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Friday, 8 April 2011

WHAT I'VE LEARNT (SO FAR...)

I’ve learnt to go to the toilet before leaving to go anywhere because I’ll either have a long walk to my car or get stuck in a traffic jam.

I’ve learnt to proceed with caution through an intersection littered with broken glass.

I’ve learnt that I don’t know a single person who has won a substantial amount of money on a scratch-it – and I know a lot of people.

I’ve learnt that if I preface any request with “Please remember” instead of “Don’t forget”, they usually remember.

I’ve learnt that crying doesn’t always mean I’ll get my own way.

I’ve learnt to take the first vacant carpark I see instead of driving around for another 10 minutes in search of one closer to the door. (Invariably, when I give up that palaver and return to the original vacant spot, it has been taken.)

I’ve learnt that if I say “I think I’ll have one more drink” I don’t need to have one more drink.

I’ve learnt that bad hair days strike without warning yet no one but me seems to realise I’m having one.

I’ve learnt that it is difficult to use a heavy period as a reason to take a sick day when I have a female boss.

I’ve learnt that I will always forget to take my lunch to work on a day when I don’t have the time to go and buy it.

I’ve learnt to take my own supply of tea bags with me when I travel so that I’m guaranteed a decent cuppa.

I’ve learnt that if you hang school uniforms up the minute the dryer finishes, you don’t need to iron them.

I’ve learnt that if I keep my hair long and straight, it only needs cutting twice a year.

I’ve learnt that even though my daughter is an adult, she still needs her mum.

I’ve learnt that I can set my clocks up to 15 minutes fast and I’ll still be late.

I’ve learnt that a slick of lip gloss can make all the difference.

I’ve learnt that when I’m making last minute excuses to get out of diabolically dull function, the same obscure relative cannot die more than twice in the same year.

I’ve learnt that every man I know, from my grandfather down, hides personal items in his underwear drawer.

I’ve learnt that while today’s music may hold my attention for a short while, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Dire Straits and Barbra Streisand are everlasting.

I’ve learnt that I will never regret the extra 10 minutes I spent sitting on my daughter’s bed rubbing her back while she went to sleep.

I’ve learnt that an electric blanket keeps small children in their bed more and my bed less.

I’ve learnt that I really couldn’t care less about the pregnancy stretch marks that adorn my body.

I’ve learnt that no matter how hard I try and convince myself, the McDonald’s breakfast sausage looks more like a rissole than a sausage.

I’ve learnt that I sometimes don’t need more sleep, I just need more time out.

I’ve learnt that people will regularly forget what I said to them, but they will never forget how I made them feel.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

SECRET SINGLE BEHAVIOUR


It is entirely possible that I’ve lived alone for too long, indulging my whims, dancing to the beat of my own drum, setting my own agenda, etc etc.

Of course my mother disagrees. She thinks you can never live alone for long enough. But that might be because when I rang to tell her the theme of my blog, she answered the phone saying, “you’ll never believe what your bloody father has done this time.”

Mmmmmm.

Living alone isn’t the sad sorry scenario is can sometimes be painted by Smug Marrieds (thanks Bridget ) or worried grandparents. Mine have long given up saying, “can’t you find yourself a nice chappie?”

And while it is delightful to snuggle up in bed at night with Lover Bloke, giggling and carrying on like you’re the only two people on the planet, there are certain unalienable benefits to snuggling up alone.
The remote would be one of them.

You can watch what you want, when you want, how you want. I can replay that corny scene from Notting Hill where Hugh Grant busts in on Julia’s press conference as many times as I want. I can even fall asleep when it’s on, if I want.

Football, cricket and horse racing never sour my screen. The toilet bowl is skiddy-free, the milk is fat-free and my fridge is beer-free.

But even better, I can do those things that you can only when you’re totally and gloriously alone.

I can finish work, lay on the floor in the middle of my lounge room and stare at the ceiling while Frank Sinatra tells me “That’s Life”. I can go all day without a bra, without showering, without eating a single vegetable.

I can eat random, unrelated food off the same plate, like brie with crackers, anchovy stuffed olives, Oreos, smoked trout, cold pizza and cupcakes. And finish the whole bottle of wine. Whilst wearing heels.

Sometimes I just sit and jiggle the fat parts of my body and try and poke them to see if they’ll deflate, or better, disappear. That never happens.

None of these things sound super weird when I write them down, and really, they’re not. Secret single behaviors aren’t necessarily freakish – that’s not the reason they’re secret. Adding another person into the mix changes what it is you inherently love about these solo-delights.

They’re not only things you do by yourself, you do them FOR yourself; comforting little rituals or indulgences, just idiosyncratic enough to raise an eyebrow, but innocuous enough that they can’t really be explained.

Whether you are single or in a relationship, we all need our alone time. Having the freedom to watch whatever you want on TV or clean your house in the nude can be totally liberating.

I've been known to take my dinner, my crossword, my book, my cuppa and my laptop to bed. If you thought having a Lover Bloke in your bed was fun, try my combination. There were six in the bed and the little one said…

SSB lets me talk on the phone till the wee hours of the morning. Depending on how many alcoholic beverages I have enjoyed over this chatting period, I can view myself as a nuclear physicist dispensing political funding opinion or a brain-dead blonde pondering the merit of Paris Hilton winning a spell-a-thon.

It also lets me put on my Greatest Hits of the 80s CD, push my lounge against the wall and dance barefoot with only a hairbrush-come-microphone for company. I can order a Margarita pizza at midnight, I can eat baked beans at 6pm, or I can write until dawn.

I can pumice my heels with the bathroom door open. I can walk around for half an hour with a face mask. I read the weekend papers until Monday. I can have thrush, a hangover, weeds in the garden or an unpaid rates bill and it affects no one but me.

I have risen at 4am to join the treadmill for an hour. I have worked until 11pm without need to apologise. I have smoked a sneaky cigarette in the kitchen while waiting for a white sauce to thicken. I have stayed in my pajamas until 5pm. I have rearranged the living room furniture in the middle of the night.

Now and then I do an audit of my life. Probably a little more now than then. When I look at it in black and white I become somewhat thoughtful. Sure it's an indulgent way to live, but I question the morality, ethics or political correctness that ensues. Are idle hands the devil's tools? And are those hands currently holding a wine glass and a hairbrush?