Honorary “Singleton” Goes Global!

I’m international! I’ve crossed the pond!

For, fellow bloggers, Lia and Jules who hail from Ireland and England, respectively, have asked me to be a guest blogger on their site, Ramblings of a Singleton. Which is bloody cool, if you ask me.  And their blog’s name is very “Bridget Jones Diary,” wouldn’t you agree?

Bridget Jones, the original singleton, did a lot of rambling in her diary.

I just adore Helen Fielding’s book about Bridget Jones and her madcap adventures in love. So I’m excited to write for Ramblings because that makes me an honorary singleton!

This past Monday, the Irish Blog Awards were announced and Ramblings made the short list for Best Group Blog.  Quite a feat! Which makes posting on this site quite an honor.

Each week, Ramblings has a new theme, and this week the theme is, “Are you afraid to be alone?”  You can read my post below:

Am I Afraid of Being Alone?

Are you crazy?  Am I not from New York, the city of eight million people, where the Statue of Liberty welcomes swarms of  “huddled masses”? And where restaurants place tables so close together you’re rubbing elbows with complete strangers? How can I ever be alone—let alone be afraid of it?

Actually, these days, I find myself alone quite a bit and fear not, I am fearless when it comes to being alone. I need to be alone to decompress from the week. I need to be alone in order to write. After all, you can’t have any distractions when putting pen to paper or, in my case, fingers to keyboard.

Long ago, I embraced my inner being-alone side.  For someone who grew up with four brothers, two parents, one sister and a cousin living in our three-bedroom  brownstone, I had plenty of opportunities to be on my own. Alone in my room. Alone in the basement. Alone in the backyard. Alone and wide awake in the wee hours of the night, indulging in my favorite pastime: watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers marathons. Yes, being alone is all it’s cracked up to be.  Take it from me: It’s the bomb!

For me, being alone started with my parents, who banished me to a lifetime of alone-ness when they named me Monica, which in Greek means “solitary.” Thanks to them, my name relegated me to a lifetime of solitary purgatory and I’m convinced it’s why I couldn’t stay married. For better, for worse, I’ve lived up to my name more times than I can recall.

Any fear I had of being alone I lost when I was eight, and my parents sent me to live abroad. I stayed with relatives who spoke Spanish, a language that, at the time, I understood but could not speak. So I found myself alone in my own little world.  Then at 15, I was alone again, while my family lived elsewhere. But at least this time I was in familiar territory, my neighborhood in New York.  I spent a year living on my own, as a boarder in a widow’s home. (I wrote about that experience, which you can find here.)  With no one to talk to at first, I was most definitely in a singleton state of mind.

Today, I continue to enjoy my “alone” moments.  I’ve seen many a movie alone, and taken walks alone. I’ve even gone out for breakfast and lunch alone (although not on the same day).

Yet, here’s where I draw the line: dinner out alone. You won’t find me making a dinner reservation for one.  That’s a commitment. That’s a statement.  It’s also my Achilles heal, but don’t hold it against me. I don’t know why, but somehow dinner alone is tantamount to saying, “I’m lonely!” “I can’t get a date!” And while the latter may be true for some of us (ahem), I am by far, not lonely. Not one bit.

I accept being alone. My home is my sanctuary, and if it weren’t for my dog insisting on being walked, or the necessity of having to commute to work, I could bask in being alone for days on end. Given a little encouragement I could easily see myself becoming Little Edie in “Grey Gardens,” or Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations,” or simply a female version of Mr. Recluse himself, Howard Hughes. Ok, maybe that’s going a little too far, but you get the point. If I ever do show the traits of a recluse, you have my permission to shoot me or push me off a bridge.  In the meantime, I plan to continue appreciating my alone time, which I get to spend with me, myself and I.

So, am I afraid of being alone? No. Though, I’m not a recluse—yet. But if you do see me becoming one, call in the reserve!  And if you’re looking for Miss Lonelyhearts, then look no further than Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.”  Now, if I could only muster up the nerve for dinner alone, then I could live happily ever after. Alone.

Dead Birds Tell No Tales

When it comes to the case of the birds falling from the sky on New Year’s Eve, I don’t care what they say. The mystery is not solved. I’ve been around the block at least 1.2 million times, so I should know.  Those birds that flew over Arkansas on December 31st, and plunged to their deaths, were not done in by fireworks. If you ask me, there was something bigger at work here.

Here’s why:  It strikes me as suspicious that these birds would fall to their deaths on account of fireworks.  Our nation is religious about its fireworks. We hold firework displays every Fourth of July, every New Year’s Eve and amusement parks like Disneyland and Sea World hold them just about every day.  So why now would these birds start succumbing to noisy fireworks?  If that was the case, then we’d see thousands of birds falling from the sky year round!  We’d become so used to it, that we wouldn’t even notice if a bird landed on our head.

If you ask me, what really did them in wasn’t anything of biblical proportions. Nor was it aliens. And certainly, it wasn’t life imitating art, as in the Arkansas birds taking a page from Alfred Hitchcock’s frightening film, The Birds, where crows nearly peck to death Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor. I doubt any of these birds even saw the film or read the script.  Nope.

In all likelihood, what got to them was flying over Arkansas. Face it, there’s nothing in Arkansas but mountains, valleys, thick forests and plains. Oh and something called the Ozarks. Plus, Arkansas has more caves than you can shake a stick at.  Which means lots of nighttime darkness, and no markers to let the birds know whether or not they’re heading in the right direction. No lights guiding their way through treacherous mountains and caves. And plenty of opportunities for getting into trouble. Get my drift?

So, I wonder whose bright idea it was to take the route through Arkansas.  I suppose it was the leader of the flock, assuming all flocks fly in a “V” formation, so that the very first bird is the leader and gets to map the route. I’m figuring it must have gone down something like this:

Bird #1: Hey, man, I know a shortcut.

Bird #2: Really? Because the last time you said that, we lost half our team when they got sucked into an airplane engine.

Bird #1: Trust me. This time I know what I’m doing. I gotta feeling tonight’s gonna be a good night.  It’s New Year’s Eve, so what can go wrong? All we have to do is fly across Arkansas, and we’ll cut 30 miles out of our 2,000 mile trek.

Bird #2: Arkansas? What’s that?

Bird #1: It’s only the best place to fly across because there’s nothing there! No city lights to blind us, no major airports with planes taking off. This time, it’ll be clear sailing all the way! I guarantee it.

And so they flew and the rest is history. Of course this doesn’t explain how all the birds died in Louisiana, Kentucky, Italy and Sweden.  Nor, why 40,000 crabs bit the dust in England and two million dead fish were found in Maryland. Perhaps we finally crossed over into The Twilight Zone, but don’t ask me. I can only solve one mystery at a time.

Next Up:  This is Chavez Country continues with Part Three, Family Reunion