Monday, October 8, 2012

The story of how I became a hobo, then not a hobo, then a hobo again

Every year a brand new flush of 20 year olds dance out into the night to celebrate their 21st birthdays at alcoholic raves with their VIP rooms and...and basements with...strobe lights and confetti cannons...

Okay, so I don't actually know what people normally do for their 21st birthdays.

For my 21st, I flopped around the attic of a creepy haunted house drinking rum and texting nonsense words to my friend Laura.

But this isn't a story of how I have no idea what social norms are.

No. This is the story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down.

This is the story of how I was homeless.


But I'm getting ahead of myself. To understand the story, we'll need to go back a little. Back to:

For my interested public that doesn't know, last year I studied in France for 9 months. Since I was in France for so long, it's safe to say I wasn't in the United States.

While I was off frolicking into the sunset with Jean-Claude and his pencil stache*, I was relying almost exclusively on my roommates back home to set up our living arrangements for the fall. That's totally reasonable, right? LITERALLY EVERYBODY DOES IT.

(*should be changed to "off smearing nutella on foods you don't normally smear nutella on")

Long section of the story short, that didn't happen for a reeeally long time. It actually wasn't until I was back in the states in JULY that my roommate Sarah informed me that she had found a house!

Fast forward to:
All of my most valuable possessions in tow, my mom and I arrived in Knoxville a little after my other roommate McCall (who had been studying in Brazil). Right away something wasn't right.

The house looked...sleepy. Like me whenever I have a paper due. A little bit loopy. A little bit grimy. We approached the creaking facade with trepidation; the half-mowed lawn revealing a treasure-trove of misplaced toys and tree stumps once hidden by 3 feet of grass.

Inside was no better. Significantly weirder, but no better.

Society tells us that this behavior is compartmentalized under "crazy." But what society doesn't account for is that when every popcorn on your popcorn ceiling is connected by one very large dangly black cobweb, YOU SWEEP, DAMMIT. YOU SWEEP UNTIL YOUR ARMS FALL OFF AND THEN YOU WIGGLE AROUND TIL THEY GROW BACK AND YOU SWEEP AGAIN.

But the overhead spider suburb was the least of our worries. There was black mold in the bathroom; a gaping hole in my window, leaving me exposed to the elements and also murder; a very adorable baby plant growing into the kitchen; fun noodles, a stuffed tiger, a Jesus portrait, a syringe, a spidery lamp, and a greasy hot-cold pack scattered willy-nilly about the house.

Sidenote: McCall's upstairs room was accessible through a floor door that had been sawed in half with 2 red handprints scraping down the underside.

Conclusion: something would kill us eventually.

And our parents left us there. Because they love us so much.

But we had high hopes. I mean this house had so much potential! Such high ceilings! Such wooden floors! Such walls! We would stay strong.

So for the next 48 hours, we cleaned.

Even one of my best friends from high school came up to celebrate my 21st birthday, and we put her to work.

We scrubbed, we swept, we held our breath when we showered. Everything was fine, it was fine, IT WAS FINE. EVERYTHING WAS FINE.

Well, everything was fine.
It was a Sunday. I remember because it was my birthday.

We went to introduce ourselves to the upstairs neighbors and ask if they wanted to share wifi. That's neighborly.

The girl seemed nice. She seemed confused. She asked us who we were renting the house from.

OH, you mean the creepy landlord guy who'll only talk to Sarah and only over email? That landlord? The one who only left us one key out in the very open very public mailbox? That one? Yeah, he's ours. Shh shh, it's fine, it's fine.

Mhmm...okaaay. Alright well, I'm pretty sure that 'upon' isn't supposed to be there. But you lost me on that first part. 'Forecloooosed?' McCall? Do you--you don't know what it means either? Okay, well, it sounds serious. Let's just make sympathetic agreeing noises.


I'm sorry, what?

I went into panic mode.

I was alone. My life was an abyss of nothing swallowed in darkness. Nothing would ever be right again. Nothing would ever be the same. We'd be kicked out of our home. We'd have to live on the streets and feed off the scrappings of homeowners. I've never been very good at scavenging. Oh well, who needs to eat anyway? It's not like life is important. I'll just lie here. Tell the next predatory bird that passes through that I'm ready to die.

Yeah, so while that was happening, McCall (bless her little Aryan heart), pretty much took the reins on this one. She used the internet from my iPhone (thank Jobs I just got one of those), and set up 5 house visits in 36 hours.

Because she's awesome.

And I'm completely and totally useless.

But that night was the scariest of all the nights. After seeing 2 houses, we had to venture back to the haunted house to sleep. The problems were getting worse. The holes in the walls, the mouse poop in our food, the spiders in my nightmares--it was too much.

We met Coco. She showed us a wonderfully nondescript house with lavender walls and no foreclosure.  We knew almost immediately that this was where we wanted to spend the rest of our lives, or at least the rest of the night.

We met back up with Coco to sign the lease. I wrote a lumpy check for the rent. We then ran as fast as we could back to the haunted house, grabbed as much stuff as we could carry, leashed the dog, ran by a bank, withdrew $400, and sped over to the new house.

We pulled up real creepy behind Coco, flashed our lights, slipped her the cash, and got our keys to our brand new house with no power. But WHO FREAKING CARES? There's something about the transition from squatting in a house to living in one that is very refreshing. 

We laid out a sleeping bag in the largest room, conserved our 2 flush quota, and slept soundly in the darkness that is our adulthood.

The next day we strapped our mattresses to the roof of the car, realized the doors were strapped shut, climbed through the windows, and set off the car alarm--all under the watchful gaze of some not-so-strapping construction men across the street.

But we didn't care.

We had done it.

Or rather, McCall had done it. She passed my first test of adulthood. It was truly an honor to rock back and forth next to her, watching her flex her grown-up muscles and solve a real-world problem.

Oh and one other thing.

Stacey Campfield is our new landlord.


No comments:

Creative Commons License
Blogging Molly by Molly Kessler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License