This past summer, I traveled for about six weeks on my own. I saw a few people I knew, and I met a few new people, but I spent the vast majority of my time unaccompanied (by which I mean alone, not without music; music plays wherever I go). This has inspired me to make a list of things everyone ought to do alone regularly. Here it is.
1) Go to the movies. Movies are the dumbest social activity of all time. You talk in the lobby for five minutes. Then you sit parallel to another human being in the dark for two hours. You pretend that you’re going to talk about the movie afterwards, but you never do, because it’s late now, and you just wanna go home so you can watch TV. So why involve another person in the first place? Go alone. Then you don’t have to share your snacks, or the armrest.
2) Go out for a nice meal. And I mean a nice meal. I’m sure you regularly eat Chipotle on your own. Good for you. But try going somewhere serious, with multiple courses and a waiter whose only job is to scrape breadcrumbs off your tablecloth with that weird metal thing. When you go to a nice restaurant alone, the staff immediately assumes you run a successful hipster foodie blog, and they treat you like royalty. More importantly, everyone in the place will think you are melancholy and romantic, particularly if you are pale and spindly and look as if you’re about to succumb to late-stage syphilis.
3) Play music. While it’s true this one technically requires that you know how to play music, you don’t have to play it very well. If you can strum three chords on a guitar (or a ukelele, or a hammered dulcimer), you can do this. Basically, go somewhere with lots of people, sit down, and play music. Lots of things will happen. People will try to give you money. People will talk to you. Other people with instruments will come and play. People will try to sell you drugs. Maybe you’ll buy some. Maybe you’ll find out they’ve been laced with a powerful hallucinogen. Maybe you’ll trip balls and wake up in the back of a van being driven by a clown, and Mariah Carey will be in the passenger seat humming the theme to “M*A*S*H”. I don’t know. Shit gets crazy when you play music alone.
5) Do it. It’s sex with someone you love.
6) Wander around a seedy neighborhood. The world’s not as dangerous as people say. As you continue to not get robbed and beaten up and left for dead in an alley, you’ll begin to realize this. You’ll become more trusting and loving. You’ll give more generously to charity. You’ll maybe use up the rest of those drugs you bought while you were playing music. This time, you’ll see your own death, waiting at the end of a slow tunnel of light like a troll crouched under a bridge. And Mariah Carey will be there again, singing “Hero” this time.
7) Make friends. The best way to not spend the rest of your life alone is to spend some time alone. You meet the best people when you’re on your own. Primarily because they feel sorry for you. Whatever. I’ll take it.