Crazy D and I have this hobo-lifestyle in common, though my version is much more pedestrian than his. Living in the UK, one is easily able to rent a furnished flat, so one doesn’t need to have a lot of belongings which is good for me because I don’t. Or, well, I do, but they’re all in The Mom’s basement, or at least the books are, the other items, the pots and pans, sofas and chairs, have, I do believe, been farmed out to any and all takers. I would complain but seeing as I rent and never know which city I’ll be living in from year to year, really having few things to my name suits me at the moment.
I suspect Crazy D enjoys what the life of a hobo has to offer. Namely, if you don’t like this place, it’s easy enough to find another. At one of my lower ebbs of flat hunting in London, where people are so desperate to find a place to live they are not only sharing houses with total strangers, but also bedrooms. Yes, that’s right. I’d say it’s the only affordable option, but it’s not – affordable that is. Finding a place to live in London is grim on the best of days, but it’s getting worse. Anyhow, at some point or another when I was considering living in a box under London Bridge (good transport links, Borough Market just next door, river views) I learned about this thing they have. You can become the guardian of a building that’s empty. It can be anything, old firehall, terraced mansion, office block, whatever, it doesn’t matter. You pay the bar minimum in rent, and sometimes there are other people living there too, being guardians. It’s sort of like a modern day hippie commune I guess. I was considering this as a very viable option until I learned that you sometimes get only two weeks’ notice to move out and I can only bear flat hunting so often.
I can no longer keep up with Crazy D’s comings and goings, and find it doesn’t matter so much because wherever he is, he’s only a text away. I take great delight in texting him out of the blue, just to ask where he is. Sometimes you get a really interesting answer: about to board plane, which is so cryptic it’ll give me something to puzzle about for days. Othertimes it’s more banal like, at the kitchen table. He’s loathe to give actual city names, counties or countries for reasons known only to himself, but I kind of like it that way. Knowing he’s in, say, France or Mumbai doesn’t tell me that much about how things are going, but you know, it’s nice to know he’s eating breakfast, or sleeping on a plane again. It’s sort of the modern day version of Where’s Waldo, except with text messaging.
There was the time last summer when he went on an epic bike ride, and we all got an email each morning saying he was tired and happy. It gave us his GPS coordinates, should we have to send in help of some more useful variety.
I don’t have GPS coordinates myself, but I find myself coming and going more frequently of late, and sometimes The Mom struggles to keep up. I’ll get emails asking me how my weekend in London is going and have to reply that I’m not in London, but rather Glasgow, or Bordeaux, or some such.
Lately, the artist and I have been considering taking the nomadic lifestyle up a notch. We’ve done a bit of gallivanting of late, and it suits us. I’m happy as long as there’s coffee and Wifi, and he’s happy as long as there’s wine and good light. We’re not usually that easy to please, but the sense of adventure goes a long way in making places attractive.
Funny thing is, I’ve sort of always imagined this life for myself. I’d have, say, a flat in London, someone else would have a country house in Italy, there’d be a studio in New York, and various apartments of friends and friends of friends where one could just rock up and take up a month’s residency. You’d never get bored that way. I mean, you’d get tired of all the dealing with airports, and I’m fairly certain there would be a moment where I simply abandoned my case by the side of the road, but still. There’s something nice about wandering around, getting used to a new place and then moving on before it becomes tedious. It could, of course, be a symptom of modern life. Of our collective inability to choose facing so much choice.
And there is part of me that loves the idea of having just the one home to go back to. The one true home. The starting point and the ending point, which is, and always will be, The Mom’s blue house. For some reason, I don’t find that house tedious. I mean there are days of tedium, and living there for endless stretches of time does wear thin after a while, but I find, possibly like Crazy D, that after I’ve gone out, been to a few places, slept in some strange beds, that there is something truly lovely about coming home.