I sometimes think that the desire to get married, it’s not about getting laid, it’s not about financial security, it’s not about keeping up with your insufferable married neighbors with the matching shirts, and it’s not even about feeling loved. It’s about knowing you matter.
Despite the fact that there’s dozens of people you encounter in a day or a week, isolation is inevitable. Spending any significant time with your own thoughts will give you the distinct impression of separation and disconnect.
And what single person hasn’t had the thought “if I died in my apartment tonight, how long would it take someone to find my body?” (I max out at a week interval. If I died on a Sunday night, by Sunday mid-afternoon someone will have noticed.)
Most of the time I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about being single. I love it.
I love that when I’m eating in bed and I’ve spilled caramelized onions on the floor that I don’t notice for a week, there’s no one around me to go “ewwww” when I pick up the crusty corpse. But there are times, at the end of the day, or the week, or the month, whenever I’ve got time to think about it, I get a little sad.
Most of the time being ancillary to my friends is a plus. I get invited to spontaneous events, I don’t get invited to uncomfortable family events, I’m there to listen to conversations that don’t annoy me and I’ve got an easy out if they do (“have you told your husband/boyfriend/anyone else, please God, tell someone else”).
But when I get the phone call that cancels plans with a “sorry my husband and I are doing this instead, hope we catch up soon!” Or the “You’re flexible right? I’m just booked with family stuff this week” or even the “thanks for the offer, but this is kind of a family thing, you know?” There’s just a tiny part of me that puts a numerical value on my importance. Oh right, husband, family, work, me and fifteen other people you never see.
I’m cancellable. I’m expendable. If you’ve got a full week and one thing has got to go, it’s probably going to be me. (“She’ll understand, besides, I can make plans with her whenever.”)
Normally I truly don’t mind this. Because most of the time I’d rather be at home watching movies on the couch, anyway. But it’s the core concept isn’t it? When it comes to mattering — and this goes both ways — I don’t have someone that I rely on that relies on me to show up.
Of course, around my apartment I know I’m more highly valued. Those leftovers, for example, won’t eat themselves.
Although, there are other things that can eat them. Budding penicillin always tries to fight me for them. But at least at home I know where I rank. I’ll either win, place, or grow my own culture from what I’m pretty sure might have been lasagna.