The Predicaments of Stability
Over the years, I’ve started to notice a few patterns about myself that have begun to surface and grow under warmth of the loving incubator that is my tedious grip on sanity, and into the wildly unpopular and questionable habits that they are now. While my penchant for strong drink and weak men has notably swelled into a great, whiskey-fuelled monster over which I have little control, as is my need to be constantly moving, the more pressing pattern as of this moment is my distaste for living in a traditional house, or having a job where I must be sedentary. They make me feel trapped. But also, having no income and options is as much a prison as the very real single, bed-less cell they keep putting me in for indecent exposure.
So where is the compromise between necessity and pleasure? Besides the drunk and disorderly arrests and a number of unpaid fines, am I not a free woman? Free to shed the shackles of my oppressor? Is this not the 21st century, as I just confirmed with Google? Of course this isn’t the first time the idea has crept its way into my very impressionable and dishevelled head. Over the years that I’ve spent vagabonding, I find myself pursuing housing alternatives wherever I am, building a shelter on a deserted Greek island near a hermit who I suspect killed a man, hopping on board with the circus until I realised there is a very, very real reason those people are doing what they are doing, living in a squat with some French ketamine junkies in Barcelona, residing on a boat in the docks of Vancouver, and on one occasion, building a house in the woods where I lived for three months alongside an army of naked gay men and, in a disturbing sequence of events, got my foot masturbated on.
But the thing with all of these endeavors is that they all had to end in moving back into a house and a job to once again have enough money to be doing what I want – a glorified tree-shelter with bamboo walls and something called “the fairy room” is not suited for the monsoon rains that would inevitably come. Also I wouldn’t really consider myself a hippie: they wouldn’t come near me with a ten-foot organic dreadlock rope reeking of patchouli. I’m not ready to give it all up and live forever in a forest somewhere, growing out my vag hair and making free love to the same nine people for the rest of my life. I’m a mover, a shaker, and one of my favourite pastimes is drinking scotch and luring men in suits into my web of perversion. That just won’t work when I’m wearing a dress of banana peels and poorly constructed shoes out of a squirrels dick. We’ve all tried.
So the conclusion is that I’m somewhere in the middle. As many of my past landlords and employers can attest, I really don’t have a stable place in the “working-class” layer of our society, though I may be able to hold my own for a few months at a time, and I’m not yet a raving lunatic on the street, though there will be a time and a place for that as well. I enjoy some finer things, good scotch, well-made coffee, pretty shoes and dresses, wine. But on the other side of the coin, I have no issue with swilling Greek moonshine with a hermit named Dimitri in an abandoned monastery, watching him kill an octopus with his bare hands. Or drinking box after .69 euro cent box of wine that is possibly making me go blind, wearing garbage bags as a jacket. This is the eternal predicament.
All this meandering came to the inevitable conclusion that I was hungry. And I needed a drink. So three cold hotdogs and several cans of Palm Bay later, I found myself violently ripping out the seats and carpeting of my 1986 Toyota van and deciding I would be making a permanent home there instead. With no knowledge of how to build this or make it a reasonable sleeping and living device, I obviously went and bought laminate flooring and insulation, and some bright yellow sun umbrella covering. And to town I went. Because, ladies and gentleman, the proverbial “town” in this situation is finding the middle ground between being a filthy, shocking vagrant, and wanting to bone guys in suits. And that middle ground is a 1986 Toyota van decorated in bright yellow sun umbrella material. So while enjoying the spoils of employment until they have filled my gold purses, I can go park somewhere beautiful every night, and wake up on the ocean, or on a mountain, play ukulele and drink camp coffee before giving myself a crude whore’s bath in a McDonald’s on my way to work. It’s the perfect compromise.
Cover by Silvio Bergamo