As I write this I am alone for the weekend. Gorgeous is away on a trip to visit her daughter. There is also a second trip scheduled for later this month when she’ll stay with a close friend and visit her sister. Consequently, these getaways of hers become scheduled “bachelor” times for me. They are, if you will, my bacchanalic blowouts, my conspicuous consumptions, my gratuitous gratifications. Or in simple layman’s terms, Hostess Heydays.
Comparatively speaking, I have indeed consumed mass quantities of food in the last 48 hours. Additionally, there have been more TV shows and movies watched than at any time since my retirement began, some of them perhaps even reaching a high school-level mentality.
Other than taking Gorgeous to the airport, and one very critical expedition to a Chinese restaurant for take-out, I have not made any treks to the great outdoors. Gym visits are temporarily on hiatus. The only exercise I’ve been getting are the required knee-bends to reach things on the lower refrigerator shelf. The fruit and vegetable bins, also on the lower shelf, remain fully stocked and untouched. Sorry, Michael Pollan, not this particular weekend, thank you very much.
This is my alone time, and I am affirmatively rejecting the conventional idiom of “holding the fort.” That usage would construe a mature and responsible manner which I think belies the type of zen that I’m aiming for at the moment. No, this is a weekend in which I’ve channeled my inner Onslow. I am happily ensconced in my own particular essence of the Great Unwashed. Unless you’ve got a DVD of “Duck Soup” or “This is Spinal Tap,” my door is closed to the public at large. Don’t even bother knocking.
The so-called bachelor weekend has a long and glorious tradition in the modern marriage. While some use it to initiate get-togethers with others (i.e., poker playing or sports outings for men, shopping or wine confabs for women), still others such as myself see it as a completely solitary opportunity. My stag aspirations are to do nothing more than that which my parents frowned upon during my teen years. Courtesy of early retirement, I’m already fortunate enough on most days to be able to read to my heart’s content (a heavenly gift, btw). But with an empty home presently available, and the usual requirement that conversation and noise be kept to a very dull roar (due to Gorgeous’s need for a harmonious working atmosphere), I am taking full advantage of Newton Minnow’s vast wasteland.
Go wild, Dude. Crank the volume.
All of this, though, is actually unfamiliar ground for me in recent years. After my first marriage ended, when I actually was a bachelor again, I over-compensated with my alone time. With very few exceptions, my routines were always structured and disciplined. To keep busy, and probably to temporarily mask that which made me agitated, I became a Felix Unger neat-freak. Saturdays were spent cleaning my apartment from top-to-bottom — literally a full four-hour operation each week — followed by shopping errands. Sunday afternoons were all about cooking meals that would take me to at least Wednesday or possibly Thursday. Only after all the work was done did I give myself a break to sit in front of the TV. Most often I would wake up around 2:00am with the lights on and TV on, the second martini again having done its job.
In my heart I wanted to be Oscar Madison, a carefree tomcat. However, providence and an obnoxious need for order and oversight won the battle for control.
Enter the wonderful second marriage.
It is said that second marriages offer a great abundance of gratitude. Counselor and therapist Jamie Simkins Rogers writes wonderfully about such gratitude, explaining that “[P]eople who are in second marriages possess a deep sense of gratitude—gratitude for a second chance, and gratitude for life and love, knowing how sweet and fleeting they are. Gratitude elevates us.”
I couldn’t agree more. I am able to enjoy my alone time this weekend, and am planning to later this month too, because I am grateful for the fact that my special person will return home right on schedule. The order that she brings to my life, and for which I am indeed grateful, is the greatest of all possible rewards. Gratitude is powerful.
Still, her return to the palace doesn’t take for another six and a half hours when I have to go fetch her at the Orlando airport. In the meantime there is leftover egg foo young in the fridge that absolutely must be consumed, and an episode of Route 66 saved on the DVR in which I understand Tod and Buz help some forlorn character out of their morass. Oh, wait, wasn’t that every episode of that show? Well, no matter, I’m still watching it. Vast wasteland indeed, Mr. Minnow.
Until next time…