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An Exercise in Independence

An Exercise in Independence

I am not used to having free time. I am the type of person who will schedule themselves right down to the minute if given the opportunity to do so. My day is generally planned with a precision usually reserved for the likes of spinal surgery, or scientific research to find a cure for neuroblastoma.

My boyfriend says this might be a tad bit unhealthy.

Last night, we returned home from the movies (we went to see Glass) to find a piece of paper wedged into the handle of our front door.

“Greetings Apartment Renter!

Boy, do we have a surprise for you! A motley crew of men will be arriving tomorrow to take your perfectly good windows, and replace them unnecessarily with new ones! Get your shit off the walls and hide anything you don’t want stolen! This is why we insisted you purchase renter’s insurance when you signed the lease! Also, we scheduled this endeavor to take place during the exact hours that you work! You’re welcome!

Fondly,

The Apartment People

P.S. Did we mention that it will be eleven degrees out during the time that you will have gaping holes for windows? YAY!”

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the gist.

I do not usually have to leave for work until a little before nine. Today, I left the apartment at seven thirty and I had absolutely no idea what to do with over an hour of unscheduled time.

Which is why, after a short period of driving around in panic, I find myself at Panera. It is eight o’clock, and I am munching on what happens to be the shittiest breakfast sandwich I have ever consumed. (Dumpster diving would be preferable to this, and it wouldn’t have cost me ten dollars.) I am sipping on something that tastes more like cardboard than coffee and I’m looking around at the mostly Gen-X breakfasters around me. I was listening to their conversations here and there (someone’s daughter is getting married, it seems, and someone else likes to talk shit about the girl that works beside them in the office) until I got the shits of whatever hipster tune Panera thinks is trendy, and I put in my earphones.

I can think of only one other time when I sat in a restaurant without a companion, and that was about a year ago when I was waiting for the arrival of a late companion. Before today, I have never dined alone.

It’s kind of freeing, actually.

I struggle sometimes to do things on my own. Sometimes, I still feel like my parents should be telling me to sit in the corner booth, to grab enough napkins, and not to drink caffeinated beverages. The lack of their presence and direction sometimes makes me doubt whether or not I can do things without them.

Looks like I can.

Who’duh thunk.

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