Years ago I was utterly, explicitly and without a doubt, alone.
As a divorced friend recently shared, she finds herself longing for that which she once was so pleased to shed, companionship. Her women friends are wonderful, she went on to say, but it would be nice to play golf or enjoy dinner and a movie with someone who likes to discuss the back nine instead innermost feelings. She wanted to know how she, a computer-challenged, bar hating, size 14, could meet someone with which to stare at stars at night, without the complications of wrinkling sheets?
Decades ago, when I was blond and stupid, (I’m not blond anymore), I identified with Mary Richards, played by Mary Tyler Moore on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Like her, during the chauvinist 1970s, I was past 30 and living in a studio apartment with a couch that opened up. Like her, I had the drive and dream as a single woman, “…to make it after all.” But unlike Mary, most of my friends were coupled as were my business associates. At the time it seemed to me as if almost everyone else walked hand in hand or snuggled next to each other in the corner booth of Howard Johnsons, and there I was reading old issues of The Saturday Evening Post, you guessed it, alone on a Saturday evening.
So, (true story), I prayed to God to send me someone, anyone to share my life — on work release or recently escaped, I didn’t care. I wanted someone else to change the channel and share eggs and bacon. Well, maybe not breakfast right away but it would have been nice to have someone else clear the snow off my windshield.
The next day, Walter (not his real name), walked through the front door of the store I owned. He was at least 20 years older than me, talkative, quirky, not ugly and interested in me.
Walter asked me out for dinner and a movie. I said yes.
On the afternoon before the big date Walter called, he had crashed his motorcycle. Feeling a bit bruised, he reneged on dinner and a movie but asked if I would like to come to his place for a few drinks after I closed the store. Alcohol on an empty stomach, at a biker’s house, why not.
Never married Walter had a decent house left to him by his parents. First up, a house tour while jazz blasted on the stereo. I hate jazz, it sounded like a bunch of middle school band instruments grinding in a blender.
Revelation, if I screamed no one could hear me.
First room on the tour, kitchen.
Walter opened the oven door. “See how clean my oven is.”
A little creeped-out I pretended to be impressed. As we walked back to the living room he cranked the middle school blender from pulse to puree.
Walter shouted, “Would you like to see the upstairs?”
Instinct, get out!
I was in my car and backing out before he closed the front door.
I’m not sure why, but all the way home, one of my favorite Mary Richard’s lines looped in my head, “…sometimes alone is better.”
So, to my single friend, there are worse things than being utterly, explicitly and without a doubt alone. Maintaining a clean oven and being forced to listen to really loud jazz are a couple of them.