I spent a week at my great-aunt’s house while she and my cousins were on vacation. The task was simple enough. All I had to do was take care of the dogs and cats, get the mail, and water the garden. After that, my time was my own to do what I pleased.
Now I live in a small town in the middle of a cornfield, but it’s definitely a town. My aunt lives on the outskirts of a village. She’s got neighbors and a highway runs behind her house, but it still feels very much more isolated than my little house in my little town. I’ve never spent the night at her house before, but I did sleep over at my grandparents’ house all the time growing up and they lived a couple of miles away in the same scenario (except for the highway part). In short, I’m no stranger to being in the country.
However, I’ve never been in the country alone overnight.
I’ve also never been alone in my aunt’s house, so it was a weird feeling walking in with all of my stuff and no one was there. It felt like I was intruding.
I admit that for the first couple of days I felt like a stranger in a strange land (silly since I’d spent so much time in the house previously, but it’s different being there alone). It was all about getting comfortable being in my aunt’s house alone. I live by a routine when I’m at home. It’s an important part of keeping the flow of my day. Once I was able to establish a routine that involved feeding and playing with the dogs, minding the cats, getting the mail, and watering the garden, I settled in pretty well.
Staying overnight in a new place, particularly one out in the middle of nowhere, it can be easy to spook yourself. I think I locked the door at my aunt’s house more than I locked it at mine. Of course I locked it when I went to sleep, but I also locked it when I took a shower, too. I’d also shut and lock the bathroom door. Maybe that’s just logical. Maybe it’s paranoia. Maybe it’s the effect of watching Psycho.
On the other hand, after the first day I was like, “Why am I shutting the door every time I go to the bathroom? I’m the only one here!”
In a way it was a little taste of living on my own in theory. It wasn’t my house, it wasn’t my ideal choices of food, it wasn’t my animals. But it was me cooking for myself. It was me solely responsible for the animals in the house. It was me being solely responsible for the house.
It was a week of being some kind of grown-up that I haven’t been yet.
I kind of liked it.
Of course, it was only a week. And I wasn’t financially responsible for anything.
I’m sure that makes all the difference.