In 2002, I signed a lease with two friends, and shared a three bedroom apartment near Boston. By October, I was dreaming of living by myself. I was twenty-two, and naturally, had never experienced a home of my own. It wasn't until October of 2003 that I finally lived by myself. It didn't last long. It was a crappy area near MIT, and my tires got slashed twice in two weeks. That put me back about $500.00. I hated it.
I am embarrassed to say that I really haven't lived alone since then until now. And the timing couldn't have worked out better, because I HAVE to be left alone when I throw up, and yesterday morning, at 5 AM, I woke up with the stomach flu. The first 4-5 hours were spent on the floor of the bathroom, and every time I changed positions, I got sick. Every time I stood up, this also induced vomiting. I was held captive to the porcelain bowl - a horizontal woman.
I don't know why I have to be by myself when I am sick, but I have always been that way. I remember kicking my family out of the room when I was a teenager, telling them, "I am nauseous, and I need you to leave." They graciously obeyed my request.
A few months ago, my friend was deathly ill, and when I came by to check on them, I stayed as far away from them as possible. Later on, they asked me why I didn't help them, as they grasped on to the toilet. "What did you want me to do?" I asked. "You could have stroked my back, or something," they replied. "Really?" I thought. I explained that I need my solitude when feeling this ill. I just assumed they wanted the same. Weird. So some people want an audience during this feeling of awfulness?
In the past, nobody would have even known I was sick. There would have been no reason for anyone to find out. Living by myself, here in Madison, I had one major problem- since I couldn't really get up without getting sick, I couldn't take my dog out. So, before I knew it, I had about 5 offers from 5 different people, asking if they could help. I am not used to this. It just goes to show how good people are. My phone was beeping all day long. It was nice to know that after living here only three months, I knew I could get help if I needed it.
There is a real sense of "having everything at your fingertips" here. I feel really close to everything in Madison. I don't think any one thing or person is more than four miles away from me. And by thing, I mean bars/restaurants/stores/museums/concert venus etc. It is reassuring to know that.
I don't wish this stomach thing upon my worst enemy. I hope you all stay healthy. And remember, if you ever need anything while you are hugging the porcelain gods, I will be there, but if you want me to rub your back, you better communicate that, otherwise, I will stay as far away from you as possible.