I move in on Monday. I can’t have the keys until 4.30pm, so have no idea how I will move my stuff, as the van can’t get there that late. It is only a few blocks, so I might just carry some stuff over, or get a taxi with part of it. I don’t have that much to move. The sum of my middle aged life adds up to two suitcases, a few blankets and pillows, some books, my guitar, and some pantry supplies. I travel light, and have not stopped travelling for many years now.
I almost don’t dare to trust the apartment. I looked longingly at a pretty lamp and thought how lugging that around the universe is never going to work. I almost bought a little incense holder, some aloewood incense and a small rolling tray for rolling my joints on. I am not saying it is a life-goal of mine to get David Crosby to review my joint rolling skills on twitter, but I know I could impress him. I am the past mistress of the multi-papered doobie. One cannot work with inferior materials. The latest weed I got is all stems and seeds. It cracks and pops like the famous cereal when you light it up. It won’t impress David. Oh to smoke a joint sitting on the window seat, and blowing smoke rings into the night air! Of course I then get panicked. What if the neighbors get mad at the smell? I’m hardly smoking like it’s 1999, but I don’t want to be THAT new neighbor.
I sit here worried about how to tell people to take their shoes off in my house. Years in Japan have made me wince every time someone walks into an indoor space in outdoor shoes. Even delivery men and tradespeople take their shoes off inside apartments when they visit. I am sitting here vaguely concerned about not getting a bed there for the first night since I can’t have the keys till so late. I really should have some extra keys cut: I haven ‘t had a key to a door in over 7 years. I am terrified of getting locked out.
Today I wish I could go and buy bedding and doormats like a real person. I wish I could go and get pots and pans and baking trays and mixing bowls. I can’t. I am frozen. I have The Fear. I don’t dare tempt Fate. What if they take it all away from me? Until they keys are in my hand, and the Boy and me are sitting in there alone together, everyone else involved gone away, I won’t be able to breathe. Even then, I don’t trust the subsidy provider to pay, the universe to get antsy and try and take it all away from me. I don’t feel like I can ever have a place that is truly mine and absolutely safe and stable.
I did consider the fact that the damage of being homeless now runs so deep I might never be able to truly trust living in a place of my own. I tend to feel restrained within four walls, as if I am slowly dying, the life squeezed out of me by the roof and windows and the door that separates me from the world outside.
I used to have a metal sign, someone had painted “standing on the corner” onto a piece of scrap and artfully drawn trees and roads, streets and big straw hats, dior shoes and New York brownstones onto it. It might even have had $26 dollars in a hand, and three flights of stairs. A tribute to The Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for My Man”. It cost me 95c and a joint. I loved that thing, hardly objet d’art but pleasing none the less. Standing on the corners of the ‘Loin is where you will find me, even if I currently have a place to go which is sort of mine, at the largess of others. I am aware, one wrong move, one lack of submissive gratitude, a seeming lack of appreciation, or understanding of my position in life under the toilet scrubbers, the street cleaners, the homeless housing workers and the rent boy fuckers and suckers, and it will all disappear in the mirage of safety that it currently exists as.
I am never safe. I am never settled. My non negotiables of my being allowed to stay with my son in my beloved America are constantly under threat. So, I will walk up to my new house on Monday, guitar on my back, my Boy putting a protective arm around me, take the keys and wonder about camping out in my own living room in a sleeping bag and bed roll. Gotta be able to keep on running. Gotta be able to keep on moving. I just hope I am allowed to stop a while and smell the incense burning in my own space.
Four days to go until I can make my own lunch without hiding it!