Friday, September 12, 2008
I moved into my current residence in December 1999. At that time, I had only just finished two and a half months of backpacking and riding the Eurail system through many different lands in western and central Europe and Scandinavia.
I found this house, in the Hawthorne district of southeast Portland, and snapped it right up. This is a fantastic corner of a great little city, and I felt very fortunate to land a residence right in the heart of it.
I was divorced and alone (apart from my two cats, Hannah and Roxanne) when I bought this house. I had a good circle of friends, but I wanted to be immersed in people all the time; I was afraid of loneliness and solitude. And besides, the house was too big for just myself and the cats. So, I sought out roommates.
Well, in the 9 years since I have lived here, there has been a steady stream of roommates that have come through this house. It's been an eclectic mix of people, from beautiful and kind Satoe, the Japanese woman who could never understand why I thought the show "Seinfeld" was funny, to a hip and handsome Lothario, to a startlingly naive young man from Eastern Oregon, to three guys named Dave. I count that there have been 9 roommates that have passed through this house. Some of them are dear friends, some will hopefully never cross my path again.
But now the house has transformed from a communal living arrangement to the home of a married couple, Maty and I, and maybe someday our child. Even Hannah and Roxanne are gone.
The point of this long rambling reverie, however, is to establish that there have been a lot of people that have passed through my door over the last nearly decade. And they all bring stuff with them. Lots of it.
In fact, my basement had accumulated huge stacks of the detritus that they had left in their wake.
Cleaning out the basement was like cleaning up after a flood. But instead of water and mud, the sediment left by the river of humanity that passed through my home was the accumulated discards of people on the move: old clothes, kitchen appliances, furniture, books, blankets, towels, curtains, fans, computer equipment, bicycles and bicycle parts....
Maty and I spent the entire late afternoon and early evening getting it out. Anything that is still usable will be taken to the Good Will on the morrow. The rest is even now sitting in a dumpster awaiting removal.
Well, if any of my former roommates read this, anything you left here when you moved out is gone, gone, gone. I figure if you'd really wanted it, you'd have asked me for it by now.
People's lives are like rivers, are they not? The current just keeps rolling along, while the silt and sediment sink to the river bed.
Flow, river, flow.