When I first moved up to Glasgow in 2012, I decided it would be better to rent a place alone. I think it is the first time I had intentionally lived by myself. When I relocate for work, my employers usually arrange my accommodation, and even if I have a flat to myself, there’s always a colleague or two next door. I have enjoyed it so far, but no-one tells you how quiet it is to live alone. I’m the eldest of four children which meant there was always someone to annoy; a little sister to beat up, a younger brother to look after and a family to cook for. I don’t think I had the privilege of my own room until I was fourteen, and even then, there certainly wasn’t a lock. There were never any truly private spaces. Even my cat gave birth under my bed and nursed her kittens there. I moved away from the South West to live with my grand parents whilst I studied at college. I didn’t have any privacy there either, I was lucky in the long run that I was too square for a boyfriend. I never had many chances to arrange time with the opposite of sex because I discovered that my grand mother eavesdropped on my telephone conversations. I caught her once standing outside my door and she claimed she had dropped her knitting. I guess I should thank her for keeping me on the straight and narrow path when it was important! However, I quickly made up for tight regulations later on.
I moved out and went to college and I managed to find a place with a live in land-lady, it was my first taste of independence and I began to live life to the full. Just as I was doing that, I would always meet with some kind of embarrassment at home. Initially, my landlady’s plan was to move away and study, and so she advertised her room and a new male tenant moved in. In the end she didn’t move out because they started a relationship, they went through their honeymoon phase in the bedroom above me. So far as I know, Geoff is one of unsexiest names I have heard a woman call in ecstasy. I started to date around that period and invited my boyfriend over, there we were greeted by both of them in the living room. My landlady’s boyfriend wasn’t wearing his shirt and she was squeezing the spots on his back. On another occasion, I arrived home and they had broken the bathroom sink, it came clean off the wall. I never asked why. I hope that I never fall in love with a man called Geoff, the name is tainted.
Then I moved onto university, with the exception of some short contracts abroad, I never lived with a landlord or landlady again. But I still had to compromise in order to cover the rent. Some of the tenants I lived with were wonderful, others were eccentric and others, some just plain odd. One girl was sadly very ill with bulimia. It was fascinating to witness just how much food she placed in the oven. She would cook a whole tray of chips, a savoury pie, an apple pie, and two cans of spaghetti hoops all from Kwik Save. She was pretty, goal-orientated and very smart, and I never understood why she made herself ill, or how she could eat all that food from Kwik Save. Obviously, dealing with the after effects of that in a shared household was uncomfortable. Now that I am a landlady, I take care to avoid any similarities with my old land lady.
It was suggested that I might get lonely in my new flat. But I did not really have time to appreciate it because I was very busy. There’s a work out to fit in every morning before work and work occupies a considerable amount of time. Plus, the moment I got some freedom to read whatever I liked, I decide to study and must read all the support materials. In addition, I studied Italian, I am not sure why, I find the men to be fairly predictable and I am not planning any return visits for the meanwhile. I guess I wanted to formalise the little I had picked up on from overhearing conversations and learn more about English. I spent very little time at home; in fact someone commented I was morphing into Lisa Simpson. But I think the thing I will miss most about living on my own is doing whatever I want naked. Cooking, ironing, stepping out from the shower and then getting changed wherever I want in the flat. The best freedom of all is having sex wherever I want, even if I can’t profess to be very active. I recall almost embarrassing myself as a landlady some years ago, and rescued my dignity with some quick thinking. I have enjoyed this period of selfish living so immensely; I am not sure how I could ever be considerate again!