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    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    by Helene "Boxcar Willy" Gresser

    Being somewhat homeless these past few weeks has been interesting. No, I am not sleeping in a box on a Madison Avenue church step, though, if I were that homeless, I know the church and particular step I would choose to lay my cardboard -- let's just say it's something I have plotted out as a distant possibility, knowing how the past ten years or so has gone for me financially. After the Disaster, which is how I refer to that delightful day in September 2001, I finished one last children's theater tour and hung up my spider costume for good in December of that year -- and then there was no work. I mean NO work around NYC for actors/temps/part-time admins. And then there was shitty work for low pay. And then there was work at a underground poker club. And then a paralegal job that paid well but then the fucking financial CRASH happened and I was out of work again. I have been playing catch-up for almost eleven years, and it has finally become too much. I cannot borrow any more. I cannot maintain my Fortress of Solitude, and I have to put on my big-girl pants and face reality.

    I am going to be renting a room from someone soon, and the thought of paying one-third of what I used to shell out in rent money is a reassuring thought -- but, BUT, it means I have to share my space with a stranger, including the BATHROOM, and that makes my butt cheeks clench in anticipated worry. What if my future roomie needs to fall asleep with the TV blaring "The Wonder Years" at full volume as was my experience with my first rented room in 1993? I mean, the sweet old lady was related to Sigmund and Lucien Freud and was fascinating and served me tea and I had a safe place to lay my head, but I could not have a dude over or get up naked and make myself a peanut butter and jelly sammich at 4 a.m. and wander the apartment while thinking. I like to do that sometimes. It's not sexy, but it's freedom. Having money does not make one happy, it makes one free to have choices.

    Listen, I am actually grateful to have my good health, to have jobs, to be able to eat, and yes, I can go live with my parents if I was truly in need. I have been blessed with amazing love and support from friends and family. I am aware of my need to face reality and live more simply, and I don't have children to put through college or needing braces or new shoes. I can be a gypsy for a while. My burden is light in comparison to many of my friends who are also facing financial crises and health problems. Believe me, my skin is clearer, my posture is straighter, my nervous tics have died down since I had my things moved to storage and bade farewell to my 250 square foot hovel. I feel relief. Actual relief has washed over me, now that the anticipation of doom and gloom has actually passed and the worst (I hope) is over, for now.

    I don't want to have a roomie who needs the bathroom right after I have had a spell in there.

     I don't want to listen to Bette Midler at 3 a.m. with the bass turned way up through my bedroom wall. What if he/she cooks stinky food and leaves the dishes in the sink and has weird friends hanging out and insists on running the air conditioner throughout the winter months when I pay half the electric bill? He might scratch his balls a lot as he walks around in his dirty skivvies and hates my cats and she might leave her brawrs hanging on the shower rod and drink my orange juice from the carton mouth. But I don't buy orange juice anyway, so fuck that worry. Fuck all of it, I'll pay an affordable rent and deal. And then I'll have the freedom to be a gypsy and do things I need to do to keep me sane and nervous-tic-free. I can audition and sell real estate and bartend and live without fear of eviction and housing court and bill collectors. I can sneak smokes outside and maybe stop smoking altogether, since I will fret less. My parents won't be concerned about me like they are now. My friends won't have to buy my drinks and I won't feel like a total schlemiel.

    I am happy. I am dating a nice guy who cooks me dinner and refuses to let me clean up afterwards. I feel like the future is exciting again, because I don't know what part of the city I might be moving to after nine years in the same neighborhood. It's time to change, time to rearrange. And that's alright by me. I'll buy some matches and air freshener for the shared bathroom. I'll adapt. My parents raised me to be strong, to be scrappy, to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. Fuckin' A.


    p.s. what does the "A" stand for in "Fuckin' A" anyway???

  2. 4 comments:

    1. it could be an exciting time. good luck.

    2. Spleen said...

      Thanks for reading!

    3. We should discuss my 11-apartments-in-5-years spell sometime. Out of that time I got two very good friends, so there's that.

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