Recently, a friend told me that his teenage nephew, whom I know on a pleasant acquaintance level, asked him if I was homeless.
I asked my friend what his response to his nephew was and he says, “well, you are, kinda, ‘yeah’?”
I took slight umbrage. I don’t feel or identify myself as homeless. I’m not out on the street corners holding signs, though I’m not exactly a conventional wage earner. I don’t stand in line at the charities shelter but I surf couches and sleep in my car. And, recently, a couple concerned friends did check in with me on my long term goals and intentions. To get a little perspective, I drew up a short list of actions and events of my last year and a half.
At the end I sat back with a kind of “huh, wtf?” feeling. I concede that I do kind of walk and quack like a homeless person. Selling the RV was a dismantling of my house. Finding families with lifestyles better suited for my dog and cat was a scattering of my wee, traveling family. I guess I have been kind of extra-floaty lately.
In my estimation, I am not technically homeless. I think it’s unfair to all those people who actually want a house to call home and struggle to have one. And, what makes a person homeless and what keeps a person homeless are two different things.
For a while now I have pondered my definition of ‘homeless’. For some I think it’s a state of mind, for others a physical situation, and for most a bit of both. I tend to think of homelessness as suffering some kind of disabling displacement or sudden dislodging, being thrust into the swirling, gray shadows of the metropolitan fringe from which escape is a hardship at best. (Assessment too harsh?)
I choose to live and work in ways that get me outside in nature as often as possible. Because of that, I feel at home almost everywhere I go. There are dear friends whose houses I am privileged call Home. Different cities I call Home for different reasons: Chicago is the home of my birth, New Orleans the home of my soul, Minneapolis & St. Paul are my home port.
For me, “Home” is a state of being and Home-less, I am not. (Though I am looking forward to an upgrade my living quarters.)