Monday, September 12, 2011

Lonesome Town: Or, How I'm Learning to Stop Worrying and Live Alone

  Living alone is strange. It's been a while since I have lived alone, a little over two years. It takes a little getting used to. I'm also in a different situation than the last time I lived alone: I'm out of school, working full-time, and I have my cat living here. I'm trying to make it a home, not just a place where I keep my stuff, and that's different too. That is expensive, I've discovered. I had some money set aside specifically to help me get some of the essentials, the things that I would need to live here indefinitely. I'm operating under the assumption that I won't be moving out at the end of my lease, also somethign I've never done before. I still kind of feel like that's what people do, for whatever reason. College town, I guess.
    In any case, I've moved most of the stuff from my dad's house up here, and I've got furniture, my furniture that I don't have to give back to anyone after I move out. I am even working on hanging pictures, not just posters or magazine cut-outs, a hold-out habit from my high school days, but actual pictures with frames and everything. It's strange trying to be a real grown-up who pays bills, buys their own groceries, does laundry in the machines in the complex as opposed to at mom's or dad's, and has to cook for themselves because eating out all the time gets so expensive. I don't mind some of it, only I wish it didn't cost so much. I like having all my stuff in one place. I like having some of the responsibility, and I like that when I go home, I don't have to talk to anyone if I don't feel like it.
    The cat is getting used to being here--he's already found the ONE piece of furniture that I hadn't covered with something to prevent it from becoming a scratching post and turned it into a scratching post. But now that I've identified it, he will be SOL. I'll have to get him a scratching post, a real one, that he can do whatever he wants with. Boy, was he terrified today, though! His bowl was *gasp* almost empty when I got home! He sounded a little hoarse actually, like he'd been crying for a while for someone to feed him. I think he really believes that he will starve if he ever completely cleans the bowl, like no one will ever fill it again if he eats it all. I'd really like to get him on a schedule where he gets a proper serving size twice a day, but I have a feeling he might take out his frustration on the ottoman, aka scratching post.
    I mostly like being alone here, alone meaning without people, because while the cat speaks, it's not in English. I can watch whatever I want on TV, I can spend however long I want online, I can eat spaghetti four nights in a row without judgment, and I don't have to worry about anyone leaving the toilet seat up in the middle of the night. But there are times when I feel a little funny about being here by myself. I'm not particularly concerned about burglary being on the second floor and having so many neighbors around all the time, but I worry about getting trapped under a bookshelf with no one to come home and rescue me, or choking on a pretzel and having no one to thump me on the back to help me cough it up.
    This place even feels a little bit big, even with the cat. I wish I had more storage and closet space, but who doesn't? The rooms feel big, the bedroom in particular. I don't have enough stuff to fill the place, and yet I almost have too much. The living room is packed, two bookshelves, two small shelves for movies, the TV, a small kitchen table I'm using as a desk, a loveseat, and a chair. It's not crowded, but it's definitely full. I just don't want to buy something else for the bedroom unless I know I'll use it, and not just for table space.
    It's quiet here, and my plants seem to be enjoying the east and west windows instead of the overpowering sun from south facing windows like they're used to. I really should try to become a better cook, so I can do a little better than spaghetti and cheese for dinner occasionally. But in the meantime, I'll keep sleeping diagonally in my bed because I don't have to share it with anyone, and I'll keep watching TV and watching movies online because no one's going to tell me I should go outside or do something more productive, and I'll keep squirting the cat with the water bottle until he learns that the ottoman is not a scratching post. It's almost bedtime, as I have been a little sick since yesterday and I need to get a little extra rest.
At least it's whole wheat spaghetti, right?

What was your reaction to living by yourself for the first time? 
Fear? Independence? Homesickness? Freedom, at long last? Or something else entirely? 
Share in the comments. 
Yes, I'm now soliciting comments, dear readers. Kindly play along ;)

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