(What if instead of interviewing starlets and celebrities, we interviewed ordinary people? Today I am interviewing someone who lives alone.)
What is the best part of living alone?
The biggest plus? I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s food. The second plus no one asks me what I have planned for the day. Oh, and I don’t have to tell anyone when I leave the house or when I’m coming back. Oh, and if I’m watching some low-brow, mindless television show, I can enjoy it. There are people who find it intolerable to be alone. They need compassion.
What is a big downside?
|What? Not appropriate?|
Why does society see living alone as such a social failure?
Society is full of it. Society has all kinds of crazy parameters that don’t hold up in a serious investigation. Society tells us there is only one implication to living alone: that we couldn’t attract another to live with us, that we are social losers.
Do you think of yourself that way?
Occasionally but not because I live alone and less and less for any reason. Mostly, I think I am OK.
Do you ever get lonely?
I used to get a little lonely, especially on Sunday. Sunday has always had that effect on me. I suspect it is because I was a boarding school child and my father visited on Sundays. Lately, I have mastered Sundays. Sometimes I deliberately talk to strangers in the supermarket. I ask them how they would cook something but that is because I want to see how others are putting their life together even if it’s just with a piece of skirt steak. I love talking to women in the supermarket although I only do it once in a while. I have a lot of children and grandchildren and they are around me frequently.
Do you make an effort to interact with people?
As a writer, I interact with people in my head all the time but I suspect you mean something else. Twice this winter I offered to volunteer a couple of mornings a week so as to have more interaction with the outside world. I asked to stack books at the library and the woman said, “Do you know the alphabet and can you bend down?” I said, “I know the alphabet and if there’s one thing I can do it is to bend down.” Even though I was startled I bent down and got up a couple of times. She said she would call me but it never happened. Maybe I should have recited the alphabet instead of bending down.
The second attempt at volunteering was at the local organic farm. I liked the farm because they were providing fresh organic produce to the local food bank. In the dead of winter the struggling families of East Hampton could have fresh organic vegetables. The most surprising part was that the vegetables in the greenhouses were growing as if it were July instead of December. Beautiful kale, carrots, lettuce, broccoli were all growing to maturity. My job was going to be to weed and feed the rabbits that provided fertilizer. The day I started, the weather turned wicked and it has remained so ever since. Lots of snow and frigid temperatures. I tried twice to go there but the deep ruts and mounds of ice and snow were wrecking my car. One day I made a turn and went right into a ravine obscured by snow. I thought, “How am I going to get out of this? Even if I call AAA what address am I going to give them? I’m out in a freaking vast rutted field.” I tried to gun the engine in reverse. Nothing. Then I gunned the engine forward and that worked. I decided to wait until spring to volunteer.
Would you ever consider living with anyone?