Friday, August 14, 2009

Two by Freaking Two

The world is made for pairs. Everywhere you go, there are two of people: a co-signator, a partner, another. An other. There are no cars made for one person, no restaurant tables, not very many activities. There is a huge group of people who think that going to the movies by yourself is the height of social failure.

The things I do are meant for individuals. Knitting, for instance, requires only one person (albeit a person with two hands, which may bring me back to the “world is made for pairs” thesis, but nevertheless). Riding, as I was thinking yesterday, is for one person. You would look really silly with another person sitting on the saddle behind you, clinging on for dear life, while you do all the things you need to do on a horse (post a trot, shorten your rein, stretch out through your heel, lift your shoulders). Likewise walking, although certainly an activity that can be enhanced by the proper companion, is something that I would just as soon do alone, at my own pace, with perhaps a dog to keep me company.

I would rather do things for singles.

Ballroom dancing is something that can only be done by pairs. If there’s one of you, and there’s been one of me for every day of my thirties, then you are the wallflower, you are the extra, you are the pity dance, you are the one who came without an “and guest” because you couldn’t find one. (Or because the hosts realized that you would be alone anyway and so didn't even offer you the choice.) You make polite conversation instead of inside jokes. You concentrate on your feet because you know that everyone is watching that person, that freak who walks with only a shadow, who isn’t connected to anyone. You have to be really sure not to screw up, because there is no one who will ever, ever catch you. Everything you do depends on only yourself. You are awkward in every single (hah, there’s that word again) thing you do because the world is set up for two of you, and you are only one.

Only one.

1 comment:

Mrs. Spit said...

I'm sorry, this is really hard. I can only imagine.

And I don't have good answers, or even much good to say, other than I can hear the hurt and longing in your voice, and I know I can't do anything other than listen to it.