Wallet, Phone, Keys, Keys, Keys, Keys
So went my mantra every time I left my house last month. I say ‘my’ house but it belongs to my parents. Like everyone on social media in the semester break, my parents were holidaying in Europe while I was not. I’d been tasked with keeping our cat and myself alive and the house from burning down.
It was evidence of my parents’ lack of faith that they turned off the pilot light in the oven. It was confirmation of my parents’ lack of faith that I got ill within a week of cooking for myself.
I was unsure whether to write this article. It seems like so many people I know are living alone as self-sufficient adults. Would I be exposing my embarrassing lack of experience at that thing called adulthood? But no, I figure I’m far from alone, and those perfectly self-sufficient few have contracted the same affliction that befalls vegans and Game of Thrones book readers—they can’t help but tell you.
Anyway, despite my inadequacy, I learnt a thing or two.
The first of which is that you lose your keys at the worst time. There was one other copy in Australia and it was in the safekeeping of my neighbour. Which neighbour? I forgot. Losing my key therefore either entailed sleeping in the Fisher 24/7 section for several weeks or door-knocking my entire suburb. Consequently, my room resembled a Vinnies after a busload of grandmas or hipsters had been through it. When you have 22 minutes before your shift starts and it’s a 20-minute drive, you’ll punch through plaster if you think it will help you find your keys sooner. Our cat, Yoda, probably thought I was recreating that scene in The Great Gatsby where he throws all his clothes around and Daisy finds it worryingly sexy.
Incidentally, cats are wily creatures. She managed to convince us to buy the catfood equivalent of caviar. It’s $75 a bag. I treated that stuff like gold. If I got desperate it would have been cheaper to go to Courtyard than to have a bowl of those luxury biscuits.
Any time there is free food, it is totally acceptable to take as much as you can physically store on (or in) your body—ignore those dirty looks. At a SURG training event, a guest speaker, Michael Bradley (apparently a managing partner of Marque Lawyers) was given a pizza. Probably one of the warmer thank you items he had received but he acted like a total lawyer and ended up ditching it on a table and leaving.
Something—engrained social norms maybe—held me back. It took about 5 minutes for someone else to pounce and once they made the first move it was 12 seconds before everyone else within non-awkward reaching distance had demolished it. My rice and rice combo meal tasted a little bitter that night.
I learnt from my previous mistake and ate five free sausage rolls at a work BBQ held after a swimming race night. I was volunteering so I feel like it was reasonable to eat my normal pay in the form of food.
I also discovered some great timesaving techniques that I’ll have to get patented. Don’t be a social sheep and bring your wheelie bin in and out weekly—instead, frantically run out to it holding a bag of rubbish at 2 am in the morning. Then, next week, don’t learn from your mistake and do the same thing again—this time with both the rubbish AND recycling.
Dishes can definitely be allowed to soak for up to three days. At that point re-arrange them so they seem to take up less space and allow another soaking. Repeat until you’ve used up all dishes and actually have to fill the dishwasher (a dishwasher is essential for this technique). Warning: when all your other cutlery is dirty, you may end up having to eat spaghetti with teaspoons. Spoiler: it can be done.
There was something great about holding the fort and eating very overcooked chicken (hey, salmonella is scary) that I’d created with my own blood, sweat and tears (feat. the chicken). It’s a feeling I could get used to.
Like most people, I eagerly await that independence. The money side of things may have me eagerly waiting for a while yet. I guess, in the meantime, I’ll enjoy eating food that doesn’t come out of plastic containers.