As you may know, I’ve been alone quite a bit this summer, working away. I love solitude. I always have. As a kid, I’d hide in the cellar and read. When I babysat, I loved that magical hour when the little ones would be tucked in, and I’d be alone in the house, pretending it was mine.
But I seem to be crossing a certain sanity checkpoint these days. Maybe it was because I was alone during the first five or six weeks of the pandemic, but I have learned to be alone as in “The zombie apocalypse finally came, and this is it forever.” I can forage food like a boss—and by forage, I mean open the fridge and wonder how old these hotdogs/vegetable patty/frozen mac and cheese are and yes, summon my courage
and take that chance. So far, only one case of mild food poisoning.
I talk to myself incessantly. “Where were we? Come on, Microsoft. Don’t be a jerk. Who’s hungry? I am! Great, let’s make dinner!” (see aforementioned hot dog).
I took a spill the other day, stepping on a rogue pine cone and scraping my knee against a stump. Quite nasty-looking, plus a bruise and swelling. “Be a hero, Higgins,” I said out loud. “Get into that house and patch yourself up.”
I obeyed myself and indeed, felt quite brave and noble. Texted a picture of my knee to the kids and McIrish to make sure I had my full share of sympathy. (The nurse in the family was underwhelmed, the ungrateful child, whereas the firefighter knew to ask if I had called 911 already).
Debates are common when I’m with myself.
Should I turn on the AC?
No, it’s too cool for that.
But it’s practically raining in here!
So? You’re a Yankee? Deal with it!
There is far less trash when I’m alone, since I eat like a raccoon on whatever’s been left behind by my sister or niece or uncle. Because I’m a neat sleeper (unlike my thrashing husband), making the bed takes five seconds. Far less laundry—staying in one’s pajamas for three days is good for Mother Earth, and if the neighbor’s feel like an insane women lives next door, dressed in tattered and colorful PJ bottoms and snarky t-shirts, muttering to herself on the deck, hey. We were here first. (They’re actually quite nice and have adorable grandkids…and they know what I do for a living).
The reason I go away when I need to write lots is because I can focus only on the book. There are no friends to see, no spouse asking if I want food, no children coming in and out, no mother who can’t figure out how to view something online. This past time, I didn’t even have a dog, since Dearest Son is heading to graduate school soon, and I let him have custody of Luther. One day, I was talking to a friend, and she said, “What day is it?” There was a pause. Neither of us knew. “Sunday?” I guessed? It was Tuesday.
But gang, you know me. I love every minute.