Sometimes–and only sometimes–part of me wants to pick up and move down to Florida* so that I can see my extended family and inlaws more often. I learned a couple years ago that I actually like my family. (My mother’s family.) I grew up not seeing much of them. And now that my father’s side of the family has stopped inviting me to family gatherings,** I have nothing keeping me up here.

And I like my inlaws. In fact, I’m currently penning a how-to book called How to Renovate Your House on the Cheap by Enslaving Your Elderly Parents.

On the other hand, though, that would severely curtail My Alone Time, which mostly consists of drinking bourbon, eating peanut butter out of the jar with my hands, reading Metafilter, and listening to the music that N can’t stand. And sometimes it’s music that no self-respecting musophile would admit to enjoying, under pain of death even. Like post-Gabriel Genesis. Or Josh Turner (whom NPR seems to like, so maybe he’s not totally uncool)(that was said in half-seriousness). Or the Dead.

Or post-Toys in the Attic Aerosmith. Very post-.

Twenty years ago, when I was in high school (and oh my god I can’t believe I just typed that), I got mono. I started coming down with it the week of spring break, but I didn’t want to tell my parents that I was running a fever and feeling a bit delirious and tired, because I had plans to play tennis*** with this cute boy from school and I was not about to be stopped.

So, the Monday school resumed, my mother found me standing in the shower, dry, staring numbly at the hot/cold water knobs and unable to figure out what the next step was. The doctor confirmed it and thus began my month of quarantine.

As much as I like to be alone, I can’t say that I enjoyed this month, because I also had an almost unbearable–and tenacious–case of strep throat. Seriously, it was bad. It was so bad that for the first time in my young life, food held no appeal, and I couldn’t taste anything. My parents made me milkshakes every day, which I refused. Milkshakes.


I lost about 15 pounds, which actually put me at a healthy weight. (When I returned to school, people would stop me and ask what happened, and I told them I’d been away at an unwed mothers home.)

The school sent a tutor every week to bring me homework assignments and give me tests and whatnot. I finished everything within an hour. Public school is a joke.

This meant that I spent most of my time watching MTV. You might not remember this, but 1990 was not a great year for popular music. As such, in my febrile state, I watched an unchanging and fairly small rotation of videos. Of them all, Nothing Compares 2 U was the most tolerable, but then there was also Adam Ant’s pathetic comeback attempt, Room at the Top. Also, we had Onion Skin, by Boom Crash Opera, a band so mind-blowingly awful and improbably popular that I have to assume they made a pact with the devil. And then, of course, there was “Hold On,” by Wilson Phillips (which, by the way, was the number one song of 1990), who had not sold their souls to the devil in exchange for fame–they were actually his henchmen and I will not be linking to their video.

Finally, though, there was a song that somehow resonated with me, as bad as it is. To this day, I really, really love it. I even bought the mp3 from Amazon last year.

Aerosmith, “What It Takes”

So when I am alone, I listen to this song. Really, it’s not so bad. A sad accordion song will do it for me every time.

*Other times, I want to pick up and move due to the fact that we do, in fact, own a house there now, and also to the fact that the weather in NYC is ready to kill me right now.
**I can’t imagine why, though I suspect I should blame Obama. I miss the Struffoli but not a lot else.
***All these odd revelations about me today! I think that was probably the last time I picked up a tennis racket, by the way. I should be glad my spleen didn’t explode.
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