How to Be Alone



For a sec, a single sec, can I be real with you, reader?

I, Jon Schaff of Hell Is Other Blogs fame, signed a lease today on a new apartment (seen above). For yours truly, and yours truly alone. I’ve never lived by myself before, so this development has been lauded by people with names such as Joe as “Hitting the big time.”

The big time. Me. Can you imagine

I feel a bit like young Kevin McCallister, levitating over a whole cheese pizza in an empty North Shore bungalow. 1.5 bedrooms, all to myself. Yet my eyebrows haven’t arched assuredly, and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree has not begun to play. Dear reader, it’s all because I am the teensiest bit scared of what’s to come. 

Why scared? You’re young, you’re saying, so young, in the prime of your life, barely getting old at all! That is completely true. I have fantasized once or thrice about falling and breaking my hip in the shower, a la Grandma Anne Schaff, that old pratfaller, may she rest in peace. But I’ll admit the likelihood of my slipping, breaking, and dying alone, not being discovered until my fuming corpse demands the attention of unknown neighbors is, realistically, meager at best. Should I fall, I can scream with the best of them.

Nor am I particularly afraid of a break-in, as my folksily addressed Apt. #11 resides on the second floor of the greystone, safely inland from the coastal Apts. #1, #6 and #12 (prime targets for cat burglars). I may procure an American-made Louisville Slugger baseball bat to keep in my bedroom, but mostly so I can lay in bed and turn it over slowly in my hands.

No, reader, my fear of living alone stems from what this life decision means to me. Ever since my first fiction class in college, I’ve dreamt of a year where writing takes a backseat to nearly nothing else in my world. A year of gains made, stories finished, blogs attended to, scripts polished, ideas pitched, and always hot ink like fresh tire tracks on the page. This apartment is a show of commitment to that ideal. I won’t have cable (I couldn’t afford it anyway) or a TV (until I inevitably cave around Thanksgiving and buy one). The .5 of my previously mentioned 1.5 bedrooms I will make into an office, where I plan to retire after work with a glass of scotch or lemonade (alternating nightly) and put pen to paper. 

Rid of excuses, distractions, and, frankly, choices, I am hereby handcuffing myself to the desk. Come October 1st, anyways. And that’s pretty darn petrifying. If this winter proves to be as long and gruesome as the last, I may have a breakdown. Or I may have a breakthrough. I will probably break something, anyway. Maybe with my bat.


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