I obviously did not take this photo, which means Malcolm snuggles like this even when his daddy is home. But it's still adorable, right?
My honey is overseas for a few weeks, which has given me a lot of time to ruminate on my rare solo routine, and consider what (if anything) about it differs from when I’m part of a twosome. Once an intentionally single gal for several years (a topic for another day), I haven’t been unattached for about five years, which means I’ve almost (almost) forgotten if my single lady habits are par for the course.
I should point out that I actually like spending time alone more than most people I know. I consider myself fairly social, but my penchant for alone time has definitely led to friendship awkwardness at least once in recent memory when a needy acquaintance just couldn’t understand why I’d prioritize, say, sushi happy hour alone versus forced conversation with him. And this leads us to my first solo outing: foraging.
Sushi for one and the new Cheryl Strayed memoir (for an assignment but also SO GOOD).
Eat dinner at the bar alone.
My first full day alone this week, I headed to a sushi bar near my apartment that has a ridiculously cheap and delicious happy hour ($9 for dinner plus a generous tip, yo). My honey and I have a fondness for eating at the bar together -- seats are often available with no wait, we can touch legs while we nosh -- but I rarely go to dinner alone. I read a book like an awkward single person, but when my bike mechanic called and noticed I’d been sitting there for over an hour, I realized I wasn’t so awkward at all. I rather liked my perch and the new wave tunes on the speakers. I only went home because it got cold and dark, and I figured the cat would want to snuggle in bed while I finished reading.
Talk on the phone with a girlfriend for hours.
It could have been a total coincidence, but the night my honey went out of town, a writer pal and I had some work grievances to air. She called me around 8:45, and at 10:30, we realized we had some stuff to wrap up before bed and finally hung up. The following night, an old friend called to confirm tentative plans, and we ended up talking for an hour even though we’ll probably spend a solid six hours minimum gabbing in person this weekend.It’s not like I don’t talk to my friends when my dude is around, and I do set aside weekend chunks for faraway friends. But if I’m honest, I don’t know if I’d drop whatever weeknight couple thing we’d be doing if he were here to talk for quite so long. As much as I love him, it occurred to me that those late-night marathon phone sessions many of us had as teens were pretty awesome. Maybe I should start making time for them again. I’m two for two in as many days and loving it.
Movies for one!
I’m going to see “Friends With Kids” with one of the phone marathon pals, but I’ve got “The Island President” and “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi” on the list because I’m a geeky environmentalist and have a trip to Japan planned later this year. Also, I like movies. Do I have to explain why I’ll be seeing certain flicks?
Other solo shows should probably also be lumped in here, like the comedy show I want to catch next week (what up, Kevin Nealon?!). Isn’t there something terribly alluring about watching the craft of true comedy masters? I have concerts on the calendar too, but those are after my sweetie comes home so kind of ruins the theme here. Moving on...
Malcolm is sitting on my movie listings. I think he might want me to stay home, huh?
You know what I mean. Insert vagina euphemism here.
Bath time!I do this pretty much whenever, but it’s different when I’m alone because Malcolm the cat gets very upset with me when he’s left to pace at the base of the clawfoot tub without someone in the next room who will hold him. If I forget to tie up my hair, sometimes I suddenly find it tangled in an angsty cat’s paw -- while I’m in the tub and he’s on the floor beside the tub, hating water and dangling by his foot. We know how to party around here.
My Avon Topsy Turtle floating soap dish, courtesy of my parents' '70s marriage, is far cooler than a photo of my feet in the tub.
Get super freaked out that someone is trying to break in.
I don’t try to be hysterical about life’s potential bogeymen, but there was a robbery in my building a few months ago -- while I was home, no less (which I only found out later). I saw my burglarized former neighbor move out last week, wished him good luck in life, but couldn’t help thinking, I don’t blame you, man.
So when Malcolm stared out the bedroom window with that crazed wide-eyed cat look from his spot next to me in the bed the first night we were on our own, I shut off my flashlight (because I read in bed like a sneaky pre-teen, shut up), scanned the trees for skilled climber-intruders, and skulked around to check all the windows. I stopped short of looking up motion alarm systems online because nothing good can come of that at 1 am.
Attempt to limit Skype/Face Time reliance.
This is not the thing I do when I’m alone so much as a LDR best practice. It’s not that I don’t want to see my honey’s cute face. I just don’t want to relay every dull thing I did today or sit there and stare at each other and mutter, “I miss you.”
I do miss him, but I’m a big girl. I cried at the airport when I dropped him off, but I’m also the one who suggests we don’t try to talk at every single possible juncture. It’s a delicate balance.
Am I totally boring and predictable? Is this the same stuff everyone does when they’re suddenly and temporarily (or always and forever) a bachelorette? What else should I be doing while I’ve got some extra schedule flexibility?