The Very Best Thing About Being Single

Shani Silver
14 min readFeb 24, 2020

Sorry to these couples.

Inside a tiny Parisian elevator for one.

I detest structure. Timed activities, guided tours, classes — I find them stifling. I’d rather be on a treadmill for three hours than in a workout class for 30 minutes. School days felt essentially like eight little prison sentences in a row for an hour at a time. If something has a start and an end, I prefer the end. I don’t even have plans afterward, I just want it to be over. When structure is over, then I’m free.

I don’t like other people being in charge of me, deciding when I do things, when I have to be somewhere, how long I have to stay. Even if the activities are pleasant, I need to know that my decision-making options are always open, and that they belong to me exclusively. I won’t even take the little museum audio guide because I don’t trust it to move at my preferred clip.

In elementary school, every day, I had a two-hour long Hebrew class. I learned the language, yes, but the topics were broader than that. Essentially it was a class on how to be a good jew, and I was stuck in it for two hours a day, at six, seven, eight, and nine years old. As an adult, the only thing I can do for two hours without needing a break or a drink is sleep. Whoever drafted this curriculum for children is, ironically, a Nazi.

Bed in Parisian hotel. I slept in the middle.

I think it’s important to understand what you’re asking of others, to temper your response to them. Even if I hadn’t had the meanest Israeli Hebrew teacher to ever walk the earth, I still would have struggled with maintaining focus for that long. To Cruel Batya, our two hour sessions were totally normal school expectations. One particularly painful day, she caught me straining to see the clock, because she’d recently moved my seat to just out of eye line.

“Why do you need to know what time it is?! Why is it so important to you?! Do you want to leave?! LEAVE!” I was eight.

I was a small, quiet, bespectacled child in dirty white Keds and a school uniform one size too big. I have no idea how I managed not to cry. Perhaps my tear ducts were frozen with fear, much as roadkill are paralyzed the moment before impact.

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