Sunday, July 11, 2010


I consider myself very lucky to live alone, for too many reasons to list (but let's not let that slow us down).

For one, I treasure the unimpeded access to all the food. I am happy to share of course, but there's nothing worse than finding out after a long hot day that someone else drank the last Coke. Well, rickets would be worse. But I take probably unnatural comfort knowing that everything is exactly where I put it. (When the BFF asked yesterday if I'd noticed that my tomatoes were growing through the deck stairs, I think my response was "DON'T TOUCH THEM!! I TRAINED THEM TO DO THAT." Even though of course I know she wouldn't have actually ripped out the vines I'd meticulously threaded through the trellis, she did say I looked at her like she was Veruca Salt-about-to-push-the-button "hey, what does this do?")

Then there's the free-range insomnia, not to mention my Rainman-aversion to human contact. And despite the fact that I was born into a house that did not have indoor plumbing, I quickly grew up to be a girl who considers sharing a bathroom to constitute third-world living conditions. Despite decades of serial boyfriends, I still don't typically allow sleepovers. When one of my coworkers recently asked "how does that ... work... exactly?" I had to think about it. Over the years, I've developed some variation on Last Call, along the lines of "ya don't have to go home, but ya can't stay here." She said something like, "don't they think that's...weird?" Hunhhh. I don't know. Maybe. I never really asked. I do know part of the reason my relationship with my ex-fiance was so torturous was not the long-distance part (which I loved), but the fact that he couldn't reasonably be expected to make the six-hour-drive home to his own bed every night when we were together. (I hinted, believe me.)


 The cutline with this photo reads, "Cats can turn when they're hungry."

Every so often one of those ("ahem") "news" reports surfaces about a single woman who died alone and her face was eaten off by cats before the neighbors were eventually alerted by the smell. I always assume  reports like this one are urban legend, in which "a dead woman was found eaten by her 20 cats." The commenters are clearly not too busted up ("And now, those cats, with a taste for human flesh roam the streets...who knows who will be next!" and "If she was already dead, why would it matter? It isn't as if they attacked her. At least, that isn't implied in the article. '...nibbled... AFTER she died....'") The stories come around often enough to end up on Snopes, at any rate.  But a real one also turned up on boing-boing just this week.

The thing is, I don't have cats, but just by virtue of living alone, I think the obvious eventuality of this fate has always worried my friends. In their minds, I think "Love means...At least someone will find the body." (If I ever get married, I plan to cross-stitch that on a pillow for my husband.)

As long as I had the dogs, they relied on them for my safety -- confident that if I say, fell down the basement stairs and couldn't get up, Travis and Martha were thoroughly capable of busting down the doors and alerting the neighbors... that their Iams was running low. Once the dogs died, however, I noticed I suddenly got a lot of daily phone calls. "So...whatcha doin?" "Um...nothin." "Well....ok, just checkin. SeeYaLaterBye." If I didn't answer, drop-ins ensued.

Then along came facebook and Twitter and they could relax. Even if they didn't hear from me for a week or two, they could clearly see that I was going about a fascinating daily life of dentist's appointments and deadlines -- alive and more or less un-molested by cats.

But of course there are lots and lots of things that shouldn't be posted via social media, and Ambien Walrus notwithstanding , there's a lot I leave un-reported -- mostly, as it relates to not invading other people's privacy. For example, my Ring-Toss-Ex hangs out here periodically, and while he's very happily divorced, I don't think his kids want to read any facebook updates from me about their Dad and the hibbity-dibbity.

More awkwardly than that, however....though we all amicably went to college together, he happens to have profound political differences with my gay-husband, and the two of them nearly recently tripped over each other at the back door. I'm ecumenically-non-partisan when it comes to half-time rituals (vote your conscience and we can all probably get along) -- plus, whatever goes in one ear, stays there (because I have no short-term memory) -- but it's nice to keep the peace. It's hardly crips and bloods when those two see each other, or even West Side story, but traditionally, one side doesn't mix with the other. My friends good-naturedly tolerated a marxist in their peripheral midst this spring, but I'm not sure they'd be so forgiving of a Republican, and I see no need to put them to the test.

So, after that near-miss, my gay husband proposed a social media cue that he and a few close friends could rely on -- whereby they'd all know that I was alive and well and my face was intact -- but that I was just "otherwise engaged."

And thus "mistletoe" became the equivalent of the tie we used to hang on the doorknob in college, but this place has three doors and it's just too confusing to keep up with all of them. Plus nobody can afford to get their Hermes tie stolen. Not even a Republican. Not in this economy.

No comments:

Post a Comment