March 11, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

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Last Saturday I squeezed ten mostly unrelated friends into my tiny studio apartment. They drank my drinks, they annoyingly touched my things, the usual. But as they sat on my bed, my desk, my counter and a rogue table which usually holds up several tons of not-quite-dirty clothes from the abyss of the floor, they complained about the lack of ergonomically correct devices they referred to as “chairs.”
Aside from the lack of seating apparati, these boys and girls were preoccupied with several other missing items from my apartment. Things like cups. As they portrayed it, cups often are correlated to the success of a party or a pre-game. Mostly these high-maintenance 20-somethings were horrified to realize that I no longer have any pillows. Well, in moving from the house where I was living last semester to the studio in which I currently reside, my pillows got lost in the shuffle. I’ve been using a throw pillow made of cement and a husband pillow made of asphalt. I had one other, more comfortable throw pillow but it fell into the crevice between my bed and the wall two weeks ago and hasn’t been heard from since.
Actually, upon further consideration, perhaps the thing that most horrified everyone was that without having felt the need for a toaster, I have become accustomed to eating frozen waffles in their naturally frozen state, especially but not limited to at gatherings such as that one.
For the last eight years of my life, I’ve packed up my stuff every one to seven months and moved. I lived in four different dorm rooms in high school, four different residences/dorms during summers, and five different dorms/apartments/houses in college. What’s the point of getting used to any semblance of permanence via things like non-plastic cutlery and bedding from fancy places like Target? All I need is a nice two-ply toilet paper and I’m set no matter where I am.
As of three weeks ago, though, my itinérance turned into full-fledged homelessness. This process began on Aug. 13, 2007, the day I turned 20. My parents took me out to a nice Indian fusion restaurant in Palo Alto, and that’s when they told me they were demolishing the only home I’ve ever known and depended on. Well, they didn’t so much tell me, per se. The dessert with the candle in it came to the table and my mom wouldn’t let me blow it out until she readied her camera. The memory card was full though with pictures of the interiors and exteriors of suspicious houses. So as the wax dripped into my complimentary birthday Vermicelli Payasam, my parents were forced to admit that they were knocking down the house and that I “should find somewhere else to be during winter break and next summer.” And then I cried. And then she took my picture.
I grew up at 22 Flood Circle in Atherton, CA. I have lived through several incarnations of our mailbox. At one point my grandfather fashioned a wooden duck mailbox, which would even make a clucking noise. The clucking coming from the rocks that neighborhood hooligans pelted at Marvin every day. My room looks / looked exactly the same as the day I left it when I was 14. Well, excepting the fact that my father put his treadmill into my room — even despite the fact that my brother and sister now permanently reside in San Francisco and Oakland. So essentially, I’m the only one who even lays a legitimate claim to live in that house anymore, yet my dad chose to leave my siblings rooms intact. But the remnants of my brother’s boogers are still on the wallpaper in his old bedroom, and that really means something to me.
At the beginning, there were just phone calls that couldn’t be answered because my parents were “meeting with Roger.” Roger the architect. Roger the favorite, would-be adopted middle-aged son. Stupid ass architect Roger, bane of my existence. Then I came home for Thanksgiving and there were piles of dirt. My parents, presumably stupid ass Roger and several others who I can only assume were elves, made the process of fork-lifting tons of dirt from one part of my side-yard to some other part of my backyard (and vice versa) take as long as possible. The worst was when they moved my bench. I woke up one morning this January and my bench with the special path near where the hydrangeas also should have been was gone. My mom said they just moved it. Uhh, don’t you remember why that bench was there, mom? That’s where we buried Patches. You probably just dug up the remains of my dead cat and moved her to a different part of our backyard. Hopefully intact.
As all of my friends continue to discuss and or freak out about where they will be next year, I don’t. I know where I’ll be: not at home. Because it doesn’t even exist anymore, and neither do the remains of my beloved dead cat. As of now, I have no pillows, no chairs, no toaster: not in Ithaca, and not in California. But what I do have is a handle of vodka, some Charmin, and a whole lotta moxie. I suppose I’ve lived on less.