Friday, August 15, 2008

Wanted: The Single Person's Life

Now that's a totally new concept to me. I heard it the other morning while talking to a friend who was commiserating about my burial in suburbia. "I know exactly what you mean," she said. "I had to leave the suburbs because I wanted a Single Person's Life, and the chances of my finding it outside of a city were nil to none."

I ignored the fact that her statistics were somewhere south of the Georgian steppes (I am math-illiterate myself, not to mention geographically-challenged). I was totally taken with this idea of the Single Person's Life, which emerged as a full-blown vision And since as a writer, I write, I set about making a verbal doodle of exactly what that life would be.

A Single Person's Life is one of contentment, pleasure even, in the solitary nature of day-to-day events. That is, no one else is about to crap on your fantasies or complain about the way you made the bed. If you snore, you only wake yourself. If you get up at 3 a.m. and must have a bowl of cereal, no one is there to say, "What the hell are you doing?" You don't have to wait for the bathroom to be free and the only smelly old sneakers in the closet are yours.

A Single Person's Life is one in which you star. What do you want to eat? What do you want to watch? When do you want to go to bed--and really, what do you want to do once you're there? Here, give me that remote; it's mine to program at will. Sated with the Olympics? Move on over to Flip That House or, better yet, Final Cut/Shear Genius where you can enjoy the sheer/shear bitchiness of the hairdressers without anyone sneering at your choices.

A Single Person's Life is one where you don't have to worry about whether your partner likes your sister, best friend, or the couple down the street. Nor will you ever be concerned about his or her antisocial tendencies relative to alcohol imbibed and conversations had. When you go to a party as a Single Person, you are free to skulk in the corner or flirt with the host, leave early or stay till dawn, as you wish. If you get into an intense philosophical conversation about the relative worth of free range eggs, there is no one over in the corner giving you the high sign, I want to go now. Conversely, you will never be at a company event of your partner's where you must endlessly endure the boss's sexist jokes and the rancid clam dip. If you wander by chance into such an event on your own, you can, without qualm, hightail it out at the first sign of a stale chip.

I have an image of myself in this Single Person's Life. I am, of course, somewhat slimmer than now, mainly because I actually do yoga and actually use my Pilates reformer. I am happy and carefree and entertain a lot in my Single Person's home (using, it must be said, my formerly married person's china and silver). My friends are my family. We actually like each other, which is more than I can say about my family--and therefore holidays spent together are pleasant events, which again is more than I can say about my family.

Yes, this is a fantasy, and I realize that reality does in fact bite. But still, this Single Person's Life is a worthwhile goal, is it not? It's a life in which self-actualization is completely in your control. You are who you are, without any addendum modifying you. And your life, your Single Person's Life, is now an object of desire rather than shame or scorn.

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