The thing about living alone is, if something gets lost or broken or relocated or otherwise altered, there is no one else to blame. It has to have been me whodunnit.
Within the last week, two pieces of strangeness have occurred:
1. There is a lamp on each nightstand in my bedroom and I noticed one of the bulbs was burnt out. So I went to replace the bulb, but it actually wasn’t burnt out – it was unscrewed. Not a little bit, but a LOT. It disturbed me, but I tightened it and put the new bulb back in the closet.
2. I have a cobalt and sunflower “set” of FiestaWare. Four cobalt cups, four sunflower cups. Four cobalt cake plates, four sunflower cake plates. Etc. I am anal enough to stack them in the cupboard in alternating order, and also in the dishwasher, so they come out in alternating order. So the other day, I noticed that I used two yellow dinner plates in a row. I noticed because I went to put it in the dishwasher, and there was no blue one to alternate it with. I went to investigate and there are only three cobalt plates. I have turned the house upside down. Only three cobalt plates.
Did I break a plate and forget? That’s not really likely – I’d be out of here like a shot to get a new cobalt plate (Old Tyme Pottery to the rescue!). Did I loosen the bulb myself – for what reason, I couldn’t tell ya – ? Will I find the plate during my upcoming/ongoing decluttering project, squirreled away in some odd spot for some really, really good but forgotten reason? Is this the beginning of Alzheimers? Am I sleepwalking? Or do I have an invisible roomate? I have not had any guests here in quite a while – all of my friends live either on Sanibel or else much closer to it than I do. They all want to be on the island, not out in Lehigh.
This is strange. And I’m really annoyed about the plate, because now I have two yellows in a row. Dammit.
So. Who else has a mystery of this ilk to share? Please, share! Make me feel better! Like, I’m not going crazy, like my house is NOT possessed or worse! PLEASE SHARE!
The moon is pretty much a solitary practitioner. Oh, there are the occasional clouds that wander by, enshrouding her in mysterious aura, but for the most part, she drifts alone in the vastness of the sky, outshining her neighbors the stars. We know they are there, but we cannot see them for her brilliance. They only become visible at the time during which she sleeps.
I’ve just read a really intriguing article about how being alone is actually positive and good for you, and not the negative or even dysfunctional experience that society and modern psychology would have us believe.
[pullquote]People make this error, thinking that being alone means being lonely, and not being alone means being with other people,” Cacioppo said. “You need to be able to recharge on your own sometimes.[/pullquote]
I love the phrase “social snacking”, which is used to describe socializing by means of texting, phone calls, etc. There’s healthy snacking and then there’s empty calories; it all depends on who you are engaging and what you are deriving from these activities. One of the things that makes “social snacking” so attractive to those who LIKE to be alone is that it’s an indulgence on their own terms. If you’ve had enough, you shut down the app – done.
I have to disagree, however, with the leanings of the graduate student who believes less in “social loafing” and more in the power of what people fear others think of them. The experiment she ran involved testing memory of those who thought they were working on the task by themselves versus that of those who thought they were working on the task with others. She found that those who thought they were working alone performed better when their memory of the task was tested. The experimenter tends to believe that it’s because there was concern over the opinions of the others who were working on the task, but I disagree that this can be applied across the board.
I believe that the knowledge that one is working alone makes a person highly capable, because one knows that there is no fall-back position. There is no safety net. You walk the wire, you fall, oh well – no one is there to catch you. This is probably what makes me so damned attractive to all the Peter Pans of the world – the motherless lost boys who are loads of fun but in the end, irresponsible, undependable and looking for someone to take up their considerable slack.
I believe that there are only a limited number of people who will become more capable because they fear what others will think of them if they do not. The truly mature and the truly self-confident will not care what others think of them. There is also a small portion of society that doesn’t care what others think out of selfishness. So the theory that concern over the opinions of others trumps the knowledge that there’s no net doesn’t hold a lot of water for me.
In the dark and clueless: CHECK
Unable to see the way before me: CHECK
Uncertain as to what lies at the end: CHECK
Actively looking for signs along the way: CHECK
Totally lacking in fear and forging ahead anyway: CHECK
I SHOULD be freakin’ terrified. I am unemployed and on my own – no fall-back position other than dwindling savings. The thought has crossed my mind that maybe the lack of fear is numbness due to depression, but that doesn’t fit because I feel other things keenly, laugh a lot, and I’m no more or less reticent about engaging than I ever was. Plus, I would probably not be questioning the depression thing if I was actually depressed. Maybe.
I am the same as I ever was – still fun-loving yet cautious, still prone to thinking things through before acting on what seems the logical course, but nonetheless leaping forward into… what?
NONE of this is in my nutritional repertoire lately, but I became oddly challenged on Thursday when I arrived at the dentist and discovered they intended to scale and plane my ENTIRE (admittedly scant) collection of teeth all at once. Previously, this equivalent of water-boarding torture (yes, it is!) has been perpetrated upon me one side at a time, the theory being that you can always chew on the other side. This time, I’m out of sides so soft foods that will tempt me are the order of the day. Especially looking forward to the Toy Story macaroni and cheese – I doubt there is anything in that box that qualifies as actual FOOD, but it’s SOOOOO good! And I want to see what the little green men look like while they’re sporting cheesy yellow-orange 😉
This evening, someone on a forum was talking about Huey Lewis. Naturally, the conversation propelled me toward YouTube, one of the most time-sucking applications known to the interwebz. I looked up my favorite Huey Lewis and the News Song “Do You Believe In Love” – I don’t think I’ve seen this video in at least two decades! Anyhow, she doesn’t hear him. He’s right there in front of her, singing to her, loving her and she thinks she’s alone. How sad is that? But it’s such a happy, upbeat song! The contrast is really disturbing to me. Oblivion like that isn’t really upsetting to the oblivious – that is, until they figure out how clueless they’ve been and what they’ve been missing. I guess that would be a bit depressing, to realize that you’ve missed Huey Lewis wanting to “love you all over”.
Owing in part to the fact that I am not an iAnything fan, I got a kick out of this morsel from the September issue of Wired magazine. The other reason I liked it is because of my long, colorful and quasi-famous history with the management of in-home critter invasions.
I’ve only mentioned the snake in the garage once here at The Single Rider, I believe. lately I’ve taken to signalling the onset of invasion by changing my Facebook profile picture to that of "Morrigan" the Irish warrior queen and snake killer etraordinnaire. Alas, self-sufficiencies in realms usually managed by men is the occupational hazard of the terminally single woman. One must open one’s own jars with one’s own two hands – and those same two hands are responsible for all matters of wildlife removal and/or extermination.
I’ve been fond of saying over the years that nothing which has scales, fur, wings, feathers or more than two legs – or doesn’t pay rent – gets to live here .
There’s a parade coming down the main drag that connects the hamlet where I live to the village by the bay. Down here in the village, the main drag has long since dwindled to one lane in each direction. This morning, it’s brisk with traffic, each vehicle racing to avoid getting caught behind the barricade that’s going up at any moment.
We need to be on the other side. My practiced eye looks briefly in either direction, assessing the traffic for relative distance and speed. This is going to be cake. Taking off at a sprint, I easily cover the two lanes well before the oncoming traffic arrives. I look around. I see my two friends still huddled where I’d left them on the curb at the other side, faces drawn taught with thinly-disguised anxiety. Finally, they feel it’s safe, and they hurry across.
[pullquote]If you aren’t bold, then you’re destined to stand a good, long time waiting to cross at that uncontrolled intersection. Waiting, wating… who has time for that?[/pullquote]
“OMG, I thought you’d be killed!” one of them exclaims.
“What?” comes my bewildered response. “There was plenty of time. Don’t you people know how to cross a street?”
I’d grown up in the city, where you take your crossing opportunities as they come, even on wide boulevards of four and six lanes of heavy, New York driver traffic. If you aren’t bold, then you’re destined to stand a good, long time waiting to cross at that uncontrolled intersection. Waiting, wating… who has time for that?
It’s a few years later, and I am on my way to see a friend perform in concert with his quartet. I am traveling from Long Island with the only other person I’m aware of who also has a ticket, but I don’t know him terribly well. He’s funny and nice company for the mass transit journey into the city. His eyes are fringed with those impossibly long guy-lashes that make every woman sigh and wonder, “Why can’t *I* have lashes like that?”
(A few years into the future, I would focus on those lashes while standing under the chupah, having random thoughts about anything and everything, just to keep myself from thinking about the reason we were standing there…)
He pulls the cord overhead to signal the driver. We de-bus near Lincoln Center and prepare to cross Broadway. My practiced eye looks briefly in either direction… my muscles are tensing in preparation for the sprint. Although we are not physically touching, I feel him hesitate beside me, drawn taught… Before he has a chance to balk, I grab his hand and give it an encouraging tug. We have ignition, we have liftoff, running hand in hand until we reach the opposite curb. His hand immediately releases mine, but for a while after, I can still feel the shape and the weight of it in mine. How odd…
This had happened to me only one other time, the very first time I’d ever held hands with a boy. He was funny and his eyes were an impossible shade of blue; not even a color found in nature, I don’t think, and certainly not one I’d ever seen before or since. The first time our hands touched (accidentally-on-purpose), I’d gone directly for the interlaced fingers position, but he was having none of that and quickly shifted us instead to the palm-to-palm position. I was satisfied, pleased that he hadn’t rejected the idea of hand-holding altogether, but at random times for days after, I would suddenly experience the pleasantly terrifying sensation of his fingers filling the spaces between mine.
I wanted to be pleasantly terrified. I wanted to be gifted with the experience of someone filling in all the places where I am blank. I’m not sure how, but somewhere along the way “pleasantly” and “terrified” became uncoupled; unchecked, terror fills the blank spaces with something that’s drawn taught, something that drives me to flinch from the sprint, to wait at the corner until the signal changes.
Oh, for my days of the practiced eye, the ability to assess, the exhilarated sprint, fully confident that I would reach the curb unscathed. Oh, for the days!