ADVENTURES IN SINGLENESS


I’D LIKE TO RIDE A CLAIRVOYANT CIRCUIT INTO THE MINDS OF SINGLES OVER THE AGE OF SIXTY.

I’ve often questioned why advertisements; the media, and politicians do not address this segment of society. We don’t hear, the beginning of a statement whether it is legislative, political, social, or cultural, Singles around the country are not traveling, purchasing more products, refusing to get vaccinated are unemployed…etc.  We are a minority class; I found statistics on The UnmarriedAmerican.org website. More searching led me to the American Association for Single People website.

  • There are 106 million unmarried adults in the United States.  Singles constitute more than 44% of the adult population in the nation.
  • About 44% of the nation’s workforce are unmarried employees
  • The Census Bureau estimates that about 10% of adults will never marry.

I’m not going to make a huge leap into this as my thoughts are more about adventures in singleness.

This conversation is from a close friend, married for twenty-some years.

“You are so lucky you have no idea. If I were single, I’d move somewhere where life is simple, maybe Greece.”

“You don’t know about the loneliness, the awkwardness of holidays, the fear when you get sick and have no one to care for you, so many things really.

“I can think better when I’m alone.”

I told her I understood. That is the crucifix of making my pen my mate rather than a three-dimensional man( Temporary singleness). Some of my interactions go like this; going out to dinner, “Are you alone?” She or he leads you to the most obscure table. Then she or he removes the second table setting and suddenly aloneness is visible. An hour later another customer asks if they can use the spare chair. That’s when I ask for the check and leave.

Taking a road trip and feeling vulnerable when I’m pumping the gasoline and a stranger is gawking at me and I’m in the middle of nowhere.  It is usually truck drivers and I immediately think of Thelma and Louise.   More recently, I hired a new snow shoveling company operated by one single man.  On the third plow last winter he texted me, “One night with you and I won’t charge you for the rest of the season.”  A gal pal replied after relating this story,

“You should be flattered and he is twenty years younger! What does he charge?

“Seven hundred for the season.”

“That’s hilarious! Well, be careful and lock your doors, you’re all alone out there.”

I texted him that he should never make that kind of offer to a customer and I will not report you but you could lose your business or be sued. He agreed and I let him finish off the season as it was too late to find another one. I found a new company this year and he’s happily married.

Dressing for an event that I’ve never been to on my own. In my closet, I lay out three different outfits. Then I have a wary of decisions on which shoes, flats or heels. When I’m all dressed and ready to go self-consciousness billows up and I change the outfit. It’s a ridiculously amusing routine.

Living in a house that is a hundred and thirty-five years old speaks to me at night; a loose windowpane thrashes, a branch from a tree falls on one of the rain gutters, the mechanicals in the basement thump for some reason and I tiptoe around the house searching for an intruder.

Taking myself out for a cocktail just to get out of the house has numerous consequences. I end up sitting next to couples who are having a roaring twenties time of it and the only single man at the bar is fixated on his phone. Instead, the woman next to me strikes up a conversation about her boyfriend.

The other side of these dismal forecasts is; I have no arguments at home, (just interior dialogue) I can eat whenever I choose, watch what I elect on television, keep the bedroom light on, adjust the thermostat to my body temperature, and make all the decisions myself, the most infuriating and worthwhile to building courage, and self-reliance.

One of the lines in the Godfather struck me as an authentic gangster testimonial, “Women and children can afford to be careless, we cannot.”   As a teenager one of the repetitive reminders my father said angrily was, “Watch what you’re doing!”  This was the most relevant and truthful observation he made of me. Admittedly I am easily distracted and careless and ignore risk.  Just yesterday I placed a skillet of homemade croutons in the oven and then decided to empty the trash. As it happened my neighbor, Lorraine was in her driveway so I said hello.  The Adirondack Tree Surgeon had recently stopped by her house, as they did mine and marked one of my sidewalk trees for removal.

“Are they going to cut your tree down too?” I asked.

“The city is responsible for the sidewalk trees, but they cannot remove one on your property. They just came by to trim the branches since mine is on my property.” I was absent for ten minutes. When I entered the kitchen, it was smoked out and a small fire was burning in the skillet.

Without someone to look after my carelessness (I’ve been on my own now for five years) I still catch myself in these adventitious circumstances.

Winter Dressing indoors!

SINGULAR DAYDREAMING


DAYDREAMING
When I watch my wild birds, I daydream of their freedom.

When I listen to Wes Montgomery I dream of Brazil, and riding on a float at Mardi Gras, just once, with a feather hat, and dressed like Rita Hayworth.

When I sit at my desk and look at my mother’s photograph, I dream of the lunch we never had, and the lunch we did have, in  Bullock’s Garden Room, watching the fashion show and discovering tuna salads.

When I lie in bed at night I dream of him, whomever he is, wherever he is, and his strong shoulder cupped around my head, watching an old Cagney movie.

When I shovel snow I dream of California, of old Del Mar and running along the shore barefoot.  When I walk along Palace Avenue in Santa Fe,  I dream of walking in Brooklyn, or 5th Avenue at about 6 pm, when everyone pours into the street, a fountain of limbs and accessories.

Daydreaming unlike night dreaming where we are flying, conquering, or battling some inner masked trauma, illuminates where we want to be, and who we want to be, and if you take it seriously, how to get there. The medicine of daydreaming is unmatched by books, health food, vitamins, yoga, religion, mind altering experiences, it’s the essence of who we are, it defines our reality.

Mostly these days, I daydream6a011168668cad970c0120a94abd12970b-400wim of finishing the longest work-in progress book and as my pal Blair says, finish and move on with your life. For those of you who know me, when the time comes for a diligent writing routine, the act is outwardly selfish. Engagements canceled,  phone is not answered, and my email correspondence drops off.  If a trauma settles in my mind while I’m writing, the rhythm dissipates. Avoidance of the temptations that can draw me away from the work; men, my gal pals problems, Rudy falling off the ladder, and a vacant income.

As I assemble my columns, government transcripts, book excerpts, and emotions into a page of writing what is different this time is I know what belongs and what doesn’t. The worst part of writing for me is vacillating, that mind twist of indecision. It is like the indecision of moving, or breaking up, or taking a different outlook, one you’ve never even considered before.

The world we are living is not familiar; everyday it erupts with an inconceivable corruption, act of violence, and viciousness against humanity. It’s not the Italian roast coffee that wakes me up, it’s world news.  I feel less and less a part of the humanity and more like a wild creature that is fighting for the past. My outlook on social clubs, synagogue and church congregations, group classes, and all that let’s meet up organizing makes a lot of sense now. Especially if you don’t have children, or a life mate the temptation to retreat into your own world of fantasy is irresistible. My next thread will be on the single life, I can claim expertise in that!

Last night a stranger in a sports jacket, silver hair, and polished shoes sat beside me at the Staub House. He struck a conversation and within fifteen minutes he said, ” I’m going to the Chamber Music Concert series tonight  and next week I go to three operas. ” My interior dialogue is assessing him; he’s very presentable, wears glasses well, and loves the arts. Maybe he will invite me. We continue chatting and then suddenly he switches tenses; it is no longer I, now it is we don’t live in Colorado in the winter, we have a house in Tuscon.

After a few travel stories he says,” I have an extra ticket for tonight. Would you like to go? I’m meeting some friends afterward at the Compound.”  A second of hesitation on my part, as this is the temptation I was talking about.

” I’d have to change and you’re running late.”

”  I guess you’re right. Will you be here tomorrow night?”

” Maybe.”

What’s interesting today looking back, is that he didn’t even lie about being married or involved long-term.  Men use to lie about that didn’t they?  I mean what’s so unusual about having a tryst with a married man today? Daydreaming is not indecisive or dishonest. Maybe one of the most genuine of vices.
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