Sole Train / by Courtney Mehlhaff

So I'm having a bit of an obsession right now with Golden Grahams.  The cereal, not some funky new street drug.  I can't seem to eat enough of them, and I put away about three bowls a day over the weekend.  I do this pretty often with food, just get on a kick and consume something constantly until that undefinable moment when my tastes swing from "Hell, yes!" to "Never again."

The worst time was when I got a quesadilla maker for Christmas. For about four months, that was all I ate every night after work.  Of course I haven't even been able to look at the thing since, but it was fun while it lasted.  Oh, quesadilla maker, don't feel sad.  It's not you, it's me.

I wonder if I'm able to get in these habits simply because I live alone. If I'd felt I needed to justify my dietary patterns to anyone, I might have made an effort to include some variety, or at least felt a twinge of shame at the monotony.  As it is, there's no one to judge me for anything I happen to do.  Eat cookies for supper?  So what.  Fry an egg at 2 a.m.?  Try to stop me. Make brownies and cut out the very middle piece?  Suck it, I'll do what I want.

I once had this conversation with my sister, who also lives alone:

Sister: "Would you judge me if I told you I made a cake yesterday and it's almost gone already?"

Me: "No."

Sister: "How about if I never even put the slices on plates and instead just ate it right out of the pan?"

Me:  "Of course not."

Sister: "What if told you I just left the pan by the side of my bed with a fork in it?"

I say, your house, your rules.  And it doesn't just apply to food.  Does anyone ever close their bathroom door when they live alone?  Or get dressed immediately after a shower?  Or not have the TV, radio, and computer on while talking on the phone? .... they do?  Well, as Bobby Brown so eloquently put it, that's my prerogative.  If I want to keep the thermostat at 75 or stay up till 4 a.m. watching old movies, who's going to complain?  That's the beauty of independence.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my friends with kids secretly hate me for this.  Since I have yet to find that special someone to start a brood with, I have the luxuries of sleeping till noon on Saturdays, discretionary income, and the freedom that comes with virtually no major responsibilities.  Does that make me spoiled or selfish?  Perhaps if I'd turned down several serious marriage offers in favor of carefree living. In reality, my lifestyle isn't decadent or somehow less valuable because I'm single ... it's just different.  I'm working with what I have at the moment, and I'm good with that.

On the downside, you have to learn to keep yourself pretty entertained.  This might have been a problem for me before I lived in Japan for a year -- not so anymore. With almost no one to talk to or anything in English to read, I was forced to be creative.  When I wasn't killing cockroaches or avoiding my topless old lady neighbor, I spent my evenings trying to decipher crazy gameshows on TV and attempting to bake banana bread in my rice cooker. When that failed to amuse, I once resorted to choreographing a routine to the theme song from "Shaft." 

I soon decided that the equation for a tolerable single existence is this:  happiness = the amount of time spent dancing in your living room ... in your underwear.

I honestly don't remember the last time I was bored.  I can't stand hearing someone whining about not having anything to do, because there's always something to do.  What they're really saying is, "There's nothing I want to do."  Did I want to learn the katakana alphabet, or how to whistle the Himi High School song, or every single line in "The Naked Gun," or all the lyrics after "He's a bad mother --shut your mouth?"  No.  But I did it, and now I own it.  Forever.

Sometimes, you gotta make do with what you have.  You gotta find that happy place to escape to in your own head.  You gotta shake what your momma gave you. And you gotta do it to music, alone, wearing as little as possible. Preferably eating a bowl of Golden Grahams.