29 March, 2009

Alone is so very much in the mind

For the past 18 months, I have had a housemate. We did not see that much of each other. We did not socialize every day. We rarely did things together. When we were both home, typically, one of us was in our room. Often, one or both of us were not home at all. It was not really that much different from living alone.

This weekend, he moved to a new place. And now, I do not have a housemate anymore. 

Now... I live alone.

And while this is really no different today than it was yesterday, when he lived here, but we didn't see each other, it is somehow, fundamentally different. I feel alone. There's no possibility of someone else coming home. There is no chance for unexpected conversation in passing. When I see a piece of paper on the counter, or a dish in the sink, or a leftover in the refrigerator, I will now know with 100% certainty that the paper was put there by me, the dish was from food that I ate, and that the leftover was from a meal that I purchased. If I don't throw away the paper, it will stay there. If I don't wash the dish, it will stay there. If I don't eat the left over, it will go bad in the fridge. It's besides the point that, to some extent, all three of those issues were true even when my housemate did live here, because those happen to be areas in which he was not exemplary (though he was, most definitely, a good housemate).

Somehow the uncertainty made a difference though. Now, it's just me. I feel alone. I look at the one piece of furniture that is missing - one of the two sofas that was in the living room - and although it's a tiny subtraction from the living space, to me it stands like a crater from a mortar shell, and I look at that spot thinking: "What the hell am I gonna do about that big empty space?"

I put a chair there already. But it's empty. I guess when you live with a particular arrangement of furniture in your home for awhile, the brain needs to remap. Just like when you get a tooth pulled; for days, weeks, months, you will be tonguing the hole where the tooth lived, and recognizing its absence, which feels greater than it actually even is, because of the hyper-awareness to it, and the unchange of the juxtaposed landscape.

I did not find a new housemate. I looked. But it appears that the rental market has become very soft. Even after dropping the asking amount by almost 20% I still received zero calls. And below a certain amount, it really wasn't worth it to me to have to deal with the risks of needing to trust a new person in my home. I got lucky once. Would I be so lucky again.

So. Here I am. 

After a nice long phone call, I feel a little less alone than I did earlier. But these next few months are probably going to be an adjustment. Although 13 out of my 18 respondents to the Myers-Briggs were introverts, sadly, I am not. Solitude is a prison for me.

Fortunately, come May, I will have a couple of small, 4-legged housemates. At least that's something, right?

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