To begin with: Horse, Unicorn, Bear
It was gray outside. Maybe this will be the week that the rain materializes! I got up, made the dogs breakfast after letting them out, made myself tea, woke up the laptop, turning on my new found (courtesy of a neighbor’s giveaway pile) Sony boom box to the KPFA morning news. The day went on — no work! So I wrote some, drew some, walked the dogs, ate too many roasted almonds (I read that they are good for you, probably in smaller portions). Got myself dressed and propelled out the door.
Caught the shuttle to BART, thought about getting a coffee, trying to quit the coffee jag, took the escalator up and at the top, on the second floor, I was confronted by two characters in horses’ heads – one, a blue-eyed unicorn. I took a picture, the unicorn silently vamped for the camera. On the other side of the BART entrance is a new public art work about ten feet high, constructed of old elevator parts, of a giant grizzly bear, a sign explaining and honoring this near-extinct species. At its feet is a huge spring trap you can stand on and take a selfie — you and the bear. An aged tie-dyed pixie with a Celtic harp marveled at it. It is pretty marvelous!
I headed out to the Y for the boxing class, which is always both exhausting and invigorating, especially at the end, the soundtrack heralding the last round — ding-ding-ding! — and I am not K.O.’ed. Then, I went home.
Living alone, I can eat what I want, read what I want, get up and go to sleep when I want, don’t have to run stuff past someone else. I can talk to my friends whenever I want — most of who have families, a couple who are “empty nesters,” like myself. Sometimes I do get lonely but it is far worse being lonely when you are married.
Here is what else you can do when you live alone, and that is lick every bit of soy sauce from the bottom of your salad bowl. One thing to be cautious of is to draw the curtains. My table faces the back of my neighbors’ kitchen on Rio Vista Ave. Once, when I was rapturously lapping my plate, I noticed they were staring at me from their window.
I remember when I first lived alone. I never felt as though I was missing out or lonely. I was relieved that I did not have to put up with my dysfunctional family at holidays, I felt confident saying “no” to them and was relieved that I did not have to spend one more painful day with them trying to fake holiday cheer. It is tougher than faking during sex.
This past New Year’s, my daughter visited from college. She went off to her friend’s for the evening, so I was without my usual bang-the-pots-and-shout companion. A Y friend and her husband came over but they had to leave their dog in the car since he eyed my dog Munch with a little too much aggressive interest. Munch is a never-back-down, bark in your face small mutt, so they kept Pumpkin in the car and left after a couple of hours. I spent the rest of the evening dwelling on my solitude; binge watching semi-boring documentaries I rented from Berkeley Public Library. The neighbors from the Pinque Motel were having a jolly drunken revelry until they spent themselves a few hours later. The neighborhood bar has been closed for a couple of months so that previous parking lot madness had ceased until the new hipster bar goes in and the hipsters can pub-crawl from one end of the street to the other, ending in the cemetery at the end of the avenue.
The only reason I would share housing was if I were too broke to pay the rent any more — that is my fear. Or, sick. I dread both.
And there was Sam…
My friend Samantha lived alone. She had lived by herself for many years and seemed perfectly happy. She had a clever apartment she painted vivid colors, including the aubergine cement floor, and amazing artwork she collected over the years. Once she became mortally ill, her young nieces and nephews moved in’, scarpering off with all her stuff. When I saw one of them at her funeral, she tried to hug me. I asked her to get away from me.
But, also: Great Aunt Meta
That said, I also remember my Great Aunt Meta, who was a quite a bewitching bohemian old lady. She rented a room in a large house with a few other oldsters out in Los Altos. They had their privacy and, if needed, someone to holler to if anything happened. Even to my kid eyes, it seemed like a good set up.
There is a book — with a great cover — called Party of One. A picture of a lone sheep in a lush green landscape looks at you, dear reader, when you pick up the book. It talks about many famous loners and extolls the charms of solitary life.
April 12, 2015
Cinq Dix is a singleton whom chooses to remain anonymous.
This is part of the Who but You? living alone series. Check out the other posts! They are published every Monday.
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