Me and my ‘not husband’ always take one solo vacation a year. I usually visit my “other family” in Virginia, now Mississippi. He usually grabs a tent, grub, bike, some clothes, and heads far from cell service….which we do together frequently, sans bikes. He bikes cause I won’t. I’ll admit my trepidation in being out of contact while he makes solitary extreme sports, but then there’s that other part of my brain…you know the part. I bet you have it too. This is the part of your brain that takes a certain perverse level of enjoyment at doing all the things you would never do with this other person present.
This list of odd, often self-indulgent, behaviors might make us uncomfortable to do outside of our solitude. Okay, so there is probably no real perversion, just a sense of nonconformity to your ‘us’ routine. I think all of us do this, men and women alike. Looking back in my childhood, I can even recall my mother acting on her own indulgences when daddy spent the night at the fire hall, or on rare occasion traveled for work or fun. When daddy left for the night, we ate different things. Momma (and I) LOVE chicken livers, and I stand by my momma making the BEST chicken livers ever – but daddy did not agree. When he was away we ate chicken livers, rice with peas, and ramen noodles with beef and almonds. Momma would tell us fancy sounding names for all these foods, and we reveled in them. We stayed up late, played board games or watched VHS movies and ate popcorn in our bean bags. There was no national news. There was no ‘adulting’, just fun stuff that I now know to be the reassurance that it was okay for us not to all be under the same roof for a brief time.
As an adult, and without much intent, it occurs to me that I have my own list of things that I do when I’m left to my own devices. Having chatted with a number of lady-friends about the subject, I know I’m not alone.
We watch stuff we don’t think you would enjoy, stuff that makes us cry, and stuff we’ve watched 247 times already. It might be a chick flick, a documentary on the manufacturing of pie crusts, or the movie Pitch Perfect….again. There are always 2-3 things on the DVR that you regularly ask if you can delete to make room for Kung Fu movies or football. We always say no. THOSE are the things we watch…possibly while wearing one of your button down shirts and laying in your chair or spot on the couch. Borrowing the significant other’s clothing without asking also appears to be a commonality.
We eat the foods you won’t, or from the places you don’t like. I’ll probably eat chicken livers at some point this week. Tonight I ate a can of organic garbanzo beans right out of the can. In order to make this less barbaric, I added some salted Transylvanian cave cheese, black pepper, and a dash of vinegar. I’m not a cave man after all. I’ll probably make up some of the childhood staples this week, maybe some other foods my fella doesn’t enjoy as much as I do….or I may just eat more beans from cans.
Eating out of a can serves a dual purpose. Another thing that seems to be common when we are left unobserved, is the tendency for entropy to take a greater effect. All dish washing, counter wiping, floor sweeping, and laundry folding will be put off until the last possible scrap of time before the mate’s safe arrival home. By eating out of a can, we prevent the need to clean much more than a spoon. The same could be said for fast food, take out, or delivery. It’s all merely a means by which to save ourselves the unfortunate moment of scramble to show how helpful, tidy, and diligent we were while our mate was gone.
I will partake of some fine adult beverages. Many of us will partake. Tonight it’s orange spiced ginger beer….Tomorrow? Wine, whiskey, or whatever I want to partake of, because I’m a grown up, damn it! I am not advocating a path of solo drinking. A minor amount of solo partaking is completely okay, and helps a person sleep better alone.
Sleeping. It happens when it happens, and wherever it happens. I might fall asleep as soon as I finish this, or stay up till 2am. Sometimes I’ll crash on the sofa until a dog wakes me to come to bed. Sleep seems like one of the most central indulgences I have encountered amongst my circle of friends. It seems that many of us ladies (especially the ones without kids) have this one indulgence in common, and for similar reasons. A lot of us like to change the sheets, take a long hot shower, enjoy the aforementioned glass(es) of wine, then sleep blissfully naked.
Men/significant others, take note here. Absorb this information. Take it to heart. This is not about being sexy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sleeping naked alone in clean sheets with no chance of the reach/grope/hump wake up is some of the best sleep of your life. It’s not that we don’t love sleeping in bed WITH you. It is simply that we know our nakedness is just more than you are able to handle and sleep peacefully, therefore we would not be able to sleep peacefully, and sleep is sacred. Home alone? Sleep naked. Sleep GOOD!!
We miss you. You know this. We know this. Solitude is not a bad thing though. It is quite good and healthy to be able to enjoy time alone. So we do some weird stuff. It’s okay. Rock your weird. Seriously, how can you expect someone to love spending time with you if you don’t like spending time with yourself.