Ever since I announced my divorce on this site, I've been inundated with e-mails from readers.
Most were empathetic notes of sympathy. Many were shared tales of sadness. Quite a few were messages of concern.
However, a good chunk of them were from happily married dads simply inquiring, "HEY DUDE, WHAT'S IT LIKE?"
I hate to pop the proverbial bubble, my friends, but I get the impression that some of you were picturing my new life as a tropical storm of fancy NYC dinner parties, late nights at trendy lounges, and a steady rotation of leggy Swedish fashion models.
Sorry to disappoint but really, nothing could be further from the truth.
For example, dinner tonight consisted of me mixing a can of baked beans with a can of corn and drenching the shit out of it with some tabasco sauce. I then proceeded to snarf it out of the pot while standing over the sink pounding a Diet Coke.
Afterward, I sat on the couch in my underwear and socks and highlighted the Scrabble dictionary while watching a PBS documentary on national parks.
I know. Sometimes it's hard to believe I'm still single.
In all seriousness, one of the more obvious consequences of being divorced is that you naturally find yourself spending much more time being alone. The only thing is that I've always been fairly good at being alone.
Maybe a little too good.
No longer being part of a committed marriage, I'd almost forgotten how easily solitude comes to me. Most of my memories as a child are of being alone. In fact, I remember spending a large part of my adolescence in my room with a good book and the door shut. My quiet time,
as my mom called it.
So what do I do with my quiet time these days?
1. Read voraciously.
2. Take long walks all over the city.
3. Catch up with friends on Facebook.
4. Watch old movies.
6. Contemplate life and dwell on self-analysis.
7. Two words: Reality. Television.
8. Make itunes mixes for the gym.
9. Manage roster moves for my Fantasy Football team.
If I really think about it, I'm not surprised that my post-divorce life has played out in this fashion. I've always believed that solitude is important. If you don't know yourself, then you will always be lonely.
Not that I do, but I try.
The German poet Ranier Maria Rilke once wrote that it's important for people to be solitary because "the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate."
I don't know what my future brings. I don't know whether all this solitude is good for me. Heck, I may not even know how much I do not know. At this point, all I can really say is that "My Antonio" might be the most genius show ever aired on television.
In all seriousness, the greatest part of being a single father is that I'll never really be truly alone for the sole fact that I am still a father. No matter how much I might enjoy relishing in my solitude, it's indescribably life-affirming knowing that there's an adorable little girl who unconditionally loves her father more than anything else and enjoys spending quality time with him being completely silly.
And you know what?
That totally works for me.
Smile for the camera, kiddo. I love you!