Sometimes, it’s lonely.
Mid-afternoon, I remembered my friend had rescheduled our outing tonight. I wanted to concoct Plan B, but was preoccupied working on a research project. Then at 5:45pm, my subordinate blindsided me with a couple of reports. Sure, they could have waited until after the weekend, but there were good reasons not to procrastinate, especially, because I didn’t have plans tonight. Annoyed with my subordinate and annoyed not having somewhere else to be at, I stayed glued to my desk until quarter to eight.
Now what? Hmm, the one single girl who could swing an impromptu get together is out of the country. (In Paris. Crashing on the couch of her parent’s hotel room. Hey, it’s still Paris.) The married couple with no kids is in Spain. Even the ex-boyfriend, if I would have stooped that low to reach out to (such not-so-infrequent bad judgment exercised when inebriated) is out of town. Ooh, what about Annie? Oh, I’m seeing her tomorrow. Besides, it’s Friday and she’s entitled to family time with her husband and daughter. Gosh, even my homebody sister seems to be out and about tonight.
Too late to take yoga. I need to give my knees a break so I can’t go run. Oh, maybe I can do one of those fun fitness workouts on DVD before winding down. That’s much healthier than making myself a drink. Et tu, DVD player? You were on your last legs I know, but tonight’s the night you fail for good? I could deep-condition my hair…ugh, but the production. I only worked 12 hours today and I’m not going to give one more hour to a shower cap. Facebook, I don’t want to broadcast to the world I’m online on a Friday night. Besides, the past three hours it’s been the same six updates–two restaurant check-ins, Boo, an article share, a friend’s kid’s monkey bar accident and another friend’s kid’s note to the tooth fairy.
……I don’t hate the kid stuff tonight. Kid broke his arm falling from the monkey bar. Photos show the two-year old in toddler scrubs with the mom noting he’s been brave and smiling throughout his two-night stay at the hospital. Letter to tooth fairy says, “dear tooth fairy my tooth is a little bit small but it is still a tooth so don’t worry ok!!!” Mom’s note: “Had to share. She’s one lucky tooth fairy.” And after a couple of drinks (hey, I tried but none of my healthy options wanted to cooperate), I kinda just wanna cry. THAT’s what I’m missing out on. When the parents say, “Yeah, but when you have kids…it’s different.” Or when they say, “When I come home from a long day and see the face of my kid, it instantly wipes out everything. All that bullshit’s just irrelevant.”
Me, I’m stuck in that bullshit. I worked my ass off all week. Made progress on that spiritual tome. I worked on some ideas for that creative project. I cracked up a friend who desperately needed a laugh. When I saw a logical job lead for the old crush, I forwarded it him even though there was zero upside (I was excited to run into him at a conference last week, only to notice his ring finger.) Heck, I trained a new hire and flashed smiles at the nervous kid all week never mind the miserable hay fever. When the on-again-off-again-currently-technically-off-again-ex called after a three-day silence, instead of getting mad, I helped him get in touch with the owner of the abandoned Kindle he found in the park. The old man apparently thanked him profusely, saying he was lucky it was he who found it.
Et moi? I’m not asking for a pat on the back. Acknowledgement. Gratitude. Maybe even respect. Look, I know I’m not a kid. I do these things because I believe in the accumulation of small good deeds, regardless of feedback. But on a night like this, I wonder if any of this matters. If next Friday I’m going to feel the same way–a tad sorry for myself–irrelevant. A month from now? A half a year from now? Shit, five, ten years?
I look around at my sparingly decorated apartment. A single person lives here, it says. I daydream. That colorful toy truck on the floor. Crayon drawings on the wall. I fantasize about having a child fall asleep in my arms. Tonight I wouldn’t mind that life. It seems like a perfect Friday.