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I Prefer a Team to a Spouse September 2, 2020

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities.
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If you are single and live alone, you need to be prepared to deal with random catastrophes. Generally, I handle stuff ok. Like the time I returned from a long workday, opened the front door, and wondered to myself, “Why is it raining inside the house?” (Answer: Spontaneous toilet tank crack.) I managed the flood just fine. But recently I encountered a problem I couldn’t manage at all. So I had to call in Team Christina.

Dr. Peter McGraw of Solo and Craig Wynne of The Happy Bachelor have talked about how single people have “teams”, and Dr. Bella DePaulo has said that married people have The One and singles have The Ones.  I have been assembling an ad-hoc Team Christina during the two decades I’ve lived in Northern Virginia. Mostly the Team was just for hanging out, sharing Netflix shows, and reassuring me that my author photos didn’t make me look like a serial killer. But the latent power of Team Christina became clear when I found my sweet little cat dead in the basement window well.

Perhaps saying “my” cat is not accurate. Zorro was feral. He and his brother Oreo belonged only to themselves, although they were pleased to take breakfast and dinner from me for eight years. I never touched Zorro once in all that time, but I did have physical contact with Oreo, because he liked to slash my hand when I gave him food. These black-and-white brats lived in a little wooden house on my deck that I’d insulated myself and filled with fresh straw every winter. In the mornings, they sunned themselves in my fancy zero-G chair, as I headed to work to make money to feed their ungrateful butts. When Zorro stopped showing up for food, I put notes on twenty neighbors’ doors asking them to check their sheds. I posted a message on NextDoor. I looked under my deck. Multiple times. As the days passed, I started to smell garbage when the hot summer wind shifted. Because sometimes I’m dumb, I did not tie the smell to Zorro’s disappearance. I checked to see if my compost had gone bad. I peeked over the neighbor’s fence to see if they had left trash out. A week after Zorro disappeared, I wondered if the smell was coming from a malfunction in the sump pump. While I knelt by the pump, the wind shifted, and I caught the smell coming from the window well to my left. In retrospect, I knew what I would find before I looked. But I was still not prepared for that matted black and white fur, that one little back paw with the little nails. The window well is partly covered by a semi-opaque plastic cover, so I was saved from seeing the full week-in-the-heat wreckage of Zorro’s earth-suit. But I saw enough. I wailed, a wail that didn’t stop the whole time I was running into the house, searching for my phone, and dialing Team Christina’s Feline Emergency Unit (FEU).

The FEU comprised my friend Betsy and her husband Bob (who have three fur kids) and my catsitter Larilyn (who has one fur kid the size of three fur kids). First, I called Betsy and said, “OMG OMG OMG” and she said, “We’re coming. Bob just has to get together the stuff he needs.” My boggled mind was astounded that Bob knew what “stuff” was “needed” to dislodge and dispense with a very dead body. Apparently, Betsy and Bob owned this mystical stuff that could dislodge and dispense with a very dead body. This amazed me, through my sadness. When I called Larilyn, I told her not to come because she’d known Zorro personally, but she said that was exactly the reason she was coming. To keep calm while I waited for the FEU, I contacted the Team Christina Remote Feline Emergency Unit. That means I called my sister and parents, who live far away and also love cats. They reassured me Zorro’s death wasn’t my fault and that he’d had a long good life. Then Bob and Betsy arrived with their magic equipment (a shovel), and Larilyn showed up–with lime. Did you know lime can absorb (or transmogrify or whatever) the smell of dead flesh? I did not. But this factoid seemed to be common knowledge to all of Team Christina FEU, who assembled in my backyard and took control while I stood there sniffling and stunned. I was stunned because Zorro had been rotting under my nose for a week, and I was also stunned because apparently I had multiple friends for whom corpse disposal was second nature.

Long story short, Team Christina FEU buried Zorro next to the fence and gave him some flowers and a little Z sign. I was able to say goodbye by dropping a handful of kibble next to his sweet little jawbone. Because Team Christina had helped me process my initial shock, the next day I was once again Christina Army of One, able to deal with the flies now partying in the basement.  Apparently the baby fly nymphs (or whatever) had migrated from Zorro through the window casing into my laundry room. Before I brought out the bug spray, I smacked three of them dead with my bare hands. WHAM WHAM WHAM! That’s for Zorro, you dirty buzzy bastards!

When I was living with my domestic partner, he tried to be good at supporting me during emotional crises, but he really didn’t know how, and his first instinct was to withdraw. His hugs felt stiff and wrong, although I wouldn’t have admitted it back then. As a single person, I get more support and solutions out of Team Christina than I ever did from my ex. Such was made clear during Zorrogate.

Copious Readers, what do you rely on your Teams for?

–Christina

I MISS YOU RORO!

Comments»

1. chicagogal31 - September 3, 2020

As a mom to two feline babies, this tore at me. I had never thought of the concept of having a team. That’s something I feel lacking since my close friends live in other states, or not close to me. As an only child, I’ve been used to being alone, but having lost my last parent, my father, unexpectedly 4 and a half years ago, my alone-ness feels more like a burden. I inherited my childhood home, and it brings me no comfort. I dream of having a nearby team though. Thank you for this article.

Onely - September 3, 2020

The thing about Northern Virginia, where I live, is that all my friends are very spread apart, separated by traffic and congestion. So in that way, it’s kind of like my friends are all far away. And here there’s not really a culture of neighborliness–neighbors don’t see each other a lot. So essentially my team is all somewhat remote. . .

Also, I live in my childhood home too! And you’re right, it’s not necessarily automatically this mystical, magical comforting experience. The longer I’m here though, the more it becomes *my* house and less my childhood house..

2. Craig Wynne - September 7, 2020

I’m sorry to hear about Zorro. It’s a very good thing to have a team; relying on one person for everything can be quite dangerous, in my opinion.


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