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Living alone is coming out of the closet as more and more Americans find themselves....alone.

You can tell the person who lives alone in the supermarket checkout line. They're the ones with a six pack of beer, a roll of toilet paper, and 27 tv dinners.

People live alone for a lot of reasons, mostly depressing. Divorce or a broken romance are the primary reasons. Serious inability to share space is another. Some people are cohabitationally challenged.

When one first finds themselves living alone, especially after being married for years, there are moments of outright terror. What if I die in my sleep? How long before anyone finds my body? Realistically, if you are renting, a month is the maximum, because the landlord will want his rent.

After a while, many people who live alone find that they actually like their singular status. There's no one to tell you to pick up your laundry, put down the toilet seat, throw away the newspapers, or take out the garbage.

The problem is, the laundry piles up, as do the newspapers and the garbage. Many people living alone find themselves increasingly buried in trash. And regarding clothes, there comes a point where there's nowhere to put the new clothes one buys to avoid doing laundry, and finally, one has got to figure out Laundromats.

The best advice for living alone is get a maid. After a while, you will wonder why you never had a maid in the first place. Maids generally put things away where you can't find them, which makes hunting for your stuff a weekly occupation. Keeps your mind off dreary things.

Some people living alone find they really like the peace and quiet, and begin to decorate their residences totally to their liking. There's no one to complain about your collection of Barbie Dolls or antenna balls.

Scientific studies have shown that, contrary to popular belief, people who live alone rarely have company. While the opportunity exists to party your fool head off, the reality is all that garbage piled up in your home means you'd have to keep the place clean to have visitors. Given a choice of cleaning or not having company, most loners prefer not cleaning.

Another good choice while living alone is to get a pet. Having to feed something on a regular basis keeps one from sleeping day and night.

The Internet is a wonderful time waster for loners. You can communicate for hours with total strangers, manufacturing any identity you like, while sitting alone in your underwear drinking beer. And don't underestimate the smutty newsgroups as a substitute for a sex life.

Many loners use their singularity as an opportunity to work. Work keeps one's mind off singularity.

One of the greatest advantages of living alone is having a bathroom totally to yourself. You don't know what a joy it is to be able to take an hour long shower, or read the New York Times while sitting on the toilet, with absolutely no one beating on the door asking you to hurry up.

Another advantage of living alone is cable tv. Get as many movie channels as you can afford, and spend all your free time watching every movie ever made. And there's no one to fight you for control of the remote.

The real bummer of living alone is when you are sick. It is really nice to have someone around to minister to your ills...bring you coffee...take your temperature ...hold your hand. If only they wouldn't complain about what a nasty grouch you are when you are sick. What is really needed are hotels for the singular sick. Good looking male or female nurses to attend to you. Lots of cable movie channels.

For many people, living alone for a while cures them of their inability to cohabit with someone. No matter how disagreeable your roommate is, company may be preferred to complete alienation from society. There must be some correlation between how long one has lived unsuccessfully alone, and how successful they are in a subsequent relationship.

And remember, there's always 911 in an emergency, and the local suicide hot line if you are thinking of jumping out your window.



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Copyright 1998-2006 by Hugh Holub