I’m going to Shakespeare in the Park here in town tonight. It’s not a big deal, not really. I don’t go out much, there’s usually very little I want to do or places I want to go. But I am going by myself, I bought one ticket, one sad, lonely solitary ticket, just for me. I will get dressed, something comfortable and lightweight but not fussy. I have no one to impress and I will leave when I want to and park where I want to, the small perks of being alone.
I thought of all the times I’ve gone ahead and done something by myself because I wanted to go. Even if I had no one to ask, to prevent me from looking like some sad social friendless outcast, I went on my own. Three of the entries were before Jerry died; in a way I’ve been preparing for this eventuality for awhile, whether I realized it or not. Here’s my list, from the last couple of years.
- Hockey games at the Cox Center, no idea how many, some of 2013-2014 season home games. Went alone because Jerry wasn’t a hockey fan, walking and getting around would have been difficult and he would get tired. I was the only solitary person there, in the middle of families, couples and the groups of people there for $1 beer night. Felt awkward even though nobody noticed and then forgot about it after the game started.Grateful I never had to worry about the dreaded Kiss Cam.
- Dallas Stars-Detroit Red Wings game in Dallas 2013. Went to the game alone but my sister Layah came along for the ride. Wings won 5-1.
- Depeche Mode concert, Sept 20, 2013, Dallas. A near religious experience. Got to breathe the same stuffy air as Dave.
- Seattle, March 2015. My first plane ride since before 9/11. I needed to leave for awhile, did not expect to love Seattle but that could be grief, change of scenery and many wonderful things, I felt I could breathe there and told myself I’d be back. Slightly depressed when I returned, because I could see in vivid detail how much OK sucks. And blows.
- Seattle, August 2015. I went to find a place and foolishly believed I could move cross-country just because I had a little money and wanted to, without a current job. No.
- Saigon, Vietnam. December 2015. Missed Bear and spent Christmas with him as I promised. Met Oahn and her mother, my first real international city. Worth every penny, every fear and aggravation, even the airplane bathrooms.
- Eating out by myself, various restaurants, various times. There’s something pitiful about a woman eating by herself that doesn’t happen when a man eats alone. A man is alone because he wants to be, a woman because she has to be alone. Stupid, senseless and wrong, this double standard still runs through my mind when I eat out by myself. I’m beginning to believe that nobody is looking at me and that they don’t care, but it’s taking time.
- Going to the movies alone.Not as bad as eating out as everyone is sitting in the dark and on their phones. I did have to move over to accommodate a loud couple once and have my feet stepped on by the wife, in high heels. She did apologize though.
- Arts festivals, 2014-2016. I went to Paseo Arts Festival last year and this year by myself and the Festival of the Arts by myself all three years. Jerry was still alive in 2014 and I went for a short while and brought him spinach pakora. I walked around, looked at the various artist booths then headed for the food court. Painfully aware of how odd it was to be alone, even the cops were out there in pairs.
- Mass, nearly every Sunday at 8am. The early mass is less crowded, it’s the one we always went to and I meet my weekly obligation by 9am. Full of families, but I have my own pew, which I consider the Widow’s Pew since I am usually joined by 2 single Vietnamese women on either side, they are older like me and alone. We’ve never spoken but I shake their hands during the Sign of Peace.
- Shakespeare in the Park, tonight after I walk Olive and change clothes