I’ve been indulging in a lot of behaviors lately that make me grateful to live alone. If I had a domestic companion, they would have surely notified the Adult Police by now. I’m pretty sure that 27-year-olds are not supposed to pass out in crumb-filled beds at 4 a.m. after watching eight episodes of The Wire while eating Special K Fruits Rouges directly from the box. 27-year-olds should wake up before noon, brush their teeth at least twice a day, and write their dissertation prospectuses in a timely manner. I’ve been doing none of these things. I like the idea of a S.W.A.T. team-style entry into my apartment in which shouts of “Adult Police! Hands in the air!” are met by my bewildered face, illuminated only by the glow of my laptop and with a dehydrated strawberry stuck to my cheek. After reading me my rights I’m dragged, hands in cuffs and wearing the same dirty Bob Marley t-shirt I’ve been rocking for a week, to the re-education center where I am forced to relearn good eating habits and reestablish a sleeping schedule. Graduate school and its attendant ocean of unstructured time can be perilous when there is nobody around to shame you into getting your shit together. It’s times like these when one of you who cares about me needs to turn me in, for my own good, even though you will be likely be wracked with guilt that you had to turn to the authorities instead of keeping it in the family. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too much of The Wire.
It got me to thinking about how exactly people do manage to cohabitate. I’ve lived alone for nearly five years now and I don’t know how I ever managed otherwise. People joke about their “secret single behavior,” but it always is something cute and manageable to do while living with someone, like plucking the odd hair or eating pickles straight out of the jar. I feel like I have an entire secret single way of being. As anyone who has stayed in my company on my turf for more than a few days can attest, I start getting jumpy. My best friend, upon learning that her week-long visit was on the tail end of my mother’s two week trip to Paris, gleefully cackled and said, “Oh man! Three weeks of constant contact! That is going to drive you NUTS!” I can’t even imagine how I could possibly have someone around when I’m one of the manic work-binges that I have to enter ever few months to stay afloat in my ‘career.’ Don’t significant others disapprove of significant lapses in hygiene? Wouldn’t a domestic partner disapprove if all three meals a day consisted of coffee and microwave burritos? How about if the “work” area spread like cancer over the dining room table, couch, living room floor, and bed? Or do people quit doing these things when they are real adults?
Photo courtesy of the bounteous M. Starik