Is being a “couple” everything that it’s made out to be — that I ask you? Yeah, I know I should know. I have coupled a few times in my life — but never successfully. Could it just have been my disastrously bad choice in men? I can hear my mother chortling from heaven. She abhorred the ex-ex — would have been happy if she never ever had to meet him at all. So, it was indeed a blessing for her, and probably for me, that we spent all of our time together in Europe. But, on the other hand, she adored the murmuring ex-husband — probably had something to do with his Irish looks and heritage. When I married him, I sensed that I had moved up in her approval ratings. So I shouldn’t have been surprised, when I called her to say that I had thrown the rat out for his slimey doings, that she said, “But I loved him!” I did not feel comforted.
This whole subject came up during my first Spring-Stoop-Sitting last Sunday. I was lured down the stairs by my favorite guy in the whole world — 5 year old Finley Romeo who lives next door. We were having a serious balcony-to-sidewalk chat about Spring, chalk drawings and watermelons. He was enjoying the first, was working on the second on the sidewalk in front of my house and planted seeds for the third. To hold up my end of the conversation, I told him that I may just be the only girl in the world — or at least the block — who has her very own Watermelon-Piggy-Bank. He looked doubtful so the only thing left to do was go down the stairs with said Piggy Bank to prove it and to continue our most interesting conversation.
Finn was busy putting the finishing touches on a chalk drawing of my breakfast just in case I hadn’t eaten yet. He thought the Piggy Bank was pretty awesome — which is a great complement from any guy — but especially him. His Mom came up and sat with me — and the Pig, of course — on the steps and we started our first official Stoop Sitting of 2014. It made me happy.
I grew up sitting and playing and singing and squabbling with my brothers and sisters on the front porch. Our house was pretty small for fourteen people, so I think my mom just pushed us out there to get some room for herself. However, it was not without limitations. As the screen door slammed shut, she’d shout out at us, “And Stay On That Porch!” She didn’t say anything, however, about us sitting/standing/squatting on the bannister. This was the ideal perch for us little girls to keep a look out for red convertibles (top-down-only), a lady in a polka dot dress and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. This was important because after you had spotted each and every one of them — the very next man you saw would be THE MAN YOU WOULD MARRY! I never managed to get the whole list of things — which may say something about my later inability to keep wedded.
Back on Major Street, last Sunday, the conversation drifted to the advantages of single life vs. coupled life when Terry, who lives downstairs, came out and joined us. Terry was feeling lonesome. She had just ended a longish live-in relationship with a guy and all of her kids were away. So, now, all of the sudden, she was ALONE for a whole day and didn’t quite know how to handle that. She said that she has never in all of her 30-something years been alone. Wowsie, think of that? I started counting years and realized that I, on the other hand, have lived almost as many years alone as I have with someone. [As I write this, the cats have grunted from the back of my almost-ruined-by-their-girths couch that I was NOT exactly alone, excuse them. I’m ignoring them. For this slight, I am serenaded with a meow-version of Roberta Flack’s song about Sick Old Ladies Kissing Cats. Very funny indeed.]
Finn’s mom, said she’d had a good sampling of both but didn’t offer any opinion of which she preferred. I thought this was a bit of a cop out but I didn’t speak up because I was so enjoying the sun and the warmer temperatures and the company of these two youngish women. I thought of getting academic about it and telling them of my findings from a study I had done for my senior thesis at Trinity in DC. The title of my tome was “Single Women: Living a Pitiful Life or Enjoying an Enviable Option.” It was praised by my professor as being an “an excellent, articulate, and well researched project.” (I still bask in those words.) Anyway, per our porch conversation, what I wanted to tell these ladies was that the majority of the women I interviewed said that the only things they missed about not having a guy around on a day-to-day basis were regular sex and someone to do the little jobs around the house — sadly, I got neither of those when I married the murmuring ex-husband.
Finn was finished drawing and the Pig wanted to go in so we ended our Stoop Sitting. Terry decided the best thing to do was to go down and buy a bottle of wine and sit and watch a movie of her own choosing — and wait for her kids to come back in the morning. I think she’s got this alone stuff licked.