I ran into a friend on a crowded street. My first question in our chit-chat exercise was, “Are you still living on the beach?” Ever since we met seven years earlier he had a beautiful apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Last time I spoke with him he was fretting that he couldn’t afford it.
“I had to move out today, my friend.”
“Where are you living?”
“I am staying in a tent in the backyard of my friend’s house.”
I’d grown tired of dealing with landlords picking on me so my first reaction was, “That’s awesome.”
“No, you don’t understand.” He reiterated for me with each word coming out slower than the one before it. “I… am…. living….. in…. a…… tent!”
It became obvious he was looking for sympathy, so I changed my tone. “That sucks, man. I’m sorry.”
This man was of the school where freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose. I’ve always had a fond place in my heart for being free of a home. Being truly homeless is not something I’d wish on anyone, most especially myself. But there is a certain positive vibe I’ve had when having to rely on others for shelter. Life becomes a lot more interesting when you have no idea where you may rest your head at night. Jack Kerouac would not nearly be as iconic if his first published work was called “Staying at Home”.
I suppose as one gets older society frowns more and more on living a hobo lifestyle. What is charming in your twenties becomes easy to confuse with poverty in your thirties. I imagine if that evening my friend ran into a beautiful women his success rate would not be too high if he ended the conversation with the question of, “My tent or yours?”