I moved to New York about a month ago, and it's been pretty much exactly how I thought it was going to be: Constant sweat, vomiting on the subway, girly-shoe-induced band-aid attacks, and the occasional 3-second panic attack where I realize I chose to live in a city where I will constantly be groped by strangers and paying $12 for a 6-pack of beer.
All that, I am okay with.
What I wasn't really prepared for was how much time I was going to be spending online, because for the first time in my 27+ years of life, I am living on my own, and there are very few distractions in my apartment. There's pretty much me, my laptop, and my piano. And you can only play piano for so long.
When you live alone, there is no immediate standard to hold yourself up to. All my life I've been kept in check--both hygienically and emotionally speaking--by the people I lived with. Alone, I always assumed I revert to my natural vegetative state of horizontal existence, with an occasional trip to the refrigerator to add food scraps to the compost pile started under my bed. Ever since I was a kid, I've been bullied into some semblance of order by my parents and roommates.
Now, I don't know what all the other kids are doing, or if it's normal for the bathtub to not drain; there's nobody to ask. And there's nobody to ask me if there's a reason that my new paper bag collection can't be filed in the recycling bin; does it really have to go on top of my crumpled paper display, next to the showcase of the previous tenant's mail?
There's nobody to compare myself to. In San Francisco, my four-five roommates always provided me with a basis for comparison. Oh, I'm up before Lindsay. See, Dan didn't even come home last night. Man, Alita has been working for nine days straight. All this helped to keep my life in perspective. So maybe I partied (okay, drank) more than all of my roommates combined, but I still got myself off to work every day, and nobody complained that my shit was taking over the living room.
Here, I wonder. Am I a completely worthless slob? In San Francisco, being a worthless slob was being "down to earth." Here, where being a 23-year-old investment banker is about as common--and illustrious--as being a sex offender, I no longer feel down to earth, I feel like a loser that has run back to grad school about three years too late.
Did you know that in 2000, with Manhattan's population at about 1.56 million, about 22 percent of the population lived alone, and about 6 percent of the total population were women, aged 25-29. I'm not sure where the overlap is, but I'm guessing that the percent of 25-29-year-old women living alone is not very high. My next mission is to figure that out, and then to figure out how many of them are citizens, Asians, speak only one language, and college-educated. Then I'll finally be able to say that I am unique; there are only 7,000 people in my circumstances in this city. That will fill me with unspeakable pride.
In any case, women my age should not live alone. The world does not need more bloggers.