It turns out that I am a pretty good date, at least if I am dating myself.
It used to be highly unusual to find myself sans spouse or other co-dependent. That was before my wife started going to conventions and my daughter went off to college. I don’t hold those long weekends by my wife out of town in Boston, Las Vegas or sometimes right across the river in Silver Spring against her. (This weekend it’s Boston.) She doesn’t hold my extended business trips so I can see a friend or sibling against me either. Four years ago, I disappeared for close to a week to attend the general assembly of our denomination.
We still take vacations together. And of course there is all that togetherness at home, often coming together over dinners we each prepare separately but at least consume at the same time. Otherwise during the evenings she is more likely watching television and I am upstairs on the computer. I don’t know how typical our marriage is, but it strikes me that ours is less engaged than many.
With her conventions, I find I am more frequently finding myself home alone for days at a stretch. Well, not completely alone. Our cat Arthur remains a full time occupant. He provides companionship of a sort, but mostly we inhabit separate worlds during the day, except at feeding time or when I am slathering steroid cream in his ear. Which leaves me to be my best friend. This generally suits me fine. There are certainly friends I could visit locally, but more and more when these opportunities arise I am finding that I prefer my own company. I’m not lonely, just alone. And it’s okay.
Thus last night I found that I was taking myself to the movies. A review of Oz, The Great and Powerful will come. I know some people who feel weird going to a movie alone. I’ve never let that stop me and in truth my taste in movies often differs from my wife’s taste anyhow. When I go by myself I always arrive just in time to avoid the obnoxious ads but to see most of the trailers. I also avoid the overpriced popcorn and find a nice comfy seat near the back of the theater, preferably away from the speakers. I have my smartphone for entertainment if the trailers fail to amuse. Last night I found myself in Theater 6 at the Reston (Virginia) Bow-Tie Cinemas, back in the same row where some six months earlier I had seen some other movie with a good friend. It obviously did not make much of an impression on me as my mind was elsewhere. Fortunately, Oz turned out to be a fun and engaging movie.
Perhaps the single life becomes quickly old, but when it returns in these periodic bursts I find that I welcome them. I have all the comforts of home because I am home. I find a certain freedom in not needing to accommodate my wife, or my daughter who when she is home can easily sleep past noon. And so I had Broadway music on at 9 a.m. and only the cat seemed a little miffed by the noise and went to sleep downstairs.
I have been taking these four days and three nights alone at my own peculiar pace. It’s a good time to watch movies on DVD that I have seen many times before, simply because there is no one occupying the TV room to compete with or object. I don’t believe in take out food, but when I am home alone I can be lured into indulging, even if take out means a six inch steak and cheese sandwich from Subway. Last night after the movie I felt in the mood for a snack. Alas, after ten p.m. the Baskin Robbins was shutdown, as was the Dairy Queen. The bakery at the Giant Food was still opened. It worked.
This life suits me very well, at least for a few days. I exercise when the mood strikes, but mostly I indulge my hobbies, which over this three day weekend has mostly been about serving a few customers with my software consulting services. Last week I successfully rehosted a client with a forum of over 100,000 posts, a major challenge as it turned out because his search tables were corrupted, which meant the database extract could not be imported. I ended up surgically snipping them out of the 600 mb file using text editors and the Unix split command, then rebuilding the search index manually. I upgraded software for three clients; in one case removing dozens of plug-ins that were causing performance problems. It’s kind of geeky but it put a few hundred bucks in my PayPal account, and no one objected. It also kept me out of strippers’ bars and red light districts.
Music has been playing from the stereo, music that neither my daughter nor my wife would enjoy much if they were here. I indulged in waffles for breakfast one morning. I slept deeply at night, which is not hard if you are home alone and there is no spouse in bed to distract you. I walked for exercise with podcasts to distract me. At the gym I put in an extra fifteen minutes of aerobics and lifted a set of weights. And it was good.
Tonight though the wife returns from Boston. My momentary days reliving my bachelorhood will abruptly end. Likely after she settles in trash TV will be coming out of our entertainment room tonight. So it will likely remain until her next convention when I plan to take myself out on a few more dates.