I was pointed to an interesting article yesterday. The original article, from the New York Times, was modestly titled “One is the Quirkiest Number – The freedom, and perils, of living alone.” Of course, Gawker got right to the point, declaring “NYT reports that living alone makes you behave like an insane person.” Now, a couple months back, I wrote a post about my experience living alone for the first time, which has truly been an overall positive experience. After reading the NYT article, a friend suggested I write a counter-piece – so here we go.
First, to Gawker’s point, “insane” is a bit much. Here are the examples they give from the NYT article. None are terribly insane. A little odd maybe. And some are downright normal.
- Running in place during TV commercials (a bit strange, but if I had an elliptical in front of my TV, I’d totally do that. Well, I’d say I did anyway. But would probably just hang my bra on it (see below))
- Talking in conversational French to themselves (I’ve been known to talk to myself in Spanish. Just because I can)
- Talking to their cats (Ok, here’s the thing. Cats have ears. That means they can hear. Which means talking to them is not strange. It is perfectly normal to talk to anything with ears. Now, you start talking to your sofa, then we have problems)
- Using their dryers as dressers (I can’t judge. I’ve had my laundry basket full of clean clothes in my living room for a week. I’ve pulled all my undies from it this week – no clean ones in the drawers. You may call this lazy. I say to you with roommates/significant others: you’re just jealous!)
- Leaving their bras on the kitchen counter (Hmm… I don’t clean my counters enough to agree with this. But the coffee table, couch, recliner, floor, night stand…)
- Wearing special “home alone” outfits, such as “white flax bloomers that go down to my knee” (Ok, I don’t dress any different alone than when I was married. Am I wrong in thinking it’s normal for married people to hang around their houses in sweats and junky shirts? That’s why you get married – to not have to dress up anymore. What I enjoy most about living alone is that I can run around the house without clothes and not have to worry that I’m giving anyone “ideas” or having someone think I’m in the mood for “that” rather than just not being in the mood to wear clothes.)
- Subsisting “largely on cereal” (Depends on the type. Lucky Charms? Crunch Berries? Or Bran Flakes?)
- “Grazing” on “nuts and seeds” (Or Sour Patch Kids and Good N Plenty’s. Potato. Potahto.)
- Making dinner with “discrete objects” (Dinner out of whatever you can find in the house is perfectly legit. A baked potato is an entire meal)
- Drinking champagne in the shower “at 8 a.m.” (Why is this insane? Have you not heard of mimosas? That’s a breakfast drink!)
- Leaving the house without wearing a skirt (ok, this is a little insane. I have NEVER left the house w/o clothes on my lower half. Granted, I did once go for a jog in the evening and stop at Safeway for groceries before realizing my athletic pants were on inside out. But who doesn’t do that?)
- “Never, ever” closing the bathroom door (I have to close the door. My toilet paper is behind it. But I don’t close it tight. How else will I continue the conversation with my cats?)
- Making “huge mental efforts” to remember to close the bathroom door when guests are over (This is NEVER a concern. I am way too hung up on that. I still have been known to run the faucet too. Yeah, I’m one of those people)
What amused me even more about yesterday’s articles was that only an hour or so before I was pointed to these articles, I read one on MSN that tied in so perfectly. According to Travelodge, 35% of Brits sleep with a teddy bear at night. I wonder if these people live alone? Or if they’re interested in bringing their bear over to this side of the pond to hang out with me and my bear. This is Grumpy Bear. I’ve been obsessed with Grumpy since I was a kid. While I don’t bring him to bed every night, he has a position of importance on my night stand next to my bed. And he’s badass. You can tell because he’s hanging out with my box of Winchester .45 ammo. And he’s a good listener. You can tell that because HE HAS EARS. Perfectly normal to talk to anything with ears, you know.
Ok, fine. So maybe I’m a little insane. But who’s to say I wasn’t that way before I lived alone? And, really, I don’t live completely alone. I actually have two roommates – and great ones at that. They help me with my work, and have taught me how to nap without guilt.
I’ll end on a serious note. Living alone is actually nice. A little scary sometimes, but overall, I enjoy it. I have some bad habits I’ll need to lose before I live with someone again, but that’s not insurmountable. And, in truth, I do sometimes miss having the companionship of someone who walks on two legs instead of four. But, I heard somewhere a saying that has stuck with me. It is better to come home alone than to come home and wish you were alone. And that is the absolute truth. This past year of living alone, I have come home every night happy to be home. Happy to not be angry or bitter, but relaxed. I am not nearly as lonely living alone as I was when I was married. So, for now, I am content.