I get all my “news” from Facebook and the other day a friend posted a link to a New York Times article. Her added comment, “Yes, I talk to my cats.” caught my attention, as did the title of the piece: “The Freedom, and Perils, of Living Alone.”
I’ve really been enjoying living alone lately. After years of roommates, boyfriends and even a husband, I now have my own space. And a good amount of it. I eagerly read through the article to see what the perils were; I already know how great the freedom is. And the perils — such as they were — consisted completely of having that freedom…to develop (or indulge) what Eric Klinenberg, an NYU sociology professor and author of “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” refers to as “Secret Single Behavior.” Of course, in my quirk-filled world, most of these so-called behaviors are pretty run-of-the-mill. One woman uses her drier as much to store her clothes as dry them, another admits to leaving her bra on her kitchen table. Since I don’t have my own drier — or kitchen table — I haven’t indulged in either of these oddities. But I do pee with the bathroom door open, as does the 70-year-old Portland resident and blogger, Ronni Bennett; I also keep strange hours and talk to my dog, none of which I’d call odd.
It was nice to learn that “ 1 in every 4 American households is occupied by someone living alone; in Manhattan, mythic land of the singleton, the number is nearly 1 in 2.” I don’t usually strive to be “normal” but in this instance I felt somewhat gratified that my singleness is so commonplace. I did feel bad for the poor guy who admitted that if he lived alone, he’d be “a fat, out-of-work alcoholic.” No need to live alone for that, eh? But the worry of becoming so comfortable with living alone that I couldn’t tolerate sharing my space with someone else certainly does cross my mind. It would be easy enough to stop leaving one’s bra on the kitchen table or clothes in the drier. It would be much more difficult to relish my solitude if I wasn’t alone. I can understand how “older” couples settle for two separate homes and just have sleepovers. Or whatever grownups call that. So I could keep leaving my bathroom door open…
- The Freedom and Perils of Living Alone (nytimes.com)