It's no slur on my spouse or child to say that sometimes I miss that alone time. I've lived with RW for seven years, and had the same job for almost that long. Since the Mermaid Girl was born, I don't go to many places that aren't work or home or some kind of childcare situation: everywhere I go, most people know me, or feel like they do. Everything I do, or don't do, affects someone else. If I don't want to talk, they might think I'm being unfriendly. If I'm crabby, they remember it, sometimes for years.
I miss being a stranger among strangers, an anonymous soul in the city. I miss being able to just be, with no one trying to talk to me or get my attention for anything. The kind of zoned-out state you can be in when you're riding a bus, or wandering in a bookstore, or sitting in a cafe, or just walking around on city streets. Alone, with other people. It soothes me.
And I miss being alone in my home: getting up and not talking to anyone until I feel like it; just puttering around, maybe cooking or doing dishes or folding laundry, with only my thoughts and the radio for company. I miss reading at the table.
RW and Mermaid Girl are away for the weekend, camping with MG's best friend and her mom. So for a few days, I'll be living something very close to my old life, without the anxiety and loneliness that went with it. Since I got off work this afternoon, I've wandered around the public library, enjoying being a patron and not the Library Lady. I went to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner (RW doesn't like Ethiopian food), and read while I was waiting for my meal. I spent over an hour at the video store, looking at one DVD after another and thinking about which one to watch all by myself. I picked Donnie Darko; I've been hearing about it for years.
I'm going to go watch it now. Then tomorrow I'm going to vacuum and do some other chores, but also read whenever the urge hits me, and take a nap if I'm tired. I kind of hope it rains, so I don't feel any Pacific Northwest Sunshine Guilt for spending a sunny day in the house. (Though I hope it's sunny where RW is, so she can have a glorious weekend.)
If this went on too long I know I'd start to feel sort of rattly and weird. And I did get a little pang when I saw the blond child, about MG's age, in the public library on the way home from work; suddenly I missed her desperately and wished I could see her right away.
But really, I need a hit of this every once in a while. It's my old home, my home alone in my own head. And while I wouldn't want to live here full-time any more, it's a nice place to visit.