This is the third in an infinite part series about life after college.
With my recent migration from Chicago to California many aspects of my post-collegiate life have changed significantly. Not only did I trade gang violence for illegal immigration and political corruption for political incompetence, I also went from living with four guys in an enormous house (read: trash can) to living by myself in a tiny apartment (read: walk-in closet). This transition has been difficult. There is no longer an endless supply of toilet paper in the bathroom down the hall. Quandaries like, “should I eat three of my roommate’s four remaining eggs and be regarded as considerate or eat all four and hope they forget they ever had them?” are no longer relevant. Since the cable bill is no longer being split five ways, I now have to think twice before ordering “Confessions of a Shopaholic” twice in the same weekend. The list goes on.
I feel like that old dude in Shawshank who gets released on parole but ends up killing himself because he missed prison so much. I’m not suicidal or anything, I’m just having a difficult time adjusting to a life of functioning appliances and insect-free beds. I’ve been institutionalized and I’m sure I’m not alone. With that in mind, my third post-collegiate survival guide will provide pragmatic rules for navigating the trials, tribulations, and emotional traumas of solitary living. If you are married (i.e. taking the easy way out) you can go ahead and stop reading now.
1) Put some pants on. I know you don’t have to, but do it because you want to. You will go days on end without meaningful human contact. Pants are all you have left. Thanks to advances in modern science, pants are one of the few remaining things that separate us from monkeys and lower-form humans. With movies like Dunsten Checks In and Mighty Joe Young becoming increasingly prevalent, this won’t last long. Enjoy your remaining connection to the human race while it lasts. Put on some pants.
2) Standing shirtless in front of the kitchen sink eating a raw hotdog does not count as “dinner.” Sure it’s delicious, but can’t you at least microwave it first? Why not chop it up into some ramen or mash it up with some Corn Flakes or something? Sit down. Put a shirt on (I feel weird having to tell you to put clothes on for a second time). Use some sort of utensil. The fact that you have the social life of a toddler doesn’t mean you have to eat like one. Get a hold of yourself, man.
3) Talking to yourself and/or yelling at made-for-TV movies is normal and acceptable behavior. Talking to your appliances and lunch sandwiches is not. I agree the toaster did a commendable job of toasting that bread. You don’t have to thank it. That’s what it’s there for. Similarly, that PB&J knows it will be delicious when you have it for lunch tomorrow. You don’t need to tell it how excited you are about eating it. It, unlike you, is not struggling with an unfulfilled love language.
4) It’s okay to go through the drive-thru twice because you were enjoying the first “conversation” you’d had all day. It is, however, considered good form to order something different on the second lap. This way, the girl at the window can make herself believe it was an honest mistake –for the third day in a row.
5) Facebook can be a healthy diversion and welcome reminder that you used to have friends. There are, however, some unacceptable activities. These include: going back to September 2006 and reading everything posted to your wall in the past three years, creating a fake profile and using it to post comments on your wall about the “bitchin time the gang had last weekend,” and “liking” anything. (Note: this is more of a general exhortation for all to follow.) Some additional rules: You should not use Facebook if you’ve been drinking (or crying). You should not get on Facebook if you are within 100 miles of your high school yearbooks. Facebook should never be visited within 24-hours of watching “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Remember, some people can handle their Facebook; you cannot. Restraint is the only way you’re going to survive.