Quick: can you can identify the object in the photo above? For me, it is a succinct illustration of my qualms about the single life. Apparently I am in the minority on this point, as current statistics indicate that single-by-choice is all the rage. Having had a number of years experience in both married and single categories, I feel compelled to point out the pitfalls of solo living.
Setting aside the obvious fact that two can live more cheaply than one, I am struck by how positively exhausting it is to pull off a life by yourself. Roughly the same number of nuts-and-bolts tasks arise in the execution of a home life, whether one person or two occupy the abode. For instance, when you’re solo there is no one else to take out the garbage — ever. Ditto for mouse, spider and cobweb removal. You are always the driver, the only driver anywhere, for any reason. Need stamps? YOU. Grocery run? YOU. Wait for the cable guy? YOU. Worse yet, wait on hold to get the cable guy appointment?! YOU get my point.
But these are somewhat superficial concerns. The more disquieting issues are both subtle and substantive. Another set of eyes, ears and outlooks are immeasurably helpful in maintaining a balanced and reasonably normal life throughout the long story arc that is the modern self. Most of us are destined to live well into old age, and with accumulating years comes a concentration and distillation of who we are, both the pluses and minuses. When living alone, who is around to deliver a much-needed slap upside the head when veering into distorted thinking or questionable behaviors (i.e., “five cats are pets enough” and “that T-shirt is no longer fit for public display”)?
Which brings me to the mystery photo. I actually stumbled upon this artifact in my boyfriend’s refrigerator. I’d been out of town for many weeks, and not around his place much since the evening we threw a holiday party in 2011. Ah hah, you are now realizing! It’s an hors d’oevre (hence the toothpick) that was put away unwrapped and unnoticed for two months — a frightening sight found well behind the butter, somewhere between the mayonnaise and pickle jars. It’s also an astounding tribute to the preservative powers of prosciutto (let’s hear it for salt!), which dried the no longer visible cantaloupe and prevented the furry, green growth I often find on formerly edible items in my own fridge.
It is, I grant you, a minuscule symbol and assessment of domestic health, but a stark reminder nonetheless of the perils of being home alone all the too much time!
And it gets scarier. I have actually grown fond of the little guy, now situated on my mantle, and am filled with curiosity as to how long this preservation act can go on. Meanwhile here is the online profile for the SCMA (Single Canape of Mixed Ancestry), in case your living arrangements could use a little enhancement…
Photos by Andrea Bonsignore.