As I drink instant coffee (yea, Nescafe) from a borrowed cup in a borrowed apartment on 151st Street in Manhattan, I am drawn back into the blogosphere to talk about the weather. After following the directive (Mayor Bloomberg, stirring up panic in order to boost his media sales, no doubt) to evacuate my “Zone A” neighborhood, I was fortunate enough to land at a friend’s place some 200 blocks away. While I am grateful for a safe haven, it turned out that my home was also totally safe. Now, instead of being holed up in my own living room with my own cats, I am holed up in a distant living room with my friend’s cats.
There certainly is a question of what defines being “home.” I think first and foremost, home is not where your heart is but certainly where your nearest and dearest lie. For me, that’s wherever my kids are. As my daughter grows to the age of maturity, I do wonder if we’ll all be together in a year or so, and—if not—will that change my views on “home”? And whereas my kids are both with me at this very moment in this comfortable apartment, it certainly doesn’t feel like “home” and I am waiting for the rain to stop so we can pack up and start the long schlep to the box-filled apartment that does—ironically—feel like home.
In truth, I am facing homelessness for the first time. Perhaps not truly the first time, but the first time where “home” is a complicated notion. When I was younger, there were times when I technically was homeless (I was scheduled to fly to the Soviet Union the week of the putch involving Gorbachev’s house arrest… whereas I was warned against leaving, I called up an aunt to find relatives in Warsaw and I got on the plane not knowing where I would sleep that next day). However, I think when you are single and unattached (no kids, no pets, no career), it is far easier to be without a proper “home.” Today, I’m less comfortable with this notion.
A few weeks ago I spoke of a more affordable, smaller apartment that I was moving to in Brooklyn. Sadly, the landlords are behind in their permits, and with Hurricane Irene blowing through this weekend (and Bloomberg’s edict of eviction), I do not know if I will have anywhere to go come Wednesday. Speaking of parents and children, my folks are worried for me. I told them that until the sun comes out and the subway starts up again, I really don’t know whether or not the Department of Buildings will okay the Certificate of Occupancy (my daughter has become a veritable expert on the DOB, informing me of their every move as I work out my various jobs and she’s home alternating between playing Pottermore and writing college essays). I hope now that Irene has been much ado about nothing that I will be blessed with a clean bill of occupancy and be able to move in the next 72 hours to our “home.”
My kids, my cats, my piano, my books (those are the main ingredients in what constitutes my domesticity) will all be in one place together. If all goes well (at this point, I’m expecting the worst… earthquake, hurricane… homelessness??? I hear these things come in threes!).