Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy time to myself. I think time apart can be great for relationships. But Storm and I have been together a while and we do a lot of things together. Not that I think we’re exceptional in any way, it’s just that now that I have 11 days of singledom, I have time to reflect. And reflect I have… and so here I present to you a list of things that normally I do in company that I now must consider whether to do in isolation. To assist me in my deliberations (and you also, should you find yourself in similar circumstances), I’ve taken a few moments to rank them also.
Let’s get the losers out of the way early. Tennis, Table Tennis and Badminton (0/10). Verbal Arguments (1/10) lest people think you are on a train to Alzheimerton. Shopping (0/10) this is irrespective of company, or lack thereof.
There are the things that actually revolve around displaying some sort of ability to your significant other and as such lose effect in their absence: examples include Golf, Body Surfing, Tenpin bowling, and crossover skipping (<5/10). Variations of these are fine to undertake solo: driving range, swimming, Wii Tenpin bowling and normal, boring skipping (all 6-7/10).
One word – SCRABBLE; synonym for destroy, annihilate and/or humiliate. Scrabble loses at least 6 points with the loss of a partner (to ~2/10). That is unless you sit somewhere a little further along the Aspergers spectrum and use the time to hone your abacus-like calculative abilities and make sure that every tile is placed in perfect alignment and that each word score adds up to a Fibonacci number. Interestingly enough, the context of so many scrabble games – namely, a coffee shop and a flatwhite – is relatively unaffected due to the ability to occupy one’s time with a newspaper or with people-watching.
Cooking (4-5/10) loses a few points for a couple of simple reasons. Firstly, cooking is inherently something undertaken for the pleasure of others. We can derive indirect pleasure through the pride of our work or the enjoyment others draw, but we’re not the central focus of the play. Secondly, when you’ve cooked for 2 for over 4 years, you’re not necessarily going to have the presence of mind to alter proportions. As a result, and using tonight as an example, you will be eating honey-soy stirfried veges with ramen noodles for the next 8 consecutive meals. Lastly, so the adage goes “they that cooks, washes up not”. Cook and wash up? Why that’s a travesty, in my humble opinion.
Work (7/10). Odd I know, but with no-one warm and snuggly to have you wishing you remained under covers, it’s a bit easier to get to work on time. Hobbies (7/10) – my most recent one has been electronic circuits. Hobbies often require decent amounts of focussed attention, and are not well attuned to regular interruptions for, say, convivial discussions of one’s day. Keeping in mind that we are inclined to show-off, make sure your hobby task is complete before your partner’s return so they can ooh and aah in all the right places and leave you feeling less of a hermited geek and more of a man… “That’s the best home-made, self-calibrated, unconstrained Theremin I’ve ever seen… I’m so glad you’re my boyfriend! You’ll protect me in this most technological of futures!”…
Anyway, to the good’uns. First the dirty – playing with yourself… on the Playstation (8/10). No guilt, no time limits, no commitments. The only thing that tempers this is that you indeed play so much that you get bored of your games within a much shorter timeframe than otherwise might’ve been the case. Musical instruments or music (8/10). Despite the obvious inclination to impress others with your mad guitar skills, it wears off well before the 4 year mark. As a result, if you’re not doing it for you… why bother? Similarly, listening to music is an intensely personal experience and I do not expect others to share musical inclinations at any given moment. Alone, I control the CD player; in company, I compromise.
Penultimately, and perhaps surprisingly, photo-albums (9/10) – whether it be nostalgia about the times you’ve shared with your temporarily-absent other or a simple inkling to reminisce on some times that existed before you were together. You are the link that binds your photos, and hence it should be your experience. Together, you can only fully share the portion of photos that your partner appears in (or has some link to). Solo, you have total ownership – pride, shame, nostalgia, regret, love, idle remembrance. You don’t need to drive down memory lane all that often, so why not utilise the free time a break provides to wander, at leisure, down paths since forgotten and o’ergrown?
Lastly, for now, exercise (9/10). My poison is an afternoon ride along the river. You can run, climb, do weights, fit-ball, skip, stretch… You’re given an additional incentive in that, upon their return, you can be guaranteed that they’ll think to themselves “has he always been this buff, this hot, this super-mega attractive?” And then you can get back to things we do best in company…
I am aware that this list is inconclusive. Notable omissions include: internet browsing, facebooking, blogs (yay!), masturbation (it’s amazing I’ve had time to write this really), fishing, chores, and pub. Given that this piece is now longer than a number of my supposedly scholarly 1st year uni papers, I think I shall wind up…
But not before saying, bring on day 12 😀