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My Next New Home: An Essay by cam

Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

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I'll find my next new home tomorrow in a new city, a new state. My practice is to rent a bedroom with kitchen and bathroom privileges. Fancy homes are likely on the agenda along with dumps I wouldn't send a dog into. I won't kid you; It's the ritzy places where I'm the most uncomfortable. Polished floors where a child's toys are not welcome, over-groomed dogs as neurotic as their over groomed owners and lawns that betray a mind obsessed with control are warning signs to me.

On the other end of the spectrum are places I've seen that were still standing, although I was left wondering how that could be. I pulled into the driveway of one such house and before I even got out of my car, I knew wouldn't be moving my possessions inside. Crumbling foundations and rotten siding were easy to spot. Spongy steps led up to a porch that made no promise to support my weight. But I was curious. The photos in the ad were an outright lie.

An old man met me in the driveway. Somehow the slumlord felt good about marketing to a fellow human being this abused structure that he and previous owners had milked dry of every ounce of usefulness and beauty.

The toilet and tub lay uninstalled beside gaping drains. The walls of the entire inside of the house were bare, not just of adornments, but of drywall. The man went to the door of a room which he referred to as mine. A wealthy man might turn me away because he doesn't want my sixteen-year-old Jeep to be seen in his driveway. But it is a whole new level of insult when a man assumes another will agree to live in such squalor.

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But these are two extremes where I would be equally afraid to live. Average, normal, sane people like you and me occupy the middle ground. Our homes show wear in all the right places. Someone drew lines on the kitchen door frame which charted the growth of a son or daughter. The wood floors are scratched from the toenails of a dog who has been accepted as a member of the family.

It's a new city, a new home, a new job, for just a few months. Then I'll do it all again. Friendships begin and end with an abruptness that is slightly jarring. I don't consider relationships to be disposable, but I know when I leave, the co workers and landlords will elbow their way into the shadows of crowded memories.

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Wherever I go, I find ways to spend my spare time. Usually, that involves equipment such as fishing poles, a kayak or canoe, and backpacking gear. Rivers, lakes, canyons, and hiking trails are where you'd have to go to find me.

I have to admit that I've ignored some of the finest museums and famous sites in the land. The St. Louis arch took a back seat to a float down an obscure creek in my canoe. Deer watched from the dense undergrowth of the forest. A beaver slapped her tail on the water to warn me against venturing too near her lodge. Tangled leafy vines grew up the sides of trees, out onto the limbs, and hung down from fifty feet in columns two feet in diameter until they touched the water. Could the art museums match what I had found?

Hanging Vines on Creve Coeur Creek, Near St. Louis, MO

I sit here in a hotel room, fighting off the urge to sleep, anticipating tomorrow when I will begin all of this again. New friends, a new home, a new job. Will I like it? I know I'll like the spare time activities. The home is at least partly up to me. The job is out of my control. It will be what it will be.

I've forgotten what it's like to live in one place, to go to the same job for months and years. What is it like to see the same friends day in and day out, to see family, to fish the same lakes, to hike familiar trails to shop in the same market? It seems the only constant in my existence is me––and you, my literary friends.

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Comments

Ann Carr from SW England on March 29, 2021:

That's a great idea, Chris! I imagine it makes things a lot easier.

Have fun!

Ann

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on March 29, 2021:

Ann, This has been an interesting lifestyle. I love traveling and seeing so much of our country. I do get a bit weary of changing jobs so often and having to readjust every time. One change I made since writing this piece is that I purchased a travel trailer. It is home wherever I park it.

Ann Carr from SW England on March 29, 2021:

Well, I think that takes some courage. I admire you for choosing this sort of life style. It must take you to some wonderful places, like 'creve coeur' - sounds so much better in French!

It is strange how some people live in what is to you or me an unacceptable way, as far as cleanliness and safety go.

May good luck and friendship go with you along the way.

Ann

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on March 28, 2021:

Tina, Thank you for finding me. I welcome you to my collection of writings that stretch from one end of the literary enterprise to the other. I hope you find many things that you enjoy.

Tina Hignite on March 28, 2021:

Beautiful. I’ve just started reading you and am so glad I’m on vacation for the next wee, so that I can jump in with both feet.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 02, 2017:

Billie, Sorry I missed your comment. You are a kayaker too. It is an awesome sport. Love it. Thanks for visiting.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on November 02, 2017:

Lawrence, It is good to see you today. Thanks for reading this essay and for your comment. It is going well here in Billings, Montana. I'll be here at least until December 16 and possibly through the holidays.

Lawrence Hebb on October 31, 2017:

Chris

Hope the new job's going well. Really enjoyed this hub.

Billie Raucci from Illinois on October 17, 2017:

From one kayaker to the next, good luck on your endeavours.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 10, 2017:

Well best wishes to you in your new city....it's not a life everyone would be comfortable with, me included, but it appears you have it down to a science. :)

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