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What it's really like to live alone

Friday October 26 2018

Most people who live alone find it very satisfying.

Most people who live alone find it very satisfying. PHOTO| FOTOSEARCH 

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At some point, it may be necessary to move out and settle down in your own house. This is never easy, especially because it means starting from scratch; buying utensils, basic furniture and learning how to formulate a budget.

It means having to remind yourself every day that you are no longer living in your parent’s fully furnished house.

Often, it means returning perishable food items such as a five-litre bottle of yoghurt or a dozen packs of bacon because you have not bought a refrigerator yet.

Unfortunately, the thought of sizzling bacon strips for breakfast may cause a temporary slip of memory. When you get home to your fridge- less kitchen—kitchen area if you are starting out in a bedsitter—it hits you like thunderbolt that you have nowhere to store your month-long supply of meat and now you have no choice but to eat all the perishables. All of them.


It is not unusual, especially among young people, to pay rent then move back to their parents’ home and use their own house as a…guest house.


Others will not move back home, but will have the employers impressed by the long hours they will put to work.

They will arrive in the office at dawn and leave late in the evening with heavy eyelids guaranteed to have the out the moment they hit the bed.

Over the weekends, you can trust them to know which party is going down because they will have tickets for ALL of them. Anything to escape that hollow feeling of an empty house.

After a while though, the loneliness begins to thaw away, gently at first but steadily.

You start looking forward to going home because the crazy hours you put in have given you a burn out.

Also, you are getting broke and cannot afford to party-hop all weekend long. So you get the internet sorted strongest Wi-Fi connection you can afford.

You shop for a stereo system and pick a few of your favourite reads. You purchase a throw blanket plus some fluffy slippers…and you get comfortable. It finally feels like home.


Your solo apartment becomes your safe haven. A retreat cage where you hide away from all the world’s madness, monitoring it from the screen of your phone.

But, according to the people I spoke to while writing this article, withdrawing from the world is just the icing on the cake. Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about people who live alone; unless, of course “you been there done that.”

Eating straight from the sufuria.

It is not for lack of utensils or cutlery; they have plenty of nice plates actually.

However, there are many reasons for this otherwise uncouth behaviour: they may be running late so there is no time for fancy eating or they may have been cooking something delicious which they kept ‘tasting’ as it cooked and by the time it is ready, the amount left is so little it doesn’t make sense to transfer it to the plate.

The chief reason however is to avoid dirtying the plates dirty because there are more fun things to do than washing dishes.

They will hardly turn down a lunch or dinner date or a buffet party.

Why? Because it means they get to eat free food which they didn’t spend energy cooking and more importantly, money buying.

They will sit down and laugh heartily at all those flat jokes until every morsel is cleared from the plate. Afterwards, they will say something like:

"Look, I had such a great time but I don’t think we want the same things in life. This won’t work out.”

But do not judge them, because a Swahili proverb goes, “Mtu hakatai mwito, hukataa aitiwalo” which loosely translates to them not turning down the dinner date (read free supper) the proposal for a relationship.

They are very minimal with clothes while indoors.

I am being subtle; truth is some of my respondents told me that they often walk around the house naked; it is liberating.

For example, if they forgot to grab a towel on the way the bedroom, they will not go to the trouble of doing a “naked Hussein Bolt dash” to grab one like some of you who live with people in the house.

They just saunter back to get it, a tuneful whistle playing on their lips. If they have nothing to wear because they did laundry, they slide under a duvet, prop the laptop and just chill while waiting for the clothes to dry.

They are pros when it comes to bailing.

If you ever make outing or trip plans with a person who lives alone, keep reminding them of the date it is the only you to ensure they do not bail on you.

Sometimes it is just laziness to dress up and step out of the comfort zone that makes them cancel on you. Other times-- between work and other obligations--they feel like they need to grab every opportunity they get to spend indoors if only to get maximum value of their rent money.

Makes sense, no?

They eat the most absurd meals ever and have pretty strong stomachs.

Food that normally doesn't go together such as left-over ugali and juice works out just fine. Why? Sometimes, they forget to shop for groceries and when hunger strikes they have to make do with what they have.

Other times, they have food but they are way too tired to cook and that's how they will have Weetabix and milk or hot water for dinner.

They will never lack eggs, unless they have an allergy, because eggs are so quick to cook and combine well with almost anything.

They experiment a lot because there is no one around to judge.

When they have time and food supplies, they try out online recipes and will not hesitate to flaunt the pic foods online if they succeed. Sometimes the raw ingredients end up in the trash can but you will never see that side of the story.

They may also take to dancing in front of the mirror, and hit you with very smooth moves at the club. What you don't know is that they have been practising that move on YouTube for the last one month.

They easily get bored of playing host and often wonder when the visitors will leave. Of course they won't show it, but after an hour or so, they miss having the entire place to themselves.

As long as you are there, they cannot walk around naked or eat from the sufuria. Sauti Sol’s Short and Sweet is their trigger to break into a dance, but they will suck in the urge because of your presence.

It would be considerate to make your visits to a person who lives alone much shorter. You can always drag them out of the house if it is quality time you want.