For the first time in 13 years, I found myself single again. But before desperate chaps, horsewhipped by life and unable to hide their tics, start lining up outside my door with a bunch of service station flowers and a bottle of Jacob's Creek – it was only temporary. The economist was in Mountain View, working as a contractor at Google headquarters. Don't ask me what he was doing there, I'm sworn to secrecy. Oh, alright. He was eating all the free food: the Googleplex has 33 restaurants and everything is gratis (“Couldn't find a pub, though”), riding around a campus the size of Mosgiel and meeting Googlenaires. Did you know new Google staff are called Nooglers?
Neither did I.
“Shall we just rock up at the gate on Monday morning and ask for you?” he inquired of his host. Not so fast my little country bumpkin, there would be a two hour orientation, complete with laptop gifting and password conferring. “What about 'Big Boy?'” joked the economist. “Oh, suuuure,” said the security geek, only to look up from his terminal a moment later, gobsmacked: “Actually, Big Boy's still available.” “Big Boy's still available?!” marveled the tech beside him. Cue disbelief all round. Never underestimate the economist's power to surprise.
“I'm going to watch ALL the movies!” he'd boasted as I dropped him off for his 17-hour flight. I was going to watch all the movies too, starting with a boxed set of Vikings, featuring Australian ex-model Travis Fimmel before moving on to Mad Men and a little Don Draper (more clothes, just as much nooky, less bloodshed). Its not perving if its historical.
“Nice shoes,” said a San Franciscan, of the economist's bright red sneakers. “Thanks! I bought them specially for this trip. $10 at the Warehouse.”
“Nice shoes,” said my mum. “Thanks! Kathryn Wilson, only $299. Felt like a bit of a splurge.”
“The idea of being single again can have you feeling lost and overwhelmed,” writes clinical psychologist Jennifer Kromberg in Psychology Today. Hmmm. Not really, although I did seem to have lost the remote. Ha! In my dressing gown pocket all along. “For a healthy adjustment, its important to take time for yourself.” Jenny needn't have worried, I was killing 'time for yourself.' If it ever became an Olympic sport, I'd be getting a gold.
Things I learnt from 11 days of enforced singleness:
There is no need to cook. A bottle of red wine and a packet of chips count as nutrition.
One might not be the loneliest number. I know some twos who really hate each other.
Being up-to-date with current affairs is hugely overrated. With no one around to complain, you may feel free to change the radio station from Radio New Zealand National to The Rock. Ah, Queens of the Stone Age. That Josh Homme is very spunky for a redhead. Maybe he has a bit of Viking in him.
Sleeping in is an oft-forgotten pleasure. As is silence in the mornings (the economist wakes with the birds, full of the joys of the world and ready to talk about them – its intensely annoying). In his absence, I've never had so much sleep. “Yeah, I got a lot of sleep. For 7 years,” said the Tamster, of her own single lady time.
I was already doing everything, anyway.
There ARE plenty of fish in the sea, but there's something wrong with them.
It is much easier to get things done if you don't need to negotiate about paint colours/light fittings/or whether we need yet more furniture. “Nice sideboard,” said mum. “Where are you going to put it?”
The economist is really really messy. Although, as much as a series of rooms in a state of insane neatness calms my raging OCD, really, there is nothing sadder than a tidy house. Still, you could have held an Open Home without shame.
“Prepare for the tempest of my return,” emailed my Norse adventurer. Twelve time zones, half an hour's drive back from Momona and twenty minutes later (arriving before he left), the house was covered in a scruff of pens, bubble wrap, Wikipedia printouts about Alcatraz and balled-up Googleplex restaurant napkins. A honey knife was glued to the bench, the bed was all rumpled. Home was the hunter, home from the sea.
“Why's there a FOR SALE sign out the front?” he asked, bleary eyed.
Poor man. Jet lag's a terrible thing.