For much of five days earlier this month, I was on my own as my wife and daughter took my mother-in-law to New York City for her birthday. My take on the experience is that I would make a lousy bachelor.
I thought I would enjoy a little time to myself, and the first night was OK. I had a leisurely dinner at a restaurant that my wife doesn’t much favor, and while I ate, I watched a little baseball and read the Wall Street Journal. The next morning, a Saturday, I read the News & Observer at breakfast and then caught a matinee of a movie that my wife had no interest in seeing. So far, so good.
But after the movie, which was better than the critics said it was, I was ready for my wife and daughter to come home, and they hadn’t been gone but a little more than 30 hours.
For one thing, I became indecisive, which always happens in the absence of my wife and daughter. The first night they were away, I thought about going to a music venue in Carrboro to hear Elizabeth Cook, a country singer-songwriter who’s both talented and funny. But in their absence, I wavered, eventually waiting too long to get there in time, so I stayed home.
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Before I started writing this column, I couldn’t really explain the indecision. It’s not that I ask my wife’s permission to do things, and it’s not that I wouldn’t go if she wanted to stay home. But I’d rather go places with my wife and daughter, and though this might sound odd, once I tell them I’m going to do something, I tend to do it, whether they tag along or not.
I even waver on where to eat when they’re not around. That first night was a no-brainer, but what about breakfast the next day and the day after that? What about lunch and dinner after that first day? I’d start out for one restaurant, change my mind and head in another direction.
It eventually occurred to me that my indecision stemmed from the fact that it’s simply not much fun to plan for one person. The Bolejacks don’t take standard vacations, but we do travel, sometimes as a family, sometimes just wife and daughter, sometimes just husband and wife. But no matter the arrangement, I enjoy choosing the destination, booking a hotel, finding a flight if necessary, surfing the Internet for good restaurants and attractions.
For a couple of years now, my Christmas gift to my wife and daughter has been a trip, first to New York City, then to San Diego. My daughter is usually in the know, but it’s a surprise to my wife, who seems generally appreciative. But truth be told, it is better to give than to receive, because I’m pretty sure I enjoy planning the gift as much as my wife and daughter enjoy receiving it.
So now I know what to do when my wife and daughter are away: Stop random people on the street and ask them if I can plan their next evening out or their next vacation. Who could say no to that?