It seems that at least 27% of us are living alone in the US. More women than men live alone and that is probably due to the fact that women have longer life spans. You may remember a couple of very popular TV programs centered around living alone in New York City. “Seinfeld” and “Sex and the City” had a huge following and still run in reruns. However, it has become so expensive to live in NYC, living alone is not as popular in 2011.
There is even a New York University sociologist who has written about living solo, as Professor Eric Klinenberg calls it. His book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone will be published by Penguin Press in 2012 and I look forward to reading it.
Probably his most famous book is Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago published by University of Chicago Press in 2002. It is a treatise on the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave. In an article in Slate Magazine he wrote:
“Sept. 11 was an epochal event in American Culture, so it’s no surprise that it’s everyone’s favorite comparison to the destruction of New Orleans. But the more instructive analogy is another great urban catastrophe in recent American history: The 1995 Chicago heat wave, when a blend of extreme weather, political mismanagement, and abandonment of vulnerable city residents resulted in the loss of water, widespread power outages, thousands of hospitalizations, and 739 deaths in a devastating week…”
We are living with global warming and the increase in severe heat is in our future.
In May of this year I moved into a condo/rowhouse. One of the attractions was that I would see my neighbors daily and it made me feel safer. Safety is a definite issue in solo living. This neighborhood has a very low crime rate. Neighbors seem to check on neighbors. The condo association has a neighborhood watch, which really seems to work. This is a two story rowhouse. Sleeping on the top floor makes me feel safer. Of course, I always lock all the windows and doors on the first floor whenever I leave the house and before I go to bed.
We have had a heat wave (for the Northwest) with temperatures in the 90s over the last couple of weeks. Although I don’t have air contitioning, there are many trees shading the house and lots of windows to open when it cools off.
So, if you live alone, be sure that your place is safe.