Okay, now I’ll tell you about another of my intimate eccentricities: I live alone, as a singleton so to speak. (We are apparently an increasing minority in this otherwise coupled society.) My solitary lifestyle started more than 20 years ago, and I was more than happy to take charge of my own happiness. Also it was an enormous relief no longer being responsible for that of anyone else. Maybe my comfort in bachelorhood comes out of my boyhood solitude in the woods.
I took charge quite seriously, pursuing my happiness through dancing, writing, art, and plants. Ever since my childhood I’ve been a plant person. It almost got out of hand in my plant-freak phase in DC, but I controlled it in my plant-collector phase.
Then, in my third career I literally blossomed for 15 years as the Iris Man of Santa Fe. My DC fantasy of having a plant store came true. And just like the kid who’d happily peddled peaches beside the Arkansas highway, I totally loved selling Used Plants in my booth at the Santa Fe Farmers Market.
I’ve already written about my happy bachelor dancing in these single years. And writing and art have produced happy results that I feel quite good about. Actually, when you don’t seek your happiness in sex, it doesn’t seem all that hard to catch, and I continue snatching it up with writing memoires and drawing Aztec stuff. What’s more there are new opportunities for ecstatic dance at the Blue Rooster, and I just heard about a New Year’s Eve party happening at Molly’s Kitchen. Single life is good.
With one notable exception 17 years ago, living alone has meant sleeping alone, and that too has been fine. It’s as though my earlier years of love affairs and relationships simply were enough. But don’t get me wrong—I’m no St. Augustine, all holy and repenting the wildness of my lascivious youth. I still appreciate an eyeful of visual vitamins in the locker room, and a sloe-eyed youth can still tickle my fancy. They’re like icing on my cake.
In these single years, I’ve also enjoyed meeting some angelic beings who show me that perfect beauty exists, archangels who prove the existence of the divine. The Archangel Joel with curly blond hair, a renaissance seraph, worked in a bakery and had a delicious little mole on his throat. The Archangel Eric, heroically built and bright-eyed, tended bar and even acted like he liked me. And the Archangel Luke, who gave me blinding visions of naked glory at the Spa, ruled my fantasies for two years. I’ve forgotten the others’ names.
Some might say celibacy is just another word for lack of opportunity. I’d most likely have a pretty hard time turning down an attractive offer of nookie, but apart from the notable exception alluded to above, that hasn’t happened as of yet. Nor do I expect it to. My elderly mantra has long been “No Expectations.” I’m not sure I’d even want such an offer. No matter how you come by it, nookie complicates life, and in these ultra-mature years I’m craving simplicity.
A couple times my grandson Jammes has asked me if I ever get lonely living alone, and I say no. I really don’t. There’s always something to occupy my mind—even if it’s a nap. And the stuff I do is hard to do with someone else. I love human contact otherwise, like with chums at the Spa and my few friends and family, but I’ve got to have my solitude.
In a big stretch for this recluse, Jammes sometimes stays over with me on Friday nights. I put other interests aside, and we play games, read, or watch videos. I camp out on the sofa and let him sleep late in my bed, which 12 year-old boys are good at. Like his grandfather, Jammes likes to read comics over his breakfast.