Cooking for One and Other Tips for the Crushingly Lonely
Guest post by Kevin Mack.
Human beings are inherently social creatures. We’ve developed hundreds of spoken and unspoken languages, formed societies and ritualized almost every interaction that can exist because we have an innate desire to connect with others. However, there are those who end up shunning typical social interactions and conventions either due to preference, illness or necessity. For many, this shift can be difficult.
Maybe you have some uncontrollable erectile/sweat gland issues or you’ve recently taken a position in an isolated community where you have no pre-existing connections. The point is, becoming a loner might happen overnight, but doing it right doesn’t come that quickly. So for those of you who have found themselves removed from society, here are a number of pointers for functioning on your own.
1. Ziplock is Your God Now
In a culture obsessed with “bigger” and “more”, you might find it tough to make economic purchases for one person with no sharesies. It’s true that some items perish slowly or not at all and are ideal for an annual Costco run (toilet paper, cleansers, Twinkies). However many products, especially food, are sold in ways that make them unsuited for someone living solo. Even worse, they’re usually some of the best foods: taco kits, breakfast cereals, bricks of cheese… all designed for families and all will expire or go stale before you can consume them.
The solution is a simple one: put everything in Ziplock bags and Tupperware. Perishable items can be bagged and frozen in individual portions. You’ll need to work out a dating and labelling system, but that’s half the fun! Speaking of which…
People who have managed to hang on to their souls and avoid the bowels of the internet may not understand the section header above. Allow me to explain. Spegin’ is a bastardization of “asperging,” itself a made-up verb that comes from Asperger’s Syndrome. A part of the “autism spectrum” of disorders, it is characterized by poor socialization, repetitive behavior patterns and unusual obsessions. It’s that last one you’re going to be looking into.
So pick an obsession and go with it! Endlessly arrange and rearrange your furniture until you’ve optimized your daily schedule. Or perhaps you’d rather ceaselessly chain-watch a semi-obscure television program until you have every detail memorized. The choices are endless, and I’m not going to tell you how to have your psychotic episode. Though there are some precautions you might want to take…
3. Try Not to Die
This is going to be one of your most serious problems while living a solitary existence. In fact, you might want to make safety your first over-zealous passion rather than, say, firearm ownership.
Even in the safety and sterility of your own home you’re going to encounter plenty of dangers. From slipping and falling in the shower to choking on your individually portioned Chef Boyardee, you’re going to need to stay ever vigilant without another individual around who is ready and able to provide aid. Which reminds me…
4. Don’t Trust Cats
As the internet easily attests, cats are a tempting thing to sperg about. The companionship provided by these unloving felines has been a draw for shut-ins for centuries. Still, resist the urge to adopt, steal or ceaselessly breed cats. Sure, you don’t have to take them outside like dogs or listen to their endless jabber like birds, but they bring downsides of their own.
Cats are very finicky, and are trained in the same way as, say, a killer whale. Yeah, they’ll do a trick or two if tempted with enough treats, but the second shit goes down they’re fully prepared to eat your corpse (or unconscious body). Also, don’t under-estimate the amount of forced socializing that will occur because of your increasing devotion to your cats. Between the pet store (for food, treats, toys and clothing), the post office (picking up your issues of Cat Fancy or Fancy Cats or whatever) and the photomat (developing pictures of your cat with their treats/toys/clothing), you’ll be hard pressed not to make a few accidental friends along the way. However, cats are an exception to another new rule…
5. Stop Avoiding Timesinks
You know how you watch TV and there’s that one character that’s established as the uber-nerd due to his association with a single activity that takes up all his free time? That can totally be your life!
World of Warcraft, Linux programming, retro video gaming (really, any video gaming if you do it right), model building… if it takes more than three hours of your day at a time and most of your disposable income, you’re on the right track.
6. Start Avoiding Everything Else
Now that you’ve put the time and effort into being truly alone, don’t spoil it by making some friends or having what the average person would call a life.
Visits to the gym, nights out, team sports and other such activities will only bring you back into the society that spurned you. Ignore community postings, volunteer work or neighborhood events, too. The last thing you want to do is make an effort… even though you’ve got nothing to lose.
Care to share some experiences dealing with your own crushing loneliness? Post a comment and let us know.
Kevin Mack is a freelance writer, probably, who lives alone, why not. He and his imaginary friends have a Twitter account you should follow.
Want to guest blog for You Amuse Me? Send an email to emma(at)youamuseme(dot)com, and we’ll send you the details!