Okay, okay. Being married isn’t exactly living alone. But trust me when I say that, compared with my former living situation, one husband with a busy work schedule feels like I have a house to myself. And while the solitude is lovely, there are a few things that take a little getting used to, after two years festooned with communal living.
1) The Quiet
In case you’re wondering, living in a moderately-sized house with at least five roommates, a baby, a dog, and innumerable possibilities in Random Visiting Friends/Family members/Co-workers/What-Have-You is not for those who find silence to be golden. There was always a comforting din of hysterical laughter, sobs, barks, video-game-guns-going off, and floor creaking throughout the house – so much so that if anyone had ever broken in, I’m sure no one would have noticed.
The house my husband and I share, on the contrary, is quiet like the dark room a horror movie character enters while looking for the source of that mysterious scratching she heard a couple minutes ago.
Not that the house isn’t safe: it’s just quiet. The person talking? Me. The floor creaking? My footsteps. That weird clanking in the basement? Hmmm . . . . Not me. I’d better check that out. By myself. With a flashlight that works MOST of the time.
2) The Remote
It is so unusual for me to have the definitive say in what’s watched on television that I panic and end up watching shows I’ve already seen instead of exploring the world of Netflix like it’s meant to be explored. I could finally see what all the fuss over Doctor Who is about. Find . . . other stuff. I don’t even know. Maybe I could watch old kids’ shows I remember from youth. Hey. What’s more adult than nostalgiaing?
When I do get up the gumption to watch something I’m curious about, the only person there to enjoy is me, because the husband is working all night. I start to make some witty comment about what’s happening, but no one’s there. So I start talking to the characters on screen themselves. “Don’t do that! DON’T GO INVESTIGATE WITH A FAULTY FLASHLIGHT, RORY!”
(Oh, wait, that’s right. Nothing interesting ever happens on Gilmore Girls. I keep waiting for the vampires, werewolves, dragons, or dinosaurs. Nothing. About to give it up for lost.)
3) The Hermitude
While living with TAHOMAFRA (the cultish name my housemates and I gave ourselves), there were so many people in the house all the time it felt like a party even if it definitely wasn’t a party. After a while, it gets on your nerves, but eventually, you learn to deal with it.
Living in the distant north, however, a party is a couple week’s worth of coordination and then a half hour drive away rather than a 30-second walk upstairs. This is not a bad thing, as exposure to people drains the lifeblood out of me with shocking speed, but it’s weird walking into the kitchen and not meeting a small food-and-beer-enjoying group of great conversationalists. And speaking of the kitchen . . .
4) The Mess
When you live with others – lots of others – you can blame clutter and dust on everyone rather than yourself. You never have to feel guilty about the crumbs on the couch or the dirty dishes in the sink, because, hey, someone else was probably eating the same kind of chips you were eating in the same place you were sitting and there’s no way you could have possibly used that many dishes in one night. Yeah.
Here, there is no hiding from the truth. There are the clothes you wore and left all over the floor, the popcorn you stuffed between the sofa cushions, the four bowls you dirtied eating ice cream because one helping is never enough for dessert, and the fingernails you chewed off and tried to hide under the dining room table.
Honestly, you’re just disgusting.
Of course there are other things requiring adjustment in a new life like this, but those are the MAJOR ones, I assure you.
Also, I will decorate however I like, thank you.
Once you’ve made these adjustments, however, you can sit back and bask in the changes, or crank up the music (to drown out the weird clanking in the basement – it’s probably nothing) and write late into the night without fear of disturbing anyone, as I’m going to do until the Husband gets home from work.