Home Alone: It’s not just a movie anymore

Herscher Pilot columnist Michaela Daly has spent the summer waiting tables at Paul Bunyon’s Cook Shanty in Minocqua, Wis. She is entering her sophomore year as an English/journalism major at North Central College in Naperville.

They say you learn a lot about yourself once you live with a roommate, and yes, I’ve found that to be true. But since living alone this summer, I’ve learned even more about myself. Some things, I didn’t want to learn. 

I hate things to be dirty in the sense that there is actual dirt on the ground or dust on the shelves or stains in the bathtub. But I don’t mind if clean things are disorganized. If my clean clothes are strewn all over the house and books are left in piles over the tables and the clean dishes are in a mountain by the sink waiting to be put away, I could care less. But if the hardwood floors aren’t swept every day and I feel dirt particles sticking to the bottom of my bare feet when I walk in the kitchen, I will lose it. 

Three different towels should be used at once: one for your body, one for your face, and one for your hands. However, these towels can be reused for up to one week. (Okay, two weeks).  

There is nothing wrong with eating an entire box of cereal in one sitting if you just had a long day at work during which over six customers did not leave a tip and another eight accused you of withholding bacon from them. WE DON’T SERVE BACON HERE. 

If I don’t have something to do all day, I will sit around and bake and eat the things I baked and watch TV for the whole day. Nothing will motivate me to move. Then, I will go into a stage of intense over thinking, causing a series of phone calls to my mom about how someone is stalking the house and I am gaining weight and I think I’m mildly allergic to gluten or maybe it’s lactose and there are flying ants everywhere and can you get third degree burns from touching a hot pan for a millisecond and can you put aluminum foil in the oven and how do you defrost ground meat and are 80-year-old men who leave their phone numbers at the restaurant a possible threat for killing me in my sleep and can you gain ten pounds in one day because yesterday the scale said I weighed ten pounds lighter than it’s saying right now and I mean, I did have a big lunch but that’s physically impossible, right? 

I’m not a very skilled chef. However, I’m also not a very picky eater. The two mesh very well together. (I used the same pan for over a week to cook eggs, ground turkey, vegetables, and a grilled cheese, each on different days. I didn’t wash it between uses. My mom has since informed me that this is not only wildly unsanitary, but also unhealthy.) 

I am essentially a 70-year-old man trapped in a 19-year-old’s body. I record the Tonight Show because it’s on too late and I’m in bed by 9:30. Oatmeal and coffee are my go to foods. The most used app on my phone is my Jigsaw Puzzle app. If my routine is thrown off, I’ve been known to wander aimlessly on the highway mumbling “Bingo at 5 o’clock” over and over. 

Some things, I have benefitted from learning about myself. Being alone left a lot of time for me to look at who I am as a person and the few areas in which I could improve myself. (Very few. Like, a handful. Maybe two handfuls. Two large, grown giant handfuls.) I learned to be comfortable with myself in every way – flaws and all. I had only myself to rely on for everything – including positive reinforcement and it made me realize that I don’t need someone of the opposite sex to do that for me. I’m better at it myself anyways. When I ask “Do I look fat in these jeans?” there is no hesitation or deceitful eyes. There is only “Hell no girl, you look fabulous, even with those saddlebags.” In a few short months alone, I grew as a person more than I have in nineteen years of relying on others to do it for me. Instead of waiting for others to bring me flowers, from now on, I’m planting my own.