Living alone gives you a completely different perspective on life. It also gives you complete freedom. For example, I now have nicknames for myself. I call myself “Z”, like, “Hey Z, I think your tea’s ready”, or “Z, you should stop staring at your socks and start reading that article about foreign policy that’s due tomorrow.” It’s very chummy. I sit on my kitchen floor sometimes while I wait for stuff to come out of the microwave, or because I’m tired of my couch. My bunny Indiana Jones James Bond and I have inside jokes, and we play hide and seek. I’ll fall asleep on the couch, and wake up to him walking over me looking for carrots, or tearing up magazines on the floor.
I’ve lived alone before. During the summer of 2010, I was an intern in Colonial Williamsburg for six weeks, and I lived in the Edinburgh Castle Laundry without tv or internet. During those weeks, I read every Meg Cabot book the local library owned, befriended some interpreters, wandered the historic area at every hour of the day and night, and watched Seasons 2-4 of “The West Wing”. Mostly, the days went by quickly, but there were the occasional nights where I stared at the ceiling and painted my nails for the third time that week. But since then, I’ve always had a roommate, or housemates, or a college campus full of friends around me. Don’t get me wrong—my two college roommates, Liz Fudge and Curlicue Jones were wonderful, and we’re still very close friends. There are tons of advantages to having roommates—people to talk to, to remind you to buy milk, moral support. But you don’t want to display all your weirdness to the person you’re living with—you want to keep up appearances that you are functioning adult. Now, there’s no need for mystery or dignity, so I’ve begun to notice my strange behaviors.
Things I Do Now That I Live Alone
- I clean a lot. I’ve always been a clean person, but prone to messiness. Like clothes on the chair, books piled on the floor, fortune cookie fortunes strewn around my desk. Now, I vacuum and dust every week. My clothes are put away, even if they’re not folded. Without other people, I’ve become somewhat tidy, which seems counterintuitive, but before when I lived with Liz, I was “the messy roommate”. I had to live up to my name. But no more!
- I listen to the same song over and over more than usual. When I’m reading or writing a paper, and I just need background noise, I’ll put one song on repeat and just go with it. But I don’t have to worry about bugging someone with my dubious music choices. So I find myself jamming out to “Right Round” by Flo.Rida for two hours. And “MMMBop.” Anything by Fun. “Rhapsody in Blue”. Really, whatever has a good beat, without super-distracting words.
- I use my dining table to hold craft projects and books.
- I couldn’t get my coat lint-free enough last week, so I vacuumed it.
- I had tacos for dinner three nights in a row this week. And it was delicious.
- I annoy myself by setting eight alarms because there’s no one else to wake me up if I keep sleeping.
- I store extra socks in my couch
- I brew tea late into the night
- I hold midnight dance parties after the effects of strong tea have started to set in.
Last night I texted my best friend Ophelia Fedora, “I’m drinking ginger ale out of a wine glass right now, like a classy grown up lady. And when you come into town for my birthday, we can do the same. Or we can drink wine out of these wine glasses and be badass classy grown up ladies.” I meant every single word. A wine glass, no matter the contents, can make me feel badass and classy. Also wearing a vintage apron over my pajamas while I make scrambled eggs for dinner. A minute ago I was dancing around my living room to the shock of my rabbit, in gym shorts and my college hoodie, shouting the lyrics of “I Set Fire To the Rain”. It was a moment I had with myself that was amazing. It’ll probably happen again within 24 hours. Because when you live alone, you have the complete freedom to really dance like no one’s watching.