"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mistress Of All I Survey

Sometimes living alone sucks.

I've been on my own for six months now, and 99% of the time I love it. My space, my rules, my style, my stuff, my way. No roommates, no family, no compromises. I've got a meatless kitchen and a toilet seat that's always left down. I've got four closets all to myself. (No, I have not filled one with yarn. Yet.) I know where everything is, and it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else.

When I don't feel sociable (which is often) I can shut the door and throw the bolt and ahh...blessed solitude. If I'm writing, no one wanders in and accidentally blows my concentration all to hell. No one tries to talk to me during CSI, or dares to suggest that holding knitting projects is not the ultimate function of the coffee table.

However, there are times when I want to be around other people, to talk and laugh and interact, yet everyone I know is busy (I don't know very many people, actually) and there's nowhere to go but home. So I go home and shut the door and try to talk to the cat, but it's just not the same.

The cat, frankly, doesn't give a shit if you had a bad day and were hoping for an evening out with your friends to make up for it. Nor does the cat care in the least when you've got a raging case of writer's block, and furthermore the cat is utterly useless if you want to bounce plot ideas off of someone.

The cat also can't give you a hug when you need one, or smack you upside the head and tell you you're being a dumbass when that's what you need. The cat does not point out ever-so-delicately that the outfit in which you're trying to leave the house makes your ass look like a dirigible ready for launch, nor does the cat remind you that you're out of toilet paper, veggie burgers, and whiskey. (You know, the essentials.) The cat loves getting backrubs, but has yet to reciprocate.

Humans are hardwired to be social creatures. Even raging introverts like me have to get out there now and again. And when we're thwarted in that design, the primal brain becomes convinced we have been abandoned by the tribe and will promptly die. No amount of logic and reason will convince the primal brain otherwise, because it is not so smart. It is the primal brain which leads us to feel like crap when we find ourselves watching the Cubs game on television a few minutes before midnight on a Friday when we'd hoped to be down the pub with a pint and some old friends, even though these things happen and there's really no reason to get at all despondent about it.

Don't get me wrong. I love my new life. I adore my on-my-own-ness. I relish my privacy and my utter command of one tiny, overpriced, cat-fur-covered piece of the universe.

But once in a while...

...every so often...

...just occasionally...

...one percent of the time...

...it sucks.

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