I have recently taken up residence at the New Jersey shore for the summer (so far I've seen four pieces of shit and three mob informants in the ocean). While my parents and the random relative pop in occasionally, this is really the first time that I've lived on my own. But so far this solitary life has not lived up to the late night parties and Epicurean pleasure fest that I had envisioned. Things are different living on your own than they are either at home or in college. How?

Food
Living at home, there was always something to eat. If it was not magically cooked and placed on the table by what I assume were gnomes, then there was always a stocked fridge with delicious treats for me to feast upon. At college, the cafeteria was open at convenient times and felt free since I paid for it at the beginning of the semester. I could take leisurely meals with a huge variety of dishes (warm, cold, slimy) to choose from. While the cafeteria workers were often unsightly and the food at best sub-par, the intellectually stimulating conversation (i.e., exchanging euphemisms for anal sex like "What can brown do for you?") usually got me through the worst meals. On my own, not only do I have to purchase and cook the food, but I have only my demented mind to keep me company. Trust me, I can only stand so much of myself before I want to jab sharp objects far enough up my nostril to tickle my brain and alter my childhood memories. I can't cook either, so the Hungry Man dinners I purchase usually end with Disappointed Man results. Pretty soon I expect to be competing with the seagulls for scraps of funnel cake.


Cleaning
At home, the same magical gnomes who usually prepared dinner also cleaned up most of the house. At college I only had to clean my own small area, since a well-intentioned yet mildly retarded staff usually cleaned the hallways and bathrooms, using their own drool as mop water. When I lived in an apartment in my wilder times, I just had to engage in bitter disputes over who forgot to pretend to water the fake plants or whose girlfriend left their diaphragm drying by the sink. On my own I have to clean everything myself, which really isn't that bad. I mean, gross messes aren't as repulsive when you know that the pubic hair dust bunny is made of your own strays. The main problem is the desire to just not give a shit and let the place go, but if you plan to entertain at least you have a small impetus to clean.

Noise
Noise is always a problem when at home. My parents both had careers that required them to wake up at dark hours of the morning which I usually reserved for drunken snores. The noise had to be kept to a minimum after about 10 o'clock. This means no music, no loud television and what I call "quiet sex." Quiet sex involves silent dirty talk and muffled cries of ecstasy, so I had to turn down the volume on my computer speakers when Jenna Jameson really got into it. In college, noise was usually not an issue as long as I didn't have douchebag neighbors. I could choose to either turn in at an early hour and ignore the noise or blast/dance to "Jump On It" at three in the morning. On your own, it's great. I can watch the four AM Sportscenter as loud as I want and sing along to Broadway show tunes without having guys either threaten to beat me up or ask me on dates.

Masturbation
This varies depending on your living situation at home. If you share a room with a brother, sister or grandmother, this can be something of a chore. Most people have their own rooms, though, and only have to worry that their Swedish penis pump or gigantic vibrator doesn't malfunction and force you to cry out and wake the family. For me, I was lucky enough to have my own room and thus ample opportunity to spank it. In college, masturbation becomes an art form. You have to learn your roommate's class schedule and secluded spots on campus to be able to get a full uninterrupted chance to shake hands with your downstairs neighbor. But in a way, the excitement of getting caught made it thrilling, and the difficulty of finding the right moment made each experience special. On my own, I could stop in the middle of this sentence and whack off (not a bad idea, I'll be right back) and return (after wiping off the keyboard) if I wanted to, and it really takes out some of the romance. I've found that cooking myself a nice dinner by candle light, putting on some romantic music, dimming the lights and gently rubbing myself down with exotic oils does a little to infuse some romance back into the whole process, but that still it isn't the same.

All in all, each situation has its own positive and negative sides. While I don't know which one is ideal, I do know that now is another perfect time to rub one out.