Death to the Single Supplement

SPOILER ALERT: I’m single. I’ve been single for quite some time – happily so, I might add. But there are occasions when being single is a real drag. Case in point is the single supplement, an innocuous term for a rather painful levy for those traveling solo. This has never made sense to me since standard rates for most hotel rooms is for up to two people. Oddly, however, if you join a tour group or attend a conference, and accommodation is at that same hotel, you’ll find a hidden little checkbox somewhere that notifies you’ll need to pay extra if you want a single room.

If the single supplement is minimal, I’m inclined to pay it without much consideration. After all, the last thing I want is to spend a lot of money on a holiday I’m excited about only to have it (potentially) ruined because I get paired with someone who’s incompatible. Sometimes, however, the supplement is egregious. I recently signed up for a four-day workshop that runs around $1650. The single supplement was – wait for it – an additional $900!! Raise your hand if you think that might be a bit out of bounds? Go ahead. Let me get a good head count. Aah, yes, you see the absurdity too. So, an event that already costs a little over $400 per day, becomes over $600 per day just because I want to fly solo.

Somehow I’ve morphed into a person and a half. That’s a little hard to make sense of. I’m not going to eat for one and a half people, although it must be said that I’ve been known to do this on occasion…I’m not going to take up more space in the workshop, nor am I guaranteed of walking away with one and a half person’s worth of knowledge. It seems it has to come down to the accommodations, in which case I can only surmise that a butler is included or that singles are paying for all those extra high-end toiletries. Payback for all those times I’ve pilfered the shampoo and soaps.

You can see this same kind of foolishness with certain memberships. Gyms are famous for it. Join a gym by yourself, and perhaps it costs $50/month. But find a partner and maybe you’ll pay $75 or $80. Add on some kids for even less. The next thing you know, a family of five is paying the equivalent of $25 or $30 per person.

Many, many years ago, a male friend and I pretended to be part of a loving couple just to get a reasonable rate at our local gym. There was no requirement for couples to be married, but the illusion of togetherness was imperative. We were being penalized for being uncoupled, so we decided to game the system. Things worked well for about three years, and then, even that relationship, died on the vine when my friend moved to another town and joined a new gym with a new fake partner.

The single supplement isn’t going to stop me from traveling solo or from joining the gym, but have a heart, people. Perhaps your time would be better spent finding me a suitable mate instead of creating new ways to gouge both my wallet and my heart.

Don’t even get me started on taxes…


Can Happiness Be Found Between the Sheets?

A little over three years ago, I started this blog as a way to familiarize myself with WordPress on behalf of a client. After three posts in the course of a quarter, it was clear that my commitment was low. I learned what I needed to for the client, completed the project on time, and moved on to the next thing. I kept writing. I just didn’t do it in a public forum.

So, we’ll consider this my blog reboot, a reinvention, a 2.0 of sorts.

I’m not the kind of person who can do the same thing day in and day out, so I’ll set the expectation now that, while I certainly intend to post more than three blogs a quarter, a daily reflection just isn’t going to happen. I quite envy people who are consistent, can commit to a routine. I have about a three-day maximum and then I start looking for a variation on the theme.  This can make it difficult to cultivate new habits or eliminate bad ones. I tried a little experiment recently to test my resolve in such matters.

I was listening to Happier, a relatively new podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft. They were talking about habits that can improve happiness and mentioned that making the bed daily is one of the simplest and best ways. I can’t say I was immediately convinced, but it sure did seem simple enough. Silly not to try.

And why wasn’t I already making my bed everyday? Well, you have to understand that I was raised in a home where beds were made or heads rolled. Meals were withheld, hugs were rationed, privileges were lost. That might be an exaggeration, but between my mother and my two grandmothers, there was no doubt that good kids made beds, bad kids didn’t. I complied as a child since there was little choice. Even through college and my early twenties, I stayed true to the requirement. And then one day, I seemed to fully-embrace the idea of adulthood. Adulthood doesn’t offer as many gifts and choices as children think, but one thing was abundantly clear: I didn’t have to make my damn bed if I didn’t want to.

In one of my few rebellious acts, I stopped making my bed everyday. Occasionally I would pull up the covers to create the impression of straightness. Other times I would make it, but not arrange the pillows. I often made it right before I got in to bed. Don’t ask. That’s crazy, right? I was fighting against my natural preference for a made bed and my equally natural desire to want to do things my way. Mine, mine, mine. What a completely inconsequential way to assert my independence, not to mention the fact that the rebellion, far too late and far too private, did little to make its mark. It represented a freedom that I didn’t even want.

So, I had absolutely nothing to lose by going back to being a bed maker. I’ve been faithful to the task now for five weeks or so. I wanted to do it for two reasons. The first was that I wanted to show myself I was still capable of change, even in its most mundane form. Making the bed each day served a larger purpose of convincing myself that I could put my mind to doing something consistently and not abandon it the minute it became inconvenient or uninteresting. The second reason actually had to do with the bed. Seeing the bed made each morning was like setting an intention in yoga class. It was my sign that I was ready for the day, that I was diving in to the day with purpose and focus. It acted as a form of renewable energy. No matter what else happens during the day, I know I have that one moment, and I can have that moment the next day too. Is it happiness? I’m not so sure about that, but whatever label it goes by, I like it.

Now that I’ve mastered the bed, who knows what could happen next!