Life as a Hermit – Day 6

Chet is getting a little irritating. Even my dog has started to find him creepy, and I have had Chet around for awhile. He just sits there and stares. Chet, that is. My dog is actually animated, as though by a brain. It’s like Chet’s eyes follow me as I walk around the room. But then I look, and it’s like he hasn’t moved…at all.

I miss people. I miss my girlfriends that I used to go for coffee with. I miss the man who broke my heart. I miss my kids who have gone away to university. I miss being part of a world that isn’t of my own making. I miss turning on the tv and just sitting, mindlessly, pretending that I am doing something when really I am just filling my brain to keep it from wandering places I am tired of going.

What would I be doing, if I was back in the city, I wonder. Sitting in my house and wishing I was somewhere else, probably.  At least I have that, now. I’m somewhere else. How long will it be, I wonder, before I begin to accept my new reality. I love many things about it, but it remains somewhat foreign. It’s a little bit like leaving a relationship. You don’t really miss the things that are gone, you don’t really miss the person, but you miss the stability, the constancy, the predictability of your days. Sure, some of them are horrible days, but at least you don’t have to plan them from the moment you wake up in the morning until the minute your head hits the pillow at night.

Get out of bed, try to avoid an argument before leaving for work. Enjoy the job you hate because it’s a break from all the tension at home. Begin to feel that heavy, toxic dread in the pit of your stomach as five o’clock approaches. Think about whether you can have a few drinks every night and still get work done the next day. Cry, wipe the tears away as you drive into the garage. Take a deep breath and wonder what you’ve done wrong today, what you will argue about. The arguments are better than the silence. The silence just threatens to abandon you unexpectedly, and when it does, it’s rarely good.

I guess this silence is good. It is my silence. I chose it. But sometimes it makes me want to abandon it, and see how it likes it. I think I’m going to let all the air out of Chet.  I can’t deal with his staring, accusing eyes anymore. See how he likes being drained, empty, flattened.

I think I’ve been reading a little too much Nietzsche. Even my dog is starting to look at me like he expects my head to start spinning around. I’ll make us some pizza in the cob oven, that should cheer him up. And maybe a trip into town tomorrow for a little lunchtime Jack and Coke, and pick up some new books.






Are you gonna eat your fat?

Do you remember the character, Spaulding, in the 1980 cult golf classic movie Caddyshack? He was the consummate spoiled rich kid. Vacuous, sloppy, self-absorbed, and overweight.

He asked his grandfather, a WASPish judge brilliantly portrayed by Ted Knight, at a country club dinner if he was going to eat his fat.

Completely aside from the potentially delectable picture this paints, whenever I come across a man looking for a side chick, or another “open minded polyamorous adventurer” wanting to find another beneficiary of his many talents, I think of Spaulding: the fat kid that just can’t tear himself away from the buffet.

I have been in unhappy relationships. I have also been single for four years because I know what I want. And although I am open minded and sexually liberal enough to make you never want me to meet your parents, the Spauldings in my life are starting to give me a bitter aftertaste.

You want some carefree no-strings-attached sex, or to continually experience the thrill of the chase and then go home to your comfortable double income home in suburbia to sleep beside your (insert ubiquitous adjective here: tired, understanding, oblivious, adventurous, forgiving, sexless) wife who is always there to hear about your day, pay half the bills, share the worries of parenthood or unemployment or asshole parents with you.

Cake eaters, every one of you. Let me tell you what it’s like to be intellectually honest and willing to take a risk to find happiness.

You’re alone 85% of the time you’re not at work. You can’t afford the lifestyle you left. You might even be fighting your ex for child support, or emotionally abused by an ex or your parents, the closest people in your life. All your married friends suddenly find your singleness awkward and inconvenient, and it’s not like they ever go out anymore anyway. You find a group of “single” friends at a local pub, or a support group, or a team or club. You don’t have anything in common except your marital status and maybe a brand of bourbon.

And occasionally, like once in a blue moon, you meet someone that is worth either a. Dating or b. Dragging home for a night (not both. You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy).

And briefly you enjoy some physical or emotional intimacy, but  it is transitory. You don’t quite click, or the sex is laughably  bad, and you continue to watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and do your dishes every evening before you cuddle up in bed with the dog you swore you would never allow onto the furniture.

But you stay single. You don’t settle. You don’t just date someone so you can have someone to listen to you vent about your bad day, wipe your tears away when the next financial/ emotional/ family crisis dawns, or so you have someone to help rake leaves or clean gutters or load the snowblower into your tiny car for a tune up, or a warm spot in the bed that’s made by a human.

Oh wait. No that’s what I do while you cake eaters have your cake and eat it too.

No, Spaulding, I’m not going to eat my fat. It’s all yours. I hope you choke on it like Momma Cass.