Forced Homeless, Teacher Survives in Storage Unit and Friends Couches
About ten years ago I was living camped out in a back add-on building, called the ‘chapel’, of two story old house in the edge of Hancock Park, actually on the border of Korea Town, when the house was sold and I had no clear vision as to where to go. With my brother’s brainstorming help, I decided to put all of my somewhat gypsy belongings into a storage locker right off a main freeway in downtown LA…but still didn’t know what I was going to do next.
At the time I had my own business teaching, well, actually tutoring, doing educational therapy with kids of all ages with learning differences. My weekdays varied. I worked with my students, after school, at their homes, and in all different areas of the city, On a weekly basis I would drive from Malibu to Silver Lake, from Glendale to near LAX. to tutor academically and emotionally challenged children of mostly above average income parents. Since I had been doing this work for some years I didn’t mind driving and actually grew to feel like a taxi driver, knowing all of the short cuts and shops everywhere. I felt at home in all of the different areas of LA. My varied friends were also scattered throughout the city and the expanded metropolis.
When my friends heard of my new lifestyle they wanted to be supportive and to my surprise offered me the keys to their houses. Since most had a spare bedroom they were happy to have me crash at their houses one night a week. On the weekends I would visit my storage locker in order to get a change of clothes and different educational material that I needed for the week. I had part of the storage locker set up like a bedroom with chest of drawers highly organized into categories of clothes and racks of shirts,sweaters, pants and skirts from which to choose.
When I finished tutoring sometimes the parents would invite me to stay for dinner. In addition I soon discovered how to eat simply out of grocery stores and that McDonalds had the best chicken salad of all the fast food places. At that point I wasn’t fussy in my eating habits. After tutoring I would call my friends who lived in the area in which I was working and ask if I could spend the night at their house. Their answers were always an excited, “Yes, you have your key, just let yourself in and I will be back from ‘wherever’ soon.” Sometime they would welcome my company for a delicious dinner that they had fixed or an impromptu dinner that we co-created.
I was able then to visit my friends at night and in the morning, and quality time too. Invariably they had problems in their lives and they welcomed my counseling expertise. They seemed to at least listen to my input and It felt good for me to be able to help them.
I had known that I liked spontaneous living and that the word ‘plan’ wasn’t really part of my vocabulary, but existing in this ‘free-spirit’ way showed me just how content I was to simply be ok with what was. Actually the whole thing was more liberating and satisfying than I could have imagined. Well really, I did not go into the future enough to imagine anything. I didn’t do any planning, other than my students, and just went from doing one thing to the next. Since I love short trips and people, this life style suited me well. I learned a lot from my constant interaction with people…and that hiding within myself, in my room, wasn’t the most productive for me. I was amazed at how my self confidence and self esteem grew, just realizing that I was flexible enough to fit in anywhere. People seemed to value not only my counseling and people skills but my astrological knowledge as well. Everyone wanted me to look at their charts.
This experience was so positive I would love to do it again. Unfortunately, I now live in a cottage in Santa Monica that has rent control. and I am afraid to give up this low rent to venture into the unknown. Since I have temporarily abandon my nomadic ways and collected a cottage and a garage full of ‘tools of the trade’ and semi ’emotionally attached to’ precious possessions, I will continue to hope that someone reading this will be able to help me get unstuck. Suggestions and comments are most welcome.