Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Got Around A Lot When I Was Younger

I had pretty much the normal upbringing. A different school every 1.375 years, a new house every .65 years. Fourteen cities, six states, all before I graduated high school. My entire life had to fit into one suitcase, one box, and one wardrobe. When my parents sold my bedroom furniture, I found seven stickers from various moving companies on the back. While moving that much was a bit excessive even for military, everyone I knew moved house at least every couple years.

Then I met this girl. Let's call her Sarah, because her name was Sarah. We didn't have much in common - she being a girl through and through, and me bring female but in no way a girl - but we lived in a rural area where there were maybe twenty houses in a three mile radius, so we were friends of geographic convenience. However, there was something about her that I thought was fascinating. Sarah had a hometown. She had been going to school with the same people (give or take a few transients like me) since kindergarten. During the summer, her family went on vacation and CAME BACK TO THE SAME HOUSE THEY'D LEFT. Weird. Just weird. And the strange thing was that her family lived that way right in front of other people and didn't care who knew it. Sarah was an exotic.

I didn't talk about the things I'd picked up over at Sarah's house. Some things you can never share with your family, because you know they'll never understand. But even after we moved away, I continued to be "permanent resident-curious."

Oh, my parents had their suspicions. During the middle of my senior year in high school, mom decided on a whim to move me in a different school. Imagine my parent's shock and anger when I refused to go. I wasn't acting like the daughter they thought they knew - the one who could get herself enrolled in any middle school in the country in less then two hours and never once (twice, maybe three times, but never just once) complained about it.

I kept my growing interest in the permanent resident lifestyle cleverly hidden by attending several colleges in different states. My parents never suspected all that time I dreamed of never again having to fill out a mail forwarding card.

Then, I met R. R was a permanent resident lifestyler. Hardcore. Had only ever lived in one house. Went to only two schools (three if you count college), and the high school was right across the street from his elementary school. He knew the names of all the streets in his neighborhood. He could tell you when there used to be a dairy farm down the road. Get this - he even knew his cousins, grandmothers, aunts and uncles.

I never could resist the freaky guys.

While R gamely tried the vagabond life for a while, there was no use trying to hide his leanings. Sure, he and I moved a bit for appearances, but every time we packed our stuff, we hoped it was the last. The lure of his lifestyle had me in its grip. I know my parents were disappointed, but what could I do? I'd been seduced by the promise that I could paint my bedroom some other color than white, and that I could see something I planted bloom the next year.

No longer merely curious, I openly live as a permanent resident now. Sure, I still don't know the names of my neighbors, and couldn't tell you my phone number if my life depended on it, but the great thing about these alternate lifestyles is that you can take them at your own speed. Who knows? By the time I'm sixty, I might even work up the courage to hang a picture on the wall. 'Cause as long as we're consenting adults and aren't hurting anyone, why shouldn't we live how we want to?


  1. Kathleen,

    Are you sure you're really comfortable with this alternate lifestyle of yours?

    I'm sure there's something in the bible that says that being a permanent resident is either immoral or a sin. I can't remember the exact passage but it does sound like a sin to me. I shall pray for you.

    And, more seriously, great post ;-)



  2. Hi, Kathleen,

    A fascinating take on the week's topic!

    When you introduced Sarah, I was expecting something quite different. But you know my mind... ;^)


  3. Ashley - I'm sure Leviticus has something to say about it. Probably about stoning anyone who doesn't move their sheep to a new pasture every season, but that's truly the least of my sins, for I have worn pleather.

    Lisabet - Sarah so wasn't my type. ;)

  4. Hi Kathleen

    I can relate to this. My Dad was out of the Nacy when I was growing up, but as he moved up the photojournalism ladder we moved around like crazy. Then there was the religious life I joined for awhile where I moved even more, and I've still been moving. Up until now, I'm not kidding, I have never lived more than five years in the same place. I'm getting up near the five year mark now and I'm waiting to see if I can break the record.



  5. Garce -
    It's hard to kick the habit of just packing up and walking away when a place gets on your nerves.

  6. Great post. I'll be waiting to see that picture hung--somewhere.



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