Friday 29 March 2013

Solo-Cation: #jordantime on her own

Today I am taking a mini vacation by myself. A solo-cation, I guess. I'm staying at the Hotel Indigo here in Ottawa, and I'm blogging whenever I'm not busy just giving myself some needed downtime. You can also follow twitter for my tweets with hashtag #jordantime. You can read the intro post here.


Waiting at Starbucks for 3pm check-in time at the Hotel Indigo here in Ottawa. I realized I have forgotten to charge all my devices, so I sure hope there's lots of plugs in the room. 

I think I've forgotten to mention that I have a roommate living with me now. Bruce--we'll call him Bruce--is an absolute sweetheart and came highly recommended by past roommates. Already I can see why. Though I did have to laugh at him the other day when, shortly after announcing that he'd be around to help me deal with my aggressive male neighbour, I found him staring nervously at the air vent from across the room. Apparently he thought something furry was moving inside of it. A quick check with a flashlight revealed a large dust bunny. I gave him a swat and said, "Oh, big strong man is here to protect me, eh?" And he replied, "From bad men and spiders, yes; from supernatural shit? That's a different thing!" I'm not sure how a mouse or squirrel in a vent would equal something supernatural, but okay, then. Mice will be my responsibility. 

I'm sitting in an armchair at Starbucks and there's another one right beside mine (ostensibly so I could chat with a friend if I brought one); a strange man with his pants tucked into his socks just moved my stuff off that extra chair and sat down. I feel like my solo time bubble has been popped. At least it wasn't  my doing.

I also just realized that everyone in this Starbucks is on a Mac, and I was about to silently shout, "hipsters!" at them all, but then I remembered I'm on an iPad.

Realized I forgot my damn stuffed dog. It's not (just) a security thing: he fits perfectly into my neck at night so I don't get sore. Dammit.

My buddy Ben asks messages to ask what I'm up to today. I tell him I'm at Starbucks waiting for the hotel to let me in. He says, and I quote: "Are you one of those hipsters that works with their laptop in starbucks?"

I spent the first hour getting settled; I ended up asking for a different room, though not because the hotel isn't amazing, which is really really is. (This is the most well-done hotel I've seen in a long, long time. And I've been in a lot of hotels in a lot of price ranges and cities.) It was that a gaggle of twenty-something women were boisterously fussing around in their room, which was adjoined to mine. I figured, if they're that loud at 3pm, I don't want to be near them at 11pm. Anyway, the hotel staff kindly and efficiently moved me, and I've been settled in for a while now.

Then, after unpacking, I did something wild: I went through my entire inbox. And I got it down to 28 emails.

Maybe you have to be as busy a person as I am to understand what sweet heaven this is; but I tell you, if I accomplish just that, plus a good eyebrow tweezing tonight, this trip will be a stellar success in my eyes.

K, I'm off to do something more fun. I don't know what yet. But that's all you get for now.

I'm at Coasters in the Byward Market. I actually really like this restaurant, but I'm having a hard time. I got here and when the host said, "Hi, how are you this evening?" I panicked and said, "Just me." I guess that could have been an answer to the question... "I'm just me tonight, nothing more." Which is still a better answer than, "Fine," which sounds like, "I'm fiiine to look at," or something. Anyway, the host gave me a funny look, then clued in and was actually really congenial, saying that that was a great number and why didn't more people come on their own because it was really easy to seat one. 

Then he gave me a menu and disappeared. And no one else reappeared. I am pretty sure they thought I was waiting for a guest.

Ten minutes later, I waved down a busgirl and asked if someone would take my order. She's now scrambling around for me, getting confused and asking if I want dessert. We eventually figured out that she meant a drink.

My food eventually showed up and now I've devoured the entire plate--a rarity for me, but man was it good--and now I'm in that happy ten minute period where I love everyone here because they stopped the hypoglycemia and fed me something delicious. Fifteen minutes from now, when I realize how full I am, I will have a mild sense of resentment towards these people for giving me the tools with which to gluttonize myself. Yes, I just invented a word: gluttonize.

I couldn't blog anymore last night because my hands were covered in various lotions and potions as I gave my feet and face some much-needed TLC. Also I wanted to focus on the quiet time. But it was great. I did my nails (albeit in my usual 'it looks like you did these in a moving vehicle' fashion), and put on a pineapple mud mask from Log House Perennials (a vendor at the Ottawa Farmer's Market), did a bit of yoga, and watched a bunch of Gilmore Girls episodes. I eventually had to admit my day was over, so I crawled into the giant bed, and woke up buried in a sea of cushy pillows. Fantastic. 

My time alone continues 'til about noon, so off I go for a little more. 

I had such a fantastic solo-cation. This was my first all-out downtime since my separation, and the first time I'd done something so absolutely self-indulgent in...well, maybe years. When I was engaged to be married, I'd been asked what I wanted to do for my bachelorette party, and I'd said, "I want to stay in a hotel for a night, completely alone, and by myself." My request was voted down by everyone as being anti-social and sort of sad. But I'd been about to embark on a long-term commitment where I'd always have a travelling companion, a bedmate, a housemate, and a person to answer to. I dropped the suggestion but never forgot the idea; and when we separated, I began thinking about it again. 

Whether you're engaged, single, married, widowed, or the parent of five screaming quintuplets, I recommend you try something like this for yourself. Choose a place you're going to enjoy staying--I can genuinely recommend the Hotel Indigo Ottawa after staying there myself--not just some $50-a-night motel. Be good to yourself, bring your favourite snacks, and prepare yourself for the guilt that will eventually creep in when you realize you're having a fabulous time when no one else maybe is. I left Alan with a flu-ridden two year-old to go on this adventure, and I'm so glad I did because I came home refreshed and dealt with her myself for two more days after that. Sometimes we don't know how badly we need a break until we take one; and after a certain age, once you get used to sitting in a cramped open-concept office all day, then going home to a place full of family or roommates, you forget what an elixir solitude can be. 

When I saw Alan the next day, he looked at my refreshed face and said, "We should make this an annual thing." He could see how much more focused I was and better in touch with myself than I'd been in months. Also, he's just a wonderful human and would do anything to make me happy. I'm pretty blessed.

But truly, friends: for yourself or for a loved one, I recommend a night or two away. Mother's Day is coming; consider putting Mom up for the night. Same with Dad in June. Or don't wait for an excuse at all: pack up your favourite book, some bath salts, and head out tonight. Do it midweek and return to work renewed. Do it 'cuz it's raining and the rain makes you introspective. Just do it for yourself. I am so grateful for the time and it was tons of fun to blog about.

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