15/02/2016 by paulinebsc
Challenged to write a hundred words (exactly) on Valentine’s day, I wrote the following:
Valentines day makes me laugh at dizzy young lovers. I used to be like that. Now I don’t have to worry about buying a card which is just right for him. I don’t have to worry about what present to give him. He was always the romantic type, I go for funny and jokey. My friends and family were so sympathetic when he left but I was keen to fly.
Twenty years of my life I pleased my family, thirty I pleased him. Now I can do what I like whenever I want. I’m leaving the youngsters to it today.
Then I felt a ‘rant’ coming on, so I’m posting it here.
The only problem I have with living on my own is eating. I divorced in my late 50s and until then had rarely had to worry about cooking or eating out alone. To some extent the big ‘edge of town’ supermarkets are beginning to realise that some people only want one tomato, onion, leek or whatever, but for those of us who don’t drive this isn’t an option (unless you are willing to pay a sizeable amount of bus fare). I live next door to a convenience store which stocks many things, but they are nearly always pre-packaged. Two pork chops, six tomatoes, three peppers, large bags of potatoes. In an area like ours where there are many pensioners and students this seems daft. If I have a pork chop today I don’t want another tomorrow (and there is only room for a tiny freezer in my flat). I don’t want to live on ‘ready-meals’ nice though some of them are, I like to cook now that I have the ability to be experimental. If it goes wrong nobody needs to know, and I’ll have a sandwich instead! Cheese and Marmite jacket potatoes works (if you like Marmite, which my husband didn’t), Branston pickle on pork chops doesn’t.
Eating out has problems too. I am refusing on principle to use any restaurant offering ‘Buy one get one free’ because I feel I am subsidising everyone else in the restaurant but it is difficult to find a reasonably priced pub around here that doesn’t do that. Sure sometimes I go out with my family, but that involves small children. During the week, or if on holiday, I am on my own.
I tried to find up-to-date statistics on how many people are living on their own (divorced, never-married, widowed or widowered, split up of cohabiting partners) but couldn’t find anything – plenty on divorced people, not much on the others.
Within my family (admittedly a very tiny sample, but we are nothing unusual):
- My brother has never married.
- My mother is widowed.
- All three sets of my grandchildren’s grandparents are separated or divorced (some amicably, some not. Only one has re-married.
- I am divorced.
- Two of the four people I used to work with (with a variety of ages and ethnicities) are living alone.
- My son is separated from his wife, only legal fees have stopped them divorcing. He doesn’t count on my list though because he has just set up home with another very nice young lady.
That is quite a lot of people who often eat alone. Could some of the cheaper restaurants and pubs please take this on board. Convenience stores too.
Ignore me and enjoy Valentine’s day if you have somebody to spend it with!