x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Home alone in the UAE

Having returned to the UK for two weeks, my dear lady partner has selfishly left me to fend for myself and, truth be told, I don't really know what to do.

As I type, I am into day three of my longest stretch of time living alone in my entire 31 years. Having returned to the UK for two weeks - practically the longest holiday she's ever had (she has a significantly more high-powered job than I) - my dear lady partner has selfishly left me to fend for myself and, truth be told, I don't really know what to do.

Ever since I left home, barring the odd spot of backpacking or the occasional work-related trip, I've pretty much permanently lived with other people or at least shared some sort of communal lounge-room area with others. While the idea of having my own place sounds nice (100 per cent control of the music, no arguments about Dave, my life-size ceramic panther), I've always been concerned about the conversation, the silent breakfasts, the lack of sounding board for whatever rubbish joke comes into my head. Who will I pull funny faces at or bore to death by repeating the story about the time I once interviewed David Hasselhoff?

But now, with my other half on holiday, suddenly I've been thrust into a situation I'm not really prepared for.

I remember the feeling of unbridled joy as a teenager whenever my parents would go away. Even if it was just for one evening, it seemed like a world of opportunity back then and plans were quickly hatched to stay up late watching scary films and eating sweets (they were innocent times, before the whole "going out to meet mates" became a regular evening exercise).

Perhaps I could repeat those exciting days of old, I thought, until I remembered that I don't really have much of a sweet tooth anymore and scary films tend to scare me, especially when watched on my own and in the dark.

While initially I think I was looking forward to the experience (staying out late with the lads! watching mindless violence on the television! wearing that pair of jeans with the unfortunately placed rip without being told to change!), three days in I've noticed that I've lost that guiding hand telling me what I need to do each day.

Being the one with the big important job, it's my dear ladyfriend who has the tight scheduling when it comes to going to sleep, waking up, eating food, etc. Being rather weak of will (read: wanting an easy life), I tend to just go along with it.

However, without this succession of gentle nudges each day, I seem to have completely forgotten how to function. The other evening I realised it was 3am and I hadn't even contemplated bedtime yet. Yesterday, I just forgot to have breakfast.

Hopefully, I can survive the two weeks without losing my mind, job or health. I have the sneaking suspicion that I'm going to have to get the cleaners round on the last day (I've been accused of having a condition that renders me unable to see mess, so it's not worth taking the risk of doing it myself).

If I do get through it, I'm going to suggest that next time this "living on my own" malarkey crops up again, I'm given a detailed instruction manual telling me exactly what to do and when. Actually, can't someone simply develop an iPhone app?

aritman@thenational.ae

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