Alone

August writing prompt #17:  Have you ever dined out, gone to a movie or traveled alone.

Why yes, I have done all of these things.  When I was still married and my kids were little, my then husband and I agreed that we would each have a night off every week, where we could do whatever we wanted outside of the house while the other stayed home with the kids.  I don’t remember that lasting very long, but I do remember using that night off to go to the movies.  I was really apprehensive at first, but I’m not sure why.  In many ways, going to a movie is kind of an ideal thing to do alone.  You’re sitting in the dark not talking anyway.  I don’t often go to movies anymore (cause I’m kind of cheap that way — I can get more than 2 bottles of nice wine for the price of a movie ticket, popcorn and a drink), but when I do, I often go alone.  My boyfriend doesn’t like going out to movies and my kids are at that age when they don’t want to be seen with me in public in case someone they know from school sees them out with their mother (the horror) and their social status be completely obliterated.

When I go to a movie alone, I get to pick the movie and don’t have to put up with someone else’s stupid movie choice.  As a life long, card carrying people pleaser, this is a big deal to me.  Also, I get to eat as much popcorn as I want (sometimes I go to the movie just to have popcorn really) with as much butter as I want without anyone else putting their grubby hands in it and then complaining that there’s too much butter.  Get your own damn popcorn then!  The only real drawback of seeing a movie alone is that you have no one to discuss the movie with afterwards.  But I’ll subject my boyfriend to a discussion of the movie if I really feel the need to talk about it.

Traveling alone is a bit of a different beast.  Mainly I traveled alone because I had to travel for work.  But I always try to do something when I find myself alone in a strange place.  One time when I went to Belgium for work, I decided to take the weekend and go to London.  I toured around London alone with a map for an entire day.  It was awesome.  Another time, I was in Brussels for an evening, with an early flight out the next morning.  I sat in my hotel room debating whether to go into town and finally convinced myself that I’d regret it if I didn’t.  Took the train into town and ended up in the middle of an incredible winter festival.  I also toured around Copenhagen and Shanghai by myself.  And downtown Austin to see the bats come out from under the bridge.  Hiked in the incredible heat in Phoenix with not enough water (pictured below).  All things that were hard because I was scared.  And I’m so glad I did them.

Phoenix sunset

Eating out alone — always when I travel for work.  Interestingly enough, this is one of the hardest ones for me.  I used always order room service if I could, or get take out and bring it back to my room.  Now when I travel, I force myself to eat at a restaurant.  I might take a book, or amuse myself with my phone, but I put the book or phone away when I’m eating, and take the time to look around.  It’s awesome for people watching.

Maybe I’m braver than I thought.

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