I’m going to offer you an unpopular opinion.
When you’ve been in a tumultuous relationship and you tell your friends–or in my case, the whole world–about it, you get a lot of, “It’s better to be alone than in something like that.”
I have found that this is often said by married people, and they say it smugly, with heavy-lidded eyes. Oh, listen to me. I have the wisdom of the world because I’ve been in one relationship for 40 years.
As someone on the other side, who just went through a terrifically inconvenient life event, I’m going to say that’s utter bullshit. It’s not better to be alone. Get back to me after four years of Christmases by yourself and auto accident aftermath done solo.
On Thursday, the day after I was rear-ended by an SUV in my tiny Fiat,
I had a lot to do. I hadn’t slept because apparently not sleeping is a whiplash thing, and who knew. I was hardly able to move. A quick check of my phone history today tells me I had 128 personal emails, nine text threads, endless Facebook and Instagram messages and 36
phone calls. AND I was allegedly working from home that day. We have at work not only email but this chat feature called Teams and there was endless pinging on that.
(And by the way, when someone you know is going through a thing, don’t pepper them with questions. You just want to know because you’re curious, and trust me, people have enough to do without assuaging your curiosity. A former coworker put on Facebook this weekend that she was in the hospital with her dying daughter, and people actually asked, “What happened?” and “Which daughter?”
I wanted to know too, of course, but goodness. She’ll tell us when she’s ready. Just be sick about it for her and send her a nice comment, maybe. Yeesch.)
Anyway. Thursday would have been a lot for anyone, but what I was noticing was I wasn’t clear-headed. Sentences would begin and I’d start to follow them but then I’d get fuzzy. The only times my doctor could see me was right then–and please see above: no car, no head, and no one to take me there without even more phone calls–and Monday. So I go today.
After an hour of trying to work, I could see that I couldn’t really work. I just couldn’t think right, and everyone kept contacting me by every channel possible.
“This happened to my sister and she ended up a vegetable.”
I finally lost it after the second phone call to the body shop I had to choose. They are sweet people; it’s a family-run business. I called to say, Okay, I finally figured out who towed me away (because no one had given me a card at the scene and I was dazed). They’re on their way.
“Well, who did you talk to over there? Because we need to know if they should tow your car or if the other person’s insurance company should do it.”
Delays like that annoy me on a good day. I already did all the shit you asked, which was find out who the towing company is and telling them where you are. Now there’s MORE bureaucracy?
Anyway that’s when I cried. Because I COULDN’T THINK and I was OVERWHELMED and I think anyone would have been right then but I was particularly addled. The woman at the car shop was very kind after that.
But I didn’t need a kind body shop woman. I needed a person of my own. I needed someone who would have taken off work for a bit, made a list for me of what needed to be done that I could cross off, and maybe even made some of those goddamn phone calls for me, because I was in pain and I was addled and I could not do it all myself without a lot of struggle.
I needed someone who knew my schedule enough to know I clean on Saturdays: I scrub the litter boxes and air them out. I sweep all the floors and vacuum the crap out of the litter area only to have it all grainy the next day. I wash surfaces. I get everything pretty for the week.
I needed someone to notice all the pears falling off my tree and realizing I can’t get down there to pick them up.
But now here it is Monday and everything looks like crap here and litter is all over. Hornets have invaded my yard, having a pear field day.
Everything car related got done, but only while fielding 87 confusing phone calls and pieces of paperwork while I tried to lie on ice.
So, no. I don’t think it’s better to “be alone.”
Try really being alone before you say that to anyone.