"I don't understand how you can do it," an acquaintance of mine asked during a phone conversation last night, adding, "…and do it for so long."
My response was simple, even terse, if you will: "I live with Rex [my Cocker Spaniel] and I enjoy it," and then went on to other discussions.
I thought about that today, as I wound down my "workday," rather early. Am I "loner?" I wondered. I don't consider myself so, though I like being alone, just with Rex, though he's now 11 and tends to sleep a lot.
I have lived with others, after all I was married and they never worked out, nor did a couple of girlfriends with whom I lived. For one reason or another, as well as that I, perhaps, am not the easiest person with whom to live apparently, though I'm not sure why, we all, in the vernacular, split.
My apartment's quite nice. Perhaps the décor isn't for everyone, but it fits me. My living room is quite comfortable and the dining seats a half dozen for when I do decide to prepare dinners for friends. My den/office is utilitarian, filled with photos and artwork and generally in disarray.
While I have few visitors, those who do visit are first struck by the artwork. Two large "real" posters (on canvas and that I carried home from France in the late 90s) dominate the bedroom and living are; while the rest is original artwork. My office comprise almost a treasure trove of photos of politicians and memorobilia from my newspaper days, as well as other, I think, interesting things on the wall.
"How do you eat?" "Do you clean your house?" What kind of questions are these. Cooking's easy, even if you've never done it before. And what does it take to clean a 1400 square foot apartment. Okay, I'm dynamite with a vacuum, but not too good with a dust rag. Bathrooms are easy. What difference does it really make. I like, as Hemingway said, "…a clean, well-lighted place…" and I keep it that way.
Do I get lonely? Nah, I have Rex…and a telephone. As to the latter, I'm not big extended phone calls, but I keep in touch. I'm thoroughly entertained and engaged by television and reading, as well as Rex.
Are you that way because you're older? I'm often asked. Hell no. I've always been that way.
Now were I living alone and had no social intercourse, that would, indeed, be quite different. It's not a question, however, as I do.
Living alone [without a roommate or spouse] is the wrong question. The correct one is whether or not one is engaged in society, has friends. I do and that is the way my life is lived.