Thursday, February 23, 2012

Living Alone

Brace yourselves for this--it may come as a bit shocking. Are you ready? Okay. I am... a tad... quirky. Shocking, right? I know! But--and I feel I can share this with all nine of my loyal readers now--plastic flamingos in front of a moose-curtained log cabin without indoor plumbing are what I would call a sign.

So yesterday's New York Times had an article on how people who live alone indulge their own quirks more than those that co-habitate. However, the article was so gentle, so mild, so self-conscious in its effort to be charming and inoffensive, that the supposedly quirky traits brought forward among its solo-dwellers are completely underwhelming. One solo dweller's laundry list of oddities reads: "running in place during TV commercials; speaking conversational French to herself while making breakfast (she listens to a language CD); singing Journey songs in the shower; and removing only the clothes she needs from her dryer, thus turning it into a makeshift dresser." Aside from the last item, which has practical constraints, the rest of them are all things that I'd feel perfectly comfortable doing in the presence of a partner. Maybe that's why none of my relationships have worked out. :)

In any case, I think this is yet another reinforcement to my position that allowing my weirdness to be indulged in academia wouldn't be good for me. Living alone, and working in academia, would put me in a life of no social corrections whatsoever, and that would put me on a fast ship to crazy-town.

In closing this post, I would like to confess that I, like one of the subjects of the article, once forgot to put on pants and left the house in my underwear. I was about six, I think, and found myself in the yard in just a T-shirt and underwear. My sister and our neighbor kid, WZ, were outside already, and the conversation that ensued went something like this:

"Why the heck are you not wearing pants?"

I am wearing pants!

"Um, no. You're not. You're totally not wearing pants."

(refusing to look down). I am so wearing pants!

We continued in this surreal discussion, my cheeks burning hot, until I made up some excuse and ran back into the house and put on pants.

True story.


Rena said...

Y'know, I -almost- sent that article to you. But I resisted because it's stuff you already know. And, like you, the "symptoms" seemed so minor - like going to the bathroom without shutting the door.
And as for getting dressed, my family has a long and hilarious history of walking out of the house without items of clothing, wearing hangers on the backs of our shirts, draping sweat pants around our shoulders instead of a nice sweater, etc etc, even -with- a spouse or parent looking on.

But I think there's a nugget of truth in the article - living alone definitely makes you a little quirky in your outlook in life.

Arvay said...

Now that you mention such things, my sister did several times leave the house with a hair band around her neck. But she's never left the house in her underwear, to my knowledge.

Hangers on the backs of shirts! HAHAHAHA! Thank you so much for sharing! I feel much better now!

mdr said...

The longer a person lives alone, the harder to adapt to living with a roommate/spouse/boy-girl friend. If the other party also has been living alone for long time, minus and minus doesn't equal to plus.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are approved to live with a girl friend. Progress... :)

Arvay said...

And also a boy-girl friend! :)

flying fish said...

I love the description of the article being self conscious for some reason!

I prefer the eccentricity of living alone v.s. the deliberate "I AM eccentric, dammit!" behavior of people trying to remind themselves that they were once quirky. (yes I live alone)

Haven't worn a coat hanger out the door, but have forgotten to finish getting dressed.

I think a lives alone person can meld with another lives alone person as long as they both maintain their independent, quirky, ways. That's probably why they were attracted to each other.