Sick While Single

I’m currently in the throes of the head cold from hell. It is so bad, in fact, that it had me googling “coronavirus symptoms”. (I know. Paranoia. That happens when my temperature goes above 100 degrees. Worst case scenarios dance through my head. In technicolor.)

At least my worst fear can no longer be realized. When I was single and in a feverish state, I used to worry that I’d die and it would be about three days before anyone found my body. I don’t know why that bothered me so much. I mean, after all, I’d be dead. I’d be beyond help. But that really, really used to freak me out.

Now that I’m married, I suspect that my body would be found within 6 hours, at the absolute most. Yay, I guess. That greatly reduces the stink factor for those I leave behind. But it also means that I was loved. And after all, isn’t that what we’re all hoping for out of life?

If you’re single, and you have a cold coming on, I suggest you reach out to someone, anyone, and ask them to call you once or twice a day to check for signs of life. You’ll still be sick, but at least you’ll know that someone cares. And that counts a lot toward healing.

Wishing you health and happiness, dear reader.

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Out There for the Holidays

The holidays can be painfully lonely for those of us who are single. At a time when joy is almost mandatory, it makes you feel that much worse when you can’t quite get there. Bah, humbug.

In years past, I’ve tried my best to pretend that the holidays weren’t happening. For example, it’s my New Year’s tradition to be asleep well before midnight. And I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving day, so no turkey for me.

But this year, I’ve decided to go about things differently. Rather than pull my head into my shell, I’m going to thrust myself, headlong, into the festivities.

First came the Holiday Bazaar that my little town puts on. Vendors and craftsmen galore. I was really impressed by the level of creativity. I treated myself to a few things, knowing that Santa hasn’t had me on his drop-off schedule in years. Usually I’m not really in to acquiring stuff, but what the heck.

On another day, I went to Julefest at the Nordic Heritage Museum with my friend Paula. Being half Danish, this has sort of become my Seattle tradition. Again, I bought myself stuff, and also enjoyed the good food and the traditional music. But mostly I enjoyed spending time with a dear friend.

Here are some of the things that I got myself at these two events. The dog is not included. But the socks are. I like the symbolism of the chick emerging from its shell. A local artist paints all sorts of things on rocks, but this spoke to me because I’m trying to emerge, too.

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Next, I bought myself some pre-cooked turkey, some instant stuffing, some canned corn, and two types of pie (two slices). I had myself a Thanksgiving dinner a few days late. I even let my dog have a bit of turkey, as I’m thankful for him, too.

Then I went to my little town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Festivities included Christmas music by the high school band. And when the city councilman spoke, the speakers stopped working, which seemed like a gift from above, if I’m honest. Then the tree was lit, in the same square where I’ve enjoyed Tuesday Farmer’s Markets all summer. My town. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

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And talk about putting myself out there. While waiting for the tree to be lit, I noticed a man my age, all alone, and sans wedding ring, in the crowd. An old hippie, wearing a leather hat. Just my type. Unfortunately, he was not receiving my “please talk to me” mental telepathy. Normally I’d leave things at that and just feel lonely.

Not this time. I knew if I didn’t at least try, I’d regret it. So, heart pounding, I walked up to him and introduced myself. I told him I’d recently bought a house in the area, and this was my first Christmas tree lighting, and I wanted to see if I had the courage to walk up to a nice looking man and say hello. So… hello.

He thanked me. He said his name was Neal. He said I’d probably see him around. And that was that.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Men aren’t used to being pounced on, especially at our age. And if he’d have been able to switch gears that smoothly, and ask me for coffee or something, I’d have been shocked. (But I probably would have gone. And I don’t even drink coffee.)

Ah well. I tried. And I’m proud of me for that. Life goes on. This loneliness blanket that settles upon my shoulders is actually kind of soft and warm after all these years.

At least I’m putting myself out there. Next on the agenda: The Great Figgy Pudding caroling competition with my friend Amy, and then Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, the musical, by myself.

Do me a favor. On Christmas morning, remind me of three things: How much money I’ve spent on myself, how much fun I’ve had, and most of all, how lucky I am to have so many awesome people in my life, even if they aren’t there on those red letter days.

(But don’t be surprised if I still go to bed before midnight on New Year’s Eve.)

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Singleness

Recently I’ve felt a fundamental shift inside of me—a shift away from the desperate pursuit of love, with all its disappointments and body-blows to my self-esteem. No, I haven’t given up. I’ve just lost interest.

Or perhaps it’s better to say that my interests lie elsewhere. I want to focus on improvement projects for my new home. I want to take care of my neurotic dog, who seems to hate every human being on the planet except me. I want to read more, write more, sleep more, explore more. I don’t want to have to compromise or try so freakin’ hard. I feel absolutely no need to be anyone other than who I am.

No, I’m not choosing some austere life. I’m not punishing myself, and I don’t hate men. They don’t scare me. Nor am I sexually confused. There’s absolutely no reason to feel sorry for me.

I think the assumption that you aren’t a success unless you are part of a pair is antiquated and absurd. In this day and age, women can support themselves. We can live alone. We can choose not to have children. (Hallelujah to that.)

Being single is not some cross one has to bear. It’s not a sign of damage. It’s not a problem that needs solving. It’s just a state of being. One isn’t the loneliest number. It’s just another number.

But am I lonely? Sometimes. And I’m a very passionate person, so having those needs go unmet can be more than a little frustrating. (I’m not an animal, though. I need some sort of emotional connection to scratch that particular itch.) But for the most part, to be honest, I just can’t be bothered.

Will I feel this way tomorrow? Hard to say. But right here, right now, this is how I roll.

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Textilelandia

Do winter scarves go to that same place where socks go? If so, they enter by a different portal. Socks seem to exit our universe through the dryer, perhaps via some complex law of physics having to do with heat and centrifugal force. But scarves just seem to dissolve into thin air. They were on our necks a minute ago…

Gloves must have complex relationships, because they often seem to get divorced. One minute they’re together, happily spooning in your pocket, and then at some point, without so much as a by-your-leave, they go their separate ways. We’ve all seen that lone glove, sitting on a park bench, looking depressed and unloved. Pity the poor glove.

But if I could hear the end of but one story in my life, it would be the one about the abandoned shoe. Why do so many individual shoes find themselves sprawled on the interstate? Were they cast out violently by their owners? (“Out! Out! Damned shoe!”) Is it the aftermath of some Khruschev-like shoe-banging incident, more common than we’ve been led to believe? Were these shoes so desperate to avoid foot odor that they preferred suicide?

These are things I think about.

I shall leave you with the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. Written nearly a hundred years ago, this poem is becoming eerily apropos.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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Making Room

So, nope, I still haven’t found romance in the Pacific Northwest. How I feel about that depends a great deal on which day you ask me. Most of the time, to be honest, I’m too busy to worry about it. My world seems to revolve around my upcoming anthology.

But yeah, sometimes I’m painfully lonely. Other times I’m resigned to my fate or frustrated beyond words. Still other times, I’m optimistic. But mostly I’m surprised. I think I’m a catch. This is the longest time I’ve been single in decades.

But the other day a friend of mine altered my perspective a bit. She asked me if I had made room for someone to be in my life. Could someone share my living space with me? Is there room in the closet? Places for his stuff? Frankly, no. And it makes me tired just thinking about accommodating someone at this point. I haven’t even finished unpacking, and I’ve been here for nearly two years.

My lifestyle is such that it would be hard to make time for another person. My schedule is weird. Sometimes I work day shift, sometimes I work swing shift, and I work every weekend. That isn’t likely to change any time soon.

All of this means that I basically sleep when I want to and/or can, and sometimes wake up, quite happily, at 3 a.m. Other times I’m only just going to bed at that hour. It would take a special person to adjust to that. And then there’s the fact that I still grieve for Chuck more often than I care to admit.

I think all of this tells me that now is not the time. And oddly enough, I’m okay with that. Mostly.

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I’b Sigck :(

Two hours before quitting time on Friday I get this tickle in my throat. You know the one. That little portent of doom that will soon take over your whole world, and you can’t do anything about it.

I had such plans. The weather was going to be great. I was going to take the dogs to an off leash park. I was going to sit in the back yard and soak up the sun. I even contemplated washing the car.

On the way home I stopped at the pharmacy for orange juice, ibuprofen and Nyquil. Supplies for the coming siege. Get them now or not at all. That’s one of the sucky things about being single. By the time I got home I had a fever.

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I spent the entire weekend flat on my back, except when the dogs insisted on being fed. Heartless bastards. But I must say they kept me company during my frequent hot baths. “Why is mommy trying to boil herself?” “And who will feed us if she drowns?” they said to each other with looks of great concern as they kept the bathmat warm and listened to my moans.

I encased myself in flannel. I had strange dreams. You know your snoring is bad when it even wakes you up. My nostrils slammed shut. I contemplated marrying my Neti Pot, but then I realized my last name would then be Pot, and that would never do.

The worst part about it is that I didn’t like the person who gave me this cold even before she gave it to me. Will the abuse never end? Honestly.

I have vague memories of talking to a friend who tried to calmly explain to me why boiling my head in a vat of chicken soup would be a bad idea. “The soup is supposed to go in you. You’re not supposed to go in the soup.” It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Times like these, I really miss my mother. She was great when I was sick. I want sympathy. I turn into a whiny brat when I’m feeling punk. Sniffle. I need a hug.

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[Image credit: jnassi.com]

On Being “We’d”

I felt like we were a couple of teenagers. My friend said, “Sooooo… did Adam ask you out?” When last we’d spoken, I told her about a guy I had met and clicked instantly with. We had everything in common, and he was cute, too. I was subtly hinting, and I couldn’t tell if he was picking up on those hints.

“Oh, Adam, Adam,” I sighed. “He we’d me.”

“Oh no. and he’s not the Queen of England, correct?”

Sadly, he is not. Which means when he used the term “we”, it wasn’t the royal kind. He wasn’t saying, “We are happy to confer this medal of honor upon you.” No. What he was saying was, “I’m part of a couple, and I’m trying to let you down gently.” As in, “Oh yeah! We saw that movie just the other day. You should check it out.”

Ugh, What a disappointment. There’s nothing worse than being we’d. I do appreciate his attempt at allowing me to save face. It shows what a decent guy he is. But it also indicates that yes, he was most definitely picking up on my hints, and I basically just got shot down in flames.

Ah, the joy of being single.

Rejected

[Image credit: memeshare.net]

I Need an Ad Exec

Everywhere I go in my new city of Seattle, I seem to practically trip over attractive men in my age group who at least appear to be straight and single. And they’re all very nice when I interact with them. These are all good signs.

The thing is (yes, there’s always a thing) they are oblivious, usually, to my interest. I’ve seen this in male friends my entire life. I’ll say, “Couldn’t you tell that girl was hitting on you?” and inevitably they reply, “She was?” Clueless. As dense as a London fog.

Of course, there is the possibility that every single one of them isn’t the least bit interested in me. But if I believe that, I may as well throw in the towel right now. And then I’d be without a towel. That would never do.

I think what I need is an ad executive. A professional who will come up with creative ways to put my intentions out there. Find a way of saying, “Hey! Don’t just smile and jog past! There’s potential for romance here!” “Hey! I appreciate you holding this door open for me, but I’d rather you stop and actually talk to me.” “Hey! Thanks for the advice on fun places to see in Seattle while exchanging meaningful eye contact, and thanks even more for drawing me a map on how to get to these places. Now ask to come with me.” Or maybe I should start with simply, “Hey!” Because I don’t even seem to be getting that across without help.

I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt that says, “My dogs love me. You would, too.”

Hey

Sick when you’re Single

Most of the time I like living alone. The only exceptions are during major holidays or when I’m sick. Right now I’ve got the head cold from hell and disgusting substances seem to be flowing from every orifice. I’m weak as a kitten and I keep forgetting to eat. I am miserable. Lord, take me now.

Sadly, there is no one to hear my whining and moaning, no one to make me chicken soup, no little annoying bell I can ring. If I run out of orange juice, I’m out of luck. I can only afford to have so many pizzas delivered.

My only comfort is my dogs and my flannel, and I’m worried that if I die the dogs will chew through the flannel in no time. Where’s the loyalty?

There’s nothing quite as depressing as being pathetic and snotty all by yourself. I want my mommy.

If there’s no blog entry here tomorrow, call 911.

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[image credit: multiplemayhemmamma.com]

Stuff Like This Only Happens to Me

So, a few years ago I had to go in for a colonoscopy. Mm hmm. Great fun. But while I’m in there, I’m having quality time with the prep nurse and she says to me, “Are you single?”

“Uh… yeah. Sort of. Why do you ask?”

“Well, the doctor is single, and he’s a really nice guy. You should ask him out for coffee after.”

Coffee with a doctor. My mother would be so proud.

Just then, the doctor walks in, and I’m in one of those attractive hospital gowns and my feet are already up in the stirrups. We shake hands. He then starts asking me about the quality of my bowel movements. I’m thinking, yes, he’s nice looking, but this isn’t one of those bonding moments.

Then he starts with the procedure and it’s so excruciatingly painful I nearly bend the steel bars on the side of the bed. He’s looking at the camera screen, clearly fascinated, a man who obviously loves his job, and he says to me, “You really ought to see this.”

Breathe. Just breathe. “Well… no. (Grunt.) No thank you. I’d rather not.”

Finally an eternity passes and the procedure is finished and he lectures me on the importance of eating roughage, and I get dressed and leave. The nurse looks at me with her brow furrowed, wondering why I am not swooping in and grabbing this good catch while I can.

What can I say? Somehow I just wasn’t in the mood for coffee. After you’ve shared certain experiences with someone, try as you might you can never put them in the romance zone.

Ouch