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Living Experiment, General Observations

September 20, 2008

Waaay back in the day, God decided it wasn’t good for a person to be alone. No surprise, He was right. But not only for the obvious reasons ~proof one isn’t talking to oneself (cats give that, really), reaching top shelves and opening jars, or even being an economical heat source~ but having an other helps us to elevate ourselves beyond a base existence, living without accountability.

Craig has been gone 4 weeks and my consumption of fresh produce has been, within reasonable error, a pile of green beans, an eggplant (left over from the curry dinner I hosted for a few friends in hospitality repayment), and a carrot [aside: carrots will keep for a freakishly long time standing in a glass of water in the fridge]. Oh, and a delicious bowl of cherry tomatoes from a friend who likes to grow them, but not to eat them. I’m afraid that’s it. When he is here, we go to Saturday market and load up on greens and other deep colors because he refuses to lay a carbohydrate base as the locals do and, with his support, I can’t bring myself to face much dead animal. So, with a kitchen full of plants so perfectly ripe, they take priority. It guts me to see food go to waste. But without him loading up the shopping bags, I find myself living on beans, rice, and even pasta.

Right, accountability. My personal pleasures run toward quiet indoor games such as reading, sewing, wasting time in cyberspace with the excuse of “keeping up with the outside world,” making art, doting on the cat. None of these do squat to burn off the previous paragraph or strengthen the heart or maintain bone mass. But when Craig returns, his early rising (admittedly, by our standards) will move me to quit the bed sooner and shamble off to the gym for a ready-made exercise class MWF.

Even socially, I find myself becoming more hermit-like. Without someone else here reminding me that it will be fun and giving me a reason to clean up and put on nice clothes, I’m happy puttering about in this home we’ve made. Eventually, people would stop inviting me ~which, of course, would hurt my feelings even if I didn’t really want to go~ and I would never go out. There be the way to 100 cats.

The sleep research hasn’t revealed anything useful, except that regardless of when I go to bed or when the ginormous jackhammers start up in the morning, I’m brain-dead until 10:00 a.m. Sleep for 8 hours or 11, it doesn’t seem to matter. Ask the cat. He’s been through a full wake cycle and back to napping before I cease to be so borink. If he’s persistent, he might drag me out to make a meat breakfast ~only from guilt about his digestive health~ but it’s a temporary verticality. I have a theory about the jackhammers: rather than keeping me awake, it feels like being pounded flat. Try to stand up under that.

At least I am finding my own housekeeping boundaries. I feared I might never care, but eventually the floor feels too dirty, the shower curtain gets slimy, the cob webs must go, and the dust becomes too much. It is my shame to be able to ignore what my mother would never abide, but there it is. So, my world is cleaner for sharing it with another.

Of course, this is an artificial situation, a 6 week experiment. But would I resolve to do these things for my own good? For his health and happiness, I cook the vegetables, make social commitments, and abandon the covers to wish him good day. Perhaps, were it my life rather than my vacation, I would take a longer view, a more responsible and healthy perspective. I hope it never comes to finding out.

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