The year of living alone

July 12, 2018

The year of living alone officially ended on May 4th, and about which and who will follow in coming blogs. Earlier, in March of this year, a friend asked if I’d ever allow myself to be with someone again. ”You don’t have to feel it as a betrayal of Carolyn, you know.”

   Of course, I know, I told her. “My head knows it, but my heart hasn’t caught up.”

It's going to get slept in again anyway

It’s going to get slept in again anyway

   The main thing I learned in being alone for the first time in more than forty years is how much of a child I was able to revert to in a very short period of time. A spoiled one at that. I did nothing that I didn’t want to do, and that amounted to a lot. Although I read, wrote, jogged cried a great deal, much of my idle time was spent idly passing the time. I didn’t have anything pressing to do, and I accomplished all of it with a carefree aplomb and cheerful sense of purposelessness. I was not unhappy with my lot in life, so that meant I must have been generally satisfied and content.

You eat three times per day. It saves time to just clean up once. And time does that go again?

You eat three times per day. It saves time to just clean up once. And time is…how does that go again?

   I got into new routines, like not making the bed and leaving the toilet seat up. I cared little which way the toilet paper unfurled on the roll. I left the dinner dishes until the following morning, even when I had spaghetti and a caesar salad for dinner the night before. Eructations common to the middle-aged American male were no longer accompanied by the immediate heartfelt but meaningless apologies. Same for scratchings and rubbings generally observed only during major league baseball games, which, incidentally, were on with the sound off from ten in the morning till ten at night.

This way I know where everything is

This way I know where everything is

   In short, except for the physical evidence of respiration, there was correspondingly little evidence of actual life. Had paramedics been called to investigate apparent inactivity in the house, they would have reported that rumors of my death were simultaneously premature and presumptive. I was living life free of purpose, direction or urgency, save for those moments when I’d awake from a second nap and realized there was precious little time left in the day for a third.

   I’m aware that what I’m describing should be defined as depression or even despair, but i was neither. I’d awake each day filled with the life force to do nothing, and retire each evening satisfied I had accomplished all I’d set out to do. No projects were left undone or self-improvement goals unmet, because none had been started or aspired to. So why let a person enter such a life to throw a monkey wrench into all…what exactly?

   The first thing I noticed when a new companion had entered my life, was how quickly I’d abandoned all those perks of being alone in exchange for the pleasure of making someone other than myself happy. I found that days filled with concerns and the well-being of another made the days pass breezily by. I learned the art of conversation, like riding a bicycle, is something not lost by disuse, though it can return with a gush and flow of a dam breaking after a long layoff. Life itself returns to Technicolor after a year of black and white, with ample scenes of real life replacing the CGI of empty daydreams.

   Suppose it’s time now to meet this miracle worker, someone who’s apparently done her bit to save one member of mankind from himself, and tell a little about her.

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