Pemberton: Eating tacos in bed and other pleasures

Joyce Pemberton Columnist

True story. I drove home very late recently from a relaxing trip to see a friend, but along the way had forgotten to eat and so found myself in that dreaded position of starving after midnight. We’ve all been there.

So exiting off of I-40 in the wee hours of the morning, the glaring lights of a Taco Bell spoke to me. Seriously, I actually heard my name. And my car must have heard it because, totally of its own volition, it turned right towards Taco Bell.

A few minutes later and a few miles down the road, the smell of the burrito and crunchy taco I had bought from the chirpy Taco Bell gal was more than I could fight. So I unwrapped the burrito and devoured it right there in the car. No longer starving, now I was just plain tired.

Once home, I dragged my tired self, my suitcase and Taco Bell bag up the stairs and into the bedroom. What happened next I blame totally on the smell of that taco still in the bag.

I was faced with a decision. What to do? Eat the remaining taco or sleep?

It was a no-brainer. I threw on my pajamas, grabbed the taco bag and jumped into bed. A few minutes and a taco later, I fell asleep, empty taco bag on the pillow next to me.

But this isn’t about eating a taco in bed. It’s about having the freedom to eat a taco in bed. The freedom to do what you want, when you want, without judgment or condemnation from the pillow next to you.

It’s about living alone.

It bears mentioning here that I am not single by choice. I lost my husband to cancer several years ago. And I will say, that after three decades of marriage, living single took some getting used to. But I’ve adjusted, and have discovered that there are things about living solo that I like, and things that just aren’t that great.

So aside from eating tacos in bed at 1 o’clock in the morning without getting yelled at, here are some other discoveries I’ve made, good and bad, about being single.

  • I have no one to blame about anything. The house is a mess because of me. Those toothpaste globs on the bathroom sink are mine. The clothes laying on the floor belong to me. (And here all those years I thought I lived with a slob. Apparently I did — me.
  • I’ve learned the trash doesn’t take itself out. Nor do smoke alarm batteries change themselves or faucet drips just go away unaided.
  • The balance due on my credit card is because I bought stuff. I have no right to be shocked. And by the way, when they say “past due after this date,” they mean it.
  • Bearing incredible loss on your own is awfully hard. Especially when it's your mom.
  • Socks, or any other clothing for that matter, do not have to match! Who cares? No one will ever know.
  • I can play any kind of music I want to, as loudly as I want, at any time without explanation or apology.
  • I can watch chick flicks any time I want, over and over. Which I don’t … but I could if I wanted to.
  • And while we are on that subject, I can watch any show I want to. I’m the sole owner of the remote control.
  • On a whim I can pack a suitcase and go anywhere I choose. Which I’ve done.
  • I can skip a meal or eat four times in one day. It’s totally my call.
  • The spaces I used to share — closets and the garage — are totally mine to clutter.

Bottom line — being alone doesn’t necessarily mean you are lonely, although there are certainly moments of loneliness. But like anything else life dishes out, it’s all in how you choose to view it. Right?

I choose to view eating tacos in bed as a good thing. And that was my exact thought the next morning as I was picking pieces of cheese off the sheets.