Home 🏠 Alone
One is the loneliest number. Or, is it??
I’ve only been home alone for a few days when I notice the smell.
What the hell is that? I think. Did one of the cats kill something? I sniff around, searching for the culprit. I’ve been good about taking out the trash, and there doesn’t appear to be anything rotting in the sink.
And then I realize the source: it’s my feet. I sit down, cross-legged, and inhale just to make sure. Yep.
But with no one home except me, does it really matter if I reek like the innermost circle of hell? I lie down on the couch, throw a blanket over my feet to mask the smell, and turn on the TV. I can take a shower tomorrow. Or the next day.
My wife Jessica leaves town for a week, and I rub my hands together like a cartoon villain scheming.
For those who live with others: What’s your favorite thing to do when your partner, roommate or anyone else with whom you share space is gone? When you get the house, apartment, dwelling, cave, or castle all to yourself? When there’s no one to look upon you with shame or pity?
Mine? It’s being disgusting. Not, like, hoarder levels, but low-key gross, a state of being that arises when the responsibility to be considerate toward others—or even myself—vanishes. Just hedonistic, selfish living. I’m sure there are people that care about hygiene, nutrition, and virtuous thoughts when no one’s around, and more power to them. I wouldn’t know anything about that.
On the first night of bachelor week, I scour the fridge for something to eat. There’s a sack of tiny potatoes, about 15 Miller Lites, and a stack of American cheese singles. I venture out into the night to look for a late-night Mexican drive-thru, but when I find one, the line is too long.
I go to CVS instead. CVS always feels like a movie from the Twisted Mind of Rob ZombieTM after sundown, and my presence does nothing to squelch those vibes. I walk head-first to the frozen food section, a man on a mission. Then I find it. Behold! A Digorno Rising Crust pepperoni. I scurry to the self check-out with my treasure like a rat who’s just found a crumble of blue cheese. Not sure if this is the highest point in my life or the lowest.
When I pull that baby out of the oven, it’s like angels descending from heaven. The thing with Digorno’s crust is it’s more like cake than anything resembling pizza. Me lucky boy, I think.
Nutrition is always the first casualty of my solitude. Eating the worst food when I’m by myself is an indulgence I don’t take lightly. After the late night CVS run, I go grocery shopping the next day and stock up on frozen burritos, even more pizzas.
I also reluctantly buy a bag of carrots and two cucumbers. These will be my anchors to sanity. No matter how perverse my diet gets, at least I have carrots and cucumbers. It’s similar to the first time I went grocery shopping after moving away from home and stocked up on canned pears and black beans because I wanted to prove to the world that I could be a responsible eater, but then I just became the weird college guy who’d have a can of black beans and a can of pears for dinner.
I know what you’re thinking: Typical male, can’t fend for himself, perpetuating a stereotype, etc. This is all only kind of true. I’m not an idiot when it comes to cooking. I mean, I’m no gourmet, but I can follow a recipe. I just don’t see the point in spending time cooking an entire meal for myself, eating it by myself, and then doing the dishes by myself. I don’t want to savor food; I want it to instantly satisfy me. I’d much rather spend my alone time, say, watching Ernest movies, or meticulously picking out the beard hairs that I deem inadequate, or Googling “Why do my feet smell like that?” in an incognito browser, or just staring off into the middle distance until my body takes on the quality of gelatin. Some things you just can’t do when there are other people around.
My cat barfs. He stands over the mess and then looks up at me like, are you going to clean that up?
“Buddy,” I say. “Maybe after I’m finished watching Robin Hood.” I’ve been on a weird classic Disney kick for the past few days—just another symptom of solitary-induced madness.
My cat seems satisfied with the answer, and walks away.
On screen, the handsome fox—dashing and independent—foils the lion prince yet again.
It me, I think.
I start my day by eating two off-brand Pop Tarts, cold, sandwiched together. I also have three carrots, held together like the cylinder of a revolver. Nobody can tell me this isn’t a meal.
For an afternoon snack, I try the cucumber, but find that it’s already soft and a little bit sour. I take this as a sign from a higher power that I should not meddle in the realm of perishable food.
It feels like a revelation: I’m going to make a boozy watermelon.
I’ve never spiked a fruit before, and I’m not entirely sure where the idea comes from, but it hits like a lightning bolt and I then can’t think of anything else. Plus, a watermelon will surely give me some much needed uh vitamins? Nutrients? Whatever has been absent during my week of processed debauchery. Carrots and watermelon in one week—might as well start a health blog.
“I’m looking for vodka,” I tell the woman at the liquor store. “Something cheap.”
The cashier leans over and pulls a 375 mL plastic bottle of Kamchatka, which advertises itself as a vodka and liqueur. The woman actually blows dust off it.
“I’ll take it,” I say.
From my couch, I watch a man outside emerge from a white van and knock on my door. I’m not expecting anyone and, frankly, I’m not wearing pants. I know he can hear the TV because I’m blasting a Youtube video of how to spike a watermelon at full volume.
A scene from Home Alone rings through my head. This is my house. I have to defend it. [Cocks BB gun].
He knocks again. He yells “hello!” He looks toward the window and I duck down. He calls out once more and then walks back to his van. I’ll never know who he was or what he wanted, but the joy I feel when he drives away is immense.
“And don’t come back,” I whisper.
The vodka does not absorb as fast as I thought it would. I skewer the watermelon, creating air pockets in hopes of expediting the process. A day passes. Two. By the third day I don’t even want the watermelon anymore. The bottle of Kamchatka is 3/4s empty. Good enough. I wrap the melon in seran wrap and put it in the fridge. My cat looks at me with a worried look. Are you really going to eat that?
Pretty judgy for a guy who pukes, like, way more than me.
The spiked watermelon is terrible. All I can taste is Kamchatka. I eat a quarter of it and get the kind of buzz that makes you feel like you’ve been inhaling gasoline fumes for too long. But then after a few more bites it doesn’t taste so bad.
I put on Pinocchio. On screen, unsupervised kids turn into donkeys.
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Friday, June 24
Agent Orange, Decent Criminal, SANDS @ The Casbah: Of all the classic Southern California punk bands, Agent Orange might be my second favorite, just under Bad Religion. By blending surf guitar and metal riffs, they stood out in a sea of aggro, and their song “Bloodstains” is one of the best songs of the ‘80s.
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