I am a single woman. I live alone. Ordinarily, I don’t give my situation much thought. I am reasonably happy in my solitude. Oh, there are times I would love to turn from the doorway where I am admiring a particularly spectacular sunset and say to my partner, “Oh, come look.” I miss sharing the simple pleasures of the day.
Now, at last, I know why I don’t have a man in my life. I discovered the reason quite by accident. Some mornings I have coffee before work with the guys down at the city shop. They are a great bunch, and I enjoy their company. The other morning I mentioned that on Saturday I just might drive down to Grass Range for a burger and piece of pie.
In unison the men turned puzzled faces to me and said, “Why?”
Then they erupted in a series of other questions.
“You would drive all the way to Grass Range for a hamburger?”
“Why Grass Range?”
“Why not?” I countered. “These are the last precious days of autumn. It is a stunning drive. And a hamburger and homemade pie at the Little Montana Café is a treat. I don’t just sit at home all the time. I go out and do things.”
“You could be watching good stuff on cable instead of running all over the country. We’ve been telling you that you need to get a television,” one of the men said to me. He shook his head at my obtuseness. “HD, maybe even 3-D, big screen. My cable package costs me only seventy dollars a month. I have unlimited choices, anything I want for entertainment. And you will ... .”
“Yes, I will spend seventy dollars on gas to drive to Grass Range for lunch,” I interrupted him. “I get more pleasure from that than I would from any amount of television.”
“You’re missing some really great reality shows.”
“But driving to Grass Range is reality,” I argued.
“How can you live without television?” another man said. “I get home from work, kick off my shoes, grab a beer, sling back in my recliner with the remote and watch all the football games. That’s real living.”
“You know, when you finally see the light and go shopping for your new television, you gotta get a recliner too. You can’t have one without the other,” another voice jumped into the fray.
“Make that two recliners. One with a man in it,” yet another snickered.
Something about their teasing conversation stayed with me. I made an informal survey of the average Montana home. Sure enough, they all had the two things that my home lacks. Big screen television and recliners.
I walk into the center of my living room. I like my living room. It is inviting. It offers a pleasing balance of warmth and comfort and beauty, a relaxing place for visiting friends and stimulating conversation. I snuggle into my overstuffed chair, put my feet up on the ottoman, and grab a book. My cat jumps into my lap, purring. I shudder at the thought of television muscling into my space. I despise recliners.
And that is why I live alone.
(Sondra Ashton graduated from Harlem High in 1963 and left for good. She finds, after returning, things now look a bit different. Join her in a discussion of her column at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com.)