Single Serving…..

Read a great post this morning and it got me thinking.  What else is new?  Ok, actually, the idea began percolating in my mind last night, but after nine hours of fast food and coming home smelling like a deep fryer at half past midnight, I decided sleep trumped blogging.  I woke up this morning having forgotten all about my idea and was surprisingly greeted by a friend on Skype.  (It was 3:00 in the afternoon in Italy where she was messaging me from, so I excused her enthusiasm) I was a little taken aback, as my mind was barely functioning in English and I was trying to form coherent phrases in Italian.  In any case, my day didn’t get off as I had thought it would.  When does it ever?  Today is my day to study French in fact, so chatting in Italian was fun and unexpected, but now she had gone off and I was left questioning what I should have for breakfast while browsing the Freshly Pressed section here.  My idea from last night had more or less slipped my mind until I read the aforementioned blog post.  I enjoyed it quite a bit despite realizing my thoughts were just a tad bit different.  So here I go.

Ahh, the single life.  Those of you helpless couples out there can only envy those of us that cherish our freedom, our liberty, our right to come and go as we please, to eat what we want, when we want, to wear the same socks around the house for three straight days or to let the dishes pile up until washing them becomes a necessity, not a chore.  I am single.  I spent my crucial four years of high school single and my time in college was also spent without a mate (although college is great for offering you one-night opportunities.)  In my 30 years, I have only been able to say I was NOT single twice.  The first time came in 2002 and lasted one year and four months (four months too many it turns out).  The second time began in the Summer of 2008 and lasted somewhere between three and six months, depending on who you ask.  Now, having been single for a greater duration than I was ever NOT single has allowed me to make some observations and see the ups and downs of having a partner.  Let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Yes, couples get to have sex, while single people have to, well, hope.  Aside from sex, there are many factors that play into the pros and cons of relationships.

I should probably preface this with a disclaimer.  My job often tends to attract lesser forms of human beings (customers) and my view on the world is often influenced by the interactions I see between these people.  In other words, my views on relationships may very well be skewed by the fact I see a lot of messed up stuff at McDonalds.  If I were to go through a typical day in the life of a McDonalds (yes, a McDonalds, not a specific person, just the restaurant itself) you would see an array of varied relationships represented.  Early in the morning, the senior crowd comes in.  These are old married couples who get up at dawn, bundle up in scarves and hats, and make their way to McDonalds so they can get a cheap cup of coffee and a biscuit and sit with other seniors until about noon.  These couples have been together for centuries.  They are married, so they do everything together.  I see how they interact and can’t possibly imagine my life coming to a point where I have to follow the same exact routine with the same person every day from the time I am old enough to retire until I die.  It’s not that they are either happy or unhappy.  They are simply set in their ways.  They got married and settled into a routine.  At some point I imagine they were happy, and even in love, but now all I see are two people (times the ten couples who come in every day) who are obligated to sit at the same table and read the paper together.

Later in the morning, you’ll see the newlyweds.  These young couples come in, often with a child in tow, and order their breakfast ten minutes before lunch is supposed to start.  They force smiles while hefting their child up in one arm and attempt to balance a tray of food on the other.  One parent carries the food, another carries the bags of utilities they must carry around to care for their young.  They’ve probably been together as long as the oldest child, plus about nine or ten months.  Most likely, they are college educated and met at a kegger a few years back.  Each finished his or her degree and said, “What the hell, we better get married before our friends beat us to it.”  As a couple, they probably held hands at the movies, enjoyed dinners at Applebee’s, and maybe even had a nice honeymoon.  Now, they are two people that share the responsibility of raising a kid or two.  Maybe they will remain happy, or maybe the stresses of having kids will push them apart, but they will probably stay together because they are doing what society has told them they should be doing.

Early afternoon brings the teenagers in.  They are the cute ones who hold hands, order a large fry to share and go sit in the booth farthest away from the counter so they can make out between sips of Diet Coke.  The boy will do whatever the girl wants, even if that means ridicule from his friends who are waiting outside on their bicycles.  They’ll sit together for an hour or two before realizing they have to get home or their parents will come look for them.  They are mostly innocent and just learning what it means to be in a relationship.  Somewhere in the back of the boys mind he starts to feel his freedom slip away, but he thinks it’s ok, because that’s what’s supposed to happen.

It’s the evening when you see the truest of the true.  The married couples who have been together long enough to start to anger one another.  They argue over drinks, sizes, amounts, price, whatever they can find to dispute.  Often, the guy is an asshole and the woman is a bitch.  They may or may not have kids and they may or may not feel like buying them food as well.  Clearly, they resent being together and probably cheat on one another whenever possible.  Sadly, it’s these folks, the ones between 30-40 that scare me the most.  Why?  Because in my romanticised view on love, I am terrified this will be the reality that presents itself when the mystique wears off.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations, because now I want to say that all of that, while clearly bashing the idea of relationships, is meant to give hope to my view of love and relationships.  I hope someone out there reading this is saying, “No, wait, that’s not right.  That’s not what a relationship is about.  It’s more than that.”  I hope someone out there feels the way I do, that you can find happiness with another person and it can last beyond coffee and biscuits for breakfast every morning.  While everything I pointed out above does exist, it is the exact opposite of what I dream about.  I still hold out hope for the one special woman who will come along and show me that it doesn’t matter where I went to college, what I do for a living, or what kind of car I drive.  I truly believe there is someone out there who comes from a family of hard workers like myself, who values the things she owns because she worked hard for them, not because some jock boyfriend bought them for her.  I know there is an independant woman who wants to find a partner not because she needs a boyfriend to show off to her other girlfriends, but because she wants to find someone who enjoys watching re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond on a random Wednesday night.  I want to find the woman who I can indeed take out for fast food not because I am cheap, but because she has a craving for a Big Mac.  I want to find the woman who will never ask me to go to the mall, but might ask me to go to an aquarium or a book store.  I see myself with someone who laughs at bad jokes (not mine) who works at a job she enjoys, and who comes home and smiles just because after a long day we can both be content with the knowledge that we are there to help one another out.  I keep looking, or at least I keep hoping.  As I’ve said, I’m at 30 years and counting…….


~ by James on December 8, 2011.

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