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Going Solo

8 November 2009

I rarely do fun things by myself. Usually, if no one else is interested in a particular activity, then I choose not to do it instead of going solo. I don’t resent the choice, I just figure it wouldn’t be fun alone. But then this weekend, I found myself with lots of free time, and the Consort busy with papers to grade, and so I tried something new.

On Saturday, our local coffee shop was offering a “class” on the Chemex coffee brewing system. I’m not a coffee connoisseur: as long as it’s organic, shade grown, and fair trade, I’ll drink it. But I wasn’t sure how many people would attend, I knew the Consort would be grading and Impera was at a debate tournament, and if I were a small shop owner I would dread trying something new and having no one show up. So I asked Trixie if she wanted to spend a bit of time at the coffeeshop. She had a peach Italian soda and drew a comic strip she is developing, and I learned about Chemex with 5 other people.

As we were walking to the coffeeshop, I had a momentary change of heart and almost told Trixie we should turn around — it would be so much easier to surf the Web and drink tea from home, wouldn’t it? Of course it would. But it was fun to try two different coffees (a Guatemalan and an Indonesian) brewed this way, and to talk to others about what flavors we were tasting in the drink (I had no idea how much coffee tasting is like wine tasting: hints of floral, low acidity, full-bodied, … oh my!)

This morning, I wanted to go to a (FREE!) local arts expo downtown. Again, the Consort was busy, and I knew the girls wouldn’t want to spend their precious weekend time at one of these things. So I went by myself. It was a veritable Artist Date (but does it count as one if you aren’t following the Artist’s Way program?). I read that book, and often thought about following the program, but the idea always fizzled when the time for the first solo outing came along (hmmmm. I’m sensing a pattern).

This time, the urge to abort this expedition came on strong as I was walking to the entrance. I decided that going with Trixie the day before was much different, because even though we didn’t interact, I technically hadn’t gone to the coffeeshop alone, whereas this time, everyone else I saw was in pairs: couples, friends, mother and offspring. There was no denying it — I would definitely be seen as a loser without friends.

But it was rather fun. I could stop and read all the ingenious one-off earring pairs at one jewelry booth (good witch/bad witch; in one ear/out the other; left brain/right brain …) without feeling like I should move on, and I could completely skip the beautiful yet rather uncreative photography booths (you know the ones: grizzly bears, Grand Canyon, eagle catching a fish) without feeling guilty that I was rushing by someone else’s favorite booth.

I still think I prefer to do activities with others, but I’m glad I have finally realized that I can participate, even when no one else wants to.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 November 2009 10:52 pm

    So what’s the deal with Chemex? Sounds intriguing…

  2. 9 November 2009 9:56 am

    I’m evidently a bit of a grumpy old thing, because I’d rather do something I like alone than drag one of the family along. When I meet my sister in London we generally spend some time window shopping, which bores me, when I’d rather go to an art exhibition. We both enjoy the boozy lunch though.

    Similarly, on holiday I like cultural things plus some chillout time, and interesting local food and drink, but no one else in the family ever wanted to do just what I did, and I’m very polite so it was a bit frustrating. Now I go alone or in a group and I do exactly what I like, Though restaurants aren’t fun alone.

  3. 9 November 2009 1:24 pm

    I enjoy doing stuff on my own every so often. I reckon that at least one person today looked at you jealously, not having to keep anyone else happy. And that noone thought you were a loser.

    So there 🙂

  4. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    9 November 2009 2:44 pm

    Wil: Here are the arguments for it: a) brewing provides better flavor if the grounds are held in a cone shape rather than a flat bottom; b) electric coffee brewers tend to take too long to brew (going down a drip at a time), which increases the bitterness of coffee (the ideal brew time should be about 4 minutes, and best done by hand); c) keeping coffee on a heating element, like most brewers, just overcooks the coffee and burns the flavor. My responses are: a) the filter holder from my broken individual Gevalia coffee pot is conical; b) I can get the same effect by using said filter holder sat on top of a coffee mug, and it’s way cheaper (free vs. $39); and c) just turn off the coffeemaker as soon as it is done brewing, and you prevent the scorching. It’s an interesting idea, but I am not enough of an afficionada to make such a purchase worthwhile. (That, plus the name Chemex makes me think of the Yello song Blender!)

    Z: You’re right. although I can see the perks of doing many things solo, eating out just isn’t one of them.

    Beth: I think I will begin to incorporate going solo into my options. (And you are right that most probably no one judged me; but it’s just so weird to do things alone, that I couldn’t help feeling a bit self-conscious…)

  5. 9 November 2009 3:34 pm

    Yes; if you’ve not done anything much on your own for a long time, then it’ll feel weird – but I’m sure it won’t feel weird for long. I think it’s good for the soul, doing things alone every so often. Not that I’d ever stop going to things with friends and family – but it’s nice to be able to do both 🙂

    I love having lunch alone every so often! I wouldn’t go for an evening meal alone though I suppose, but I really do love lunch alone. I had a period when I did it once a week – it’s not so often now, but I wish I could afford the time and money to do it more.

  6. 10 November 2009 10:28 am

    Thanks for the Chemex overview.

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