get on my goddamned nerves—once I was so flustered by the possible presence of a spider on my robe, that I ripped it off and involuntarily turned into Dr. Seuss for a few seconds: the bug is on my robe, is on my shoes, is on my rug! GET IT THE F*CK OUT OF HERE!!! (Okay, I can admit that that second sentence wasn’t very Seuss-ish).
Besides always being the spider killer, living alone also means that if you get hurt, you’re literally on your own to figure things out. What do I mean? Well, I have a cat…okay, I have two cats but technically one of them is my cat’s cat, so I don’t count that. Regardless of which pussy belongs to whom, they are both evil little bitches. For whatever reason, they LOVE spilling water all over the kitchen floor just because. I’ve figured out some ways to lessen the potential hazard, but early on I just kept taking my chances. One day I had the audacity to be talking on the phone as I approached the kitchen. As soon as my foot crossed the threshold, it flew out from under me, I slammed neck-first into the doorjamb, and the phone smashed against the wall and the battery flew out (the friend I was talking to at the time later reported that she assumed I was dead given the sound effects involved, and the fact that she couldn’t get through to me for a long while afterward. I will also note that this “friend” did not call 911 even though she was “very concerned”). I lay in agonizing pain on the hallway floor, unable to move or make intelligible sounds for who knows how long. I remember feeling afraid that I might be dying and also being embarrassed at the prospect of being found wearing such raggedy pajamas.
Despite the presence of nefarious arachnids and homicidal felines, (barring financial ruin) I don’t plan to live with someone again any time soon. Sure, that means I will still be the sole dish washerii, vacuumer, and garbage-taker-outer, but it also means I can decorate eclectically without fear of judgment, I don’t have to negotiate with a bed partner about who will face which direction (I have a *thing* about breathing in other people’s exhalations), and I never risk walking in on the olfactory evidence of someone else’s bathroom excursion (unless I have company or use a public restroom).
And I’m really okay with that for now.
iI would like to point out that I wrote this article loooooong before Newtown, and that ANYONE who still considers themselves pro-gun without a SERIOUS overhaul of American gun laws can F*CK OFF immediately, if not sooner. Thanks a bunch!